A customer advisory board is a great way to gain insights into your products or services, and to better understand your customers. However, the success of your customer advisory board can largely depend on your planning.
Before you dive into writing a meeting agenda, it’s vital you set clear goals on what you hope to achieve out of your customer advisory board. Try to keep the focus of the meeting as narrow as possible, define the areas of discussion, and minimise the chance for additional issues to interfere.
If the discussion strays to unrelated issues during the meeting, an effective facilitator will record them and direct conversation back to the agenda. If periphery issues prove to be important, then you may consider designating another meeting to discuss them in more detail.
Below we outline a sample agenda you may wish to reference, to ensure your customer advisory board meeting runs as smoothly and effectively as possible.
1. Introductions of Company Representatives and Customers
Ensure that everyone in attendance is properly introduced. Introductions are important as they provide context for the discussions, giving everyone an understanding of the diversity of perspectives and experiences that each member brings to the table. Ensure that customers not only introduce themselves, but also say a little about the way they engage with your product or service.
2. Brief Statement of the Meeting Objectives
Meetings that don’t have a clearly defined set of objectives risk wasting time while attendees decide what to talk about. If the specific objectives of the meeting are made clear at the beginning of the meeting, then the discussion will be less likely to go off track.
3. Discussion of Challenges
Ask board members to raise any issues that they have encountered during their interactions with your company and products. Listen out for any problem areas; these could form the basis for the next CAB meeting.
4. Overview of Current Products
Take the time to give an overview of your current product line, including features and benefits. Often your customers will be unfamiliar with many of your product offerings that aren’t directly relevant to their own needs.
5. Outline Future Product Plans
Outline the direction of your product portfolio and gather feedback on these plans. Try to give as much detail as possible to ensure that the feedback is as relevant as possible.
6. Open Discussion
Have a list of possible discussion items to prompt discussion. Topics can range from product design tweaks, packaging concerns, opinions on competitor products and new product suggestions. A facilitator that is adept at steering the conversation into productive waters is key in an open discussion.
7. Final Review
Review the main topics that were covered throughout the meeting. Ask for feedback regarding the running of the meeting. What worked well? What didn’t work so well? Use these insights to inform your future agenda-setting.
8. Thank You
Thank the attendees for their participation and valuable contributions.
- Try to designate specific time blocks for each agenda item and stick to them as best you can. That way you won’t run out of time with entire items left completely uncovered.
- Remember that this agenda is just a guideline! Each meeting will have a different set of objectives and the agenda should be adjusted to address those objectives.
- If suitable, divide the meeting attendees into smaller discussion groups. There may be customers that are more interested in some topics or products over others.
- At the end of the meeting, encourage further dialogue around the topics covered via email or discussion board.
- Ensure the minutes of the meeting are reviewed before any following meetings, and that any key issues are addressed as soon as possible.
If you’d like to read more comprehensive information about what a customer advisory board can bring to your business, access your ‘Definitive Guide to Customer Advisory Boards’ below: