Building Towards Customer Advisory Board

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Laura Lakhwara
Laura Lakhwara Member Posts: 45 Expert
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edited October 2023 in Customer Journey

One of my long-term goals for our CS team is to launch a Customer Advisory Board, but it isn't the immediate priority. To kick things off, I'd like to host some sessions with our clients by vertical.

  1. Has anyone hosted smaller sessions with a group of customers to allow them to meet each other, discuss best practices, ideate and collect product feedback? What made them successful?
  2. What steps have you taken to launch/formalize a Customer Advisory Board?

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  • Will Pagden
    Will Pagden Member Posts: 99 Expert
    edited July 2020
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    Good topic and one I am looking at currently. 

     

    I am in a start-up so slightly different approach but I am looking to introduce a Customer Advisory Board.

    In answer to the above:

    1. At previous companies we did "Interest Groups" which was industry specific and run by a customer experience team. 
    2. We invited our best customers, set monthly meetings and made sure we fedback the minutes to the entire organisaiton, this worked well!
  • Brian Hartley
    Brian Hartley Member Posts: 184 Expert
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    edited July 2020
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    Hi @Laura Lakhwara I have had a mixed bag of results.

    1. At my old job our intent was to have a true advisory board with high-level stakeholders giving us incredible feedback....the reality was more of a super, power user session discussing how they use the tool and what needed to be added to the roadmap.  Once we embraced that model, the "advisory" board was a big hit and we did it twice a year.  
    2. We stated our purpose up front of what the purpose of the board was and what we expected of the members.  Sort of a terms and conditions if you will.  From there we worked with our directors to source good candidates and began working with them to make it happen.  We were also fortunate to cover the cost of the hotel rooms when they came into town, that was helpful in driving attendance.  On average we had 10-14 customers.
  • Laura Lakhwara
    Laura Lakhwara Member Posts: 45 Expert
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    edited July 2020
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    This is a great example. Thank you!

  • Laura Lakhwara
    Laura Lakhwara Member Posts: 45 Expert
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    edited July 2020
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    Very valuable. Thank you for sharing!

  • Nathan Petersen
    Nathan Petersen Member Posts: 11 Contributor
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    edited July 2020
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    I'm in the same boat Laura,

    thanks for asking such a good question, @Will Pagden when you say "customer experience team", are you referencing like Customer Care/ Customer Success team, or a whole other entity? if so what umbrella did that team fall underneath?

    @Brian Hartley can you give me some scaled perspective, you had 10-14 customers on this 'advisory board' out of 10,000? or out of 50 clients?

  • Brian Hartley
    Brian Hartley Member Posts: 184 Expert
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    edited July 2020
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    Hey @Nathan J. R. Petersen good question, should have clarified. That was out of 70 clients.

  • David Ellin
    David Ellin Member Posts: 170 Expert
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    edited July 2020
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    I started a Customer Advisory Board from scratch in my role as Vice President of Customer Success for a large B2B division of eBay. I'd be happy to host a Zoom call for anyone exploring CABs and share my experience. I can talk about customer selection/vetting, prep structure, meeting structure, follow up, etc.

    Let me know if you're interested in hopping on a Zoom to discuss. If not, I can post more detail in this string.

  • Anita Toth
    Anita Toth Member Posts: 246 Expert
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    edited July 2020
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    What a great offer @David L Ellin. I'd love to participate on that call.

  • Laura Lakhwara
    Laura Lakhwara Member Posts: 45 Expert
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    edited July 2020
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    Yes, that would be fantastic, @David L Ellin

  • Will Pagden
    Will Pagden Member Posts: 99 Expert
    edited July 2020
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    Hi @Nathan J. R. Petersen  we actually had a Customer Experience team whose whole focus was on running user groups and customer events. About 14 people in the team and they rolled up through the COO. It doesnt make any sense and was purely a political thing in the company but it they took responsibility for those things.

  • Will Pagden
    Will Pagden Member Posts: 99 Expert
    edited July 2020
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    Definitely interested in joining David.

  • David Ellin
    David Ellin Member Posts: 170 Expert
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    edited July 2020
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    Does next Wednesday at 10 am ET work?

  • Will Pagden
    Will Pagden Member Posts: 99 Expert
    edited July 2020
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    I can move some stuff to make it work! If it works for everyone else. 

  • Laura Lakhwara
    Laura Lakhwara Member Posts: 45 Expert
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    edited July 2020
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    Yes, on my end. Thank you!

  • Laura Lakhwara
    Laura Lakhwara Member Posts: 45 Expert
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    edited July 2020
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    @Will Pagden this is interesting to have this separated out. I appreciate your candidacy on whether it was successful. :) 

  • Laura Lakhwara
    Laura Lakhwara Member Posts: 45 Expert
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    edited July 2020
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    Feel free to drop your email to get the invite. Thank you again, @David L Ellin .

    Wednesday, July 15 at 7am PST/10am EST

    Join Zoom Meeting
    https://softbankrobotics.zoom.us/j/99872792025?pwd=akFQZVVBNCsyQzYrMVlPblgzQ1o1dz09

    Meeting ID: 998 7279 2025
    Password: 471247
    One tap mobile
    +16699006833,,99872792025#,,,,0#,,471247# US (San Jose)
    +13462487799,,99872792025#,,,,0#,,471247# US (Houston)

  • Will Pagden
    Will Pagden Member Posts: 99 Expert
    edited July 2020
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    It should and could have been very successful, they key to all things relating to feedback is that you allow yourself to take the feedback on board. The founders created the product and thus became very protective when it came to constructive criticism. 

  • Will Pagden
    Will Pagden Member Posts: 99 Expert
    edited July 2020
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    will@webeo.com  thank you!

  • Andreas Knoefel
    Andreas Knoefel Member Posts: 73 Expert
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    edited July 2020
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    I have implemented both: 

      A user community physical and remote mostly for endusers, where product Marketing and CS collaborated on the day-to-day topics on issues with our offerings,and 

      a Customer Advisory Board with Sr. Executives. In order to get on this board, you had to exceptional, or a Champion (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/leverage-your-champions-andreas-knoefel/). As part of me running CS, I establish a baseline for my average customer. Those who move above and beyond are doing something better, and we focus on harnessing them and their excellence: Speakers at conferences & webinars, whitepapers, and being invited to the CAB by our Exec Sponsor to theirs. 2x year they met and discussed how to align our strategic initiatives with theirs. Great success.

  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0 Navigator
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    edited July 2020
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    @David L Ellin would you guys mind posting notes from this discussion afterward? This may be a really cool topic for the Operator Excellence Series. 

  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 0 Navigator
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    edited July 2020
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    And... do you mind if we promote this call?

  • David Ellin
    David Ellin Member Posts: 170 Expert
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    edited July 2020
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    Go for it. As long as someone captures notes feel free to post. 

  • Andreas Knoefel
    Andreas Knoefel Member Posts: 73 Expert
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    edited July 2020
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    I'll take notes

  • David Ellin
    David Ellin Member Posts: 170 Expert
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    edited July 2020
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    I’ll also put some slides together that can be shared and posted. 

  • Laura Lakhwara
    Laura Lakhwara Member Posts: 45 Expert
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    edited July 2020
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    @Andreas Knoefel 

    1. What tool did you use to manage community or was this built into your product?
    2. Can you share numbers: # of CAB members and customer base?

    This is helpful insight. Thank you!

     

  • Mike Gospe
    Mike Gospe Member Posts: 33 Expert
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    edited July 2020
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    Hi Laura,

    I've been following the thread on Customer Advisory Boards. As a professional CAB facilitator for 20 years, I'm sharing my treasure chest of best practices, models (for in person and virtual meetings), everything! This is a 4 part live-online course that begins on July 21.  Tons of content and opportunities to dialog with others on CAB best practices.  http://tinyurl.com/cabmasterclass

    Also, I've posted a ton of best practices on my CAB Resource Center.

  • Anita Toth
    Anita Toth Member Posts: 246 Expert
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    edited July 2020
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    Thank you so much @David L Ellin ! The session was very helpful. I'm going to remember the 9 dot product roadmap exercise for future use. 

  • David Ellin
    David Ellin Member Posts: 170 Expert
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    edited July 2020
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    Thanks, @Anita Toth. The key is building sessions that create connection, interaction, and participation as opposed to presentations.

  • Laura Lakhwara
    Laura Lakhwara Member Posts: 45 Expert
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    edited July 2020
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    @David L Ellin Thank you for the great overview on launching a CAB for B2B Customers at eBay. It's clear the structure, c-suite engagement, commitment from clients and outcome-driven planning helped drive its success. 

    For all those interested in listening, here is a recording of today's call. 

    https://softbankrobotics.zoom.us/rec/share/zMZeJerX1kNOaaPVxlGDe6Q6J767X6a813BIqKINyk1ejpbvDdxq-mKj_4vTtKk3 Password: 3Q*54214

     

     

  • Eileen Bonney
    Eileen Bonney Member Posts: 2 Navigator
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    edited February 2022
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    @Laura Lakhwara Do you happen to have an updated link of the above recording? I'm interested in learning more from David's experience.