There can be a grey area when trying to decide if a customer advisory board (CAB) will benefit your business. Maybe you’ve read mixed reviews, or perhaps you’re uncertain if it’s something that’ll work into your budget.
The short answer is yes, your company will benefit from a customer advisory board.
Customer advisory boards are the solution for SME’s at various stages of operation. The purpose of a CAB is to provide strategic direction for the company, with counsel from external stakeholders. These members can guide your business forward and support you in forming your product/service roadmap.
Below we explore how they can benefit your organisation, and also share some important things to consider before you dive in.
How Will a Customer Advisory Board Benefit My Company?
As a small to medium business, you may not have the resources to recruit personnel for all your roles. In this scenario, a CAB can be the solution to those needs. A CAB can help you grow the organisation by providing customer insight and feedback around products or services.
Other benefits of customer advisory boards include:
- An active CAB will help you develop an excellent knowledge of your business market and industry trends.
- Your CAB members have the potential to provide you with ideas and feedback that only come from years of experience within an industry, or a helicopter view of the business.
- They will help you with the ideation and exploration of new opportunities.
- Assist you in monitoring business performance and challenge all parties involved to improve the business.
- Encourage the continual growth of the organisation, which is aligned to company’s vision.
- Guide you with overall business strategy.
- Building loyal customer relationships: Open and honest communication is essential for any good relationship. By listening to your CAB members, you immediately begin to foster loyalty, which naturally leads to business growth and brand awareness.
- Marketing and messaging: CAB sessions can provide customer referrals and testimonials. The members may be willing to collaborate in writing whitepapers or articles, which then contribute to the organisation’s credibility.
- The board helps to increase investor and consumer confidence.
What You Need to Consider Before Adopting a Customer Advisory Board
Keep in mind that the CAB is set up to help you work on your business rather than work in it. When small businesses begin to scale quickly, it can be challenging to follow an established plan. Instead, the decision-making process starts to happen on the fly, responding to needs as they present themselves.
A well-built CAB will help you explore these needs, and allow you to consolidate enough data and advice to execute changes later.
Remember, a CAB is not a decision-making forum. This group is a learning forum. It’s about getting inside the minds of your consumer. The board helps you understand what your stakeholders need, what their pain points are and what you can do to address them.
The core focus of holding CAB sessions is to gather as much information as possible that will save you time and money. And in turn, inspire decisions that will grow your business.
Many organisations hold executive or management retreats, where they brainstorm and discuss all the ways of improving on products and services. Much of this time and money spent would be better used in forming a solid advisory board. The key difference here is that advisory boards provide you with valuable data; not the ideas your management team “think” would improve the business.
A well-built CAB comprises of people that use your service or product, so who better to provide honest feedback than real-world customers.