Learn what a customer advisory board is, how it should work, and how forming one can improve your organization's products and services.
A customer advisory board is a group of existing customers who are brought together to share their experiences with a company’s products or services. Their primary responsibility is to provide feedback on how well the company is meeting its customers’ needs.
Customer advisory boards are an important part of many companies’ marketing board strategies. Read on for a comprehensive overview of customer advisory boards, including their roles and responsibilities.
You’ll also learn how OnBoard’s board intelligence solution enables you to streamline your organization’s board operations and maximize its efficiency.
What is a Customer Advisory Board?
A business appoints a customer advisory board, made up of key customers, to provide feedback on their company’s reputation and product or service offerings. Its main focus is providing feedback rather than making decisions.
The goal of the board is to help businesses improve the quality of their products or services. It allows businesses to receive feedback from their users on how to improve their customer experience — and even gain true insights about what features they should add next.
Benefits of a Customer Advisory Board
Customer advisory boards are one of the most effective ways to get feedback from customers and identify new opportunities for growth and innovation.
Here are some of the top benefits of forming and consulting a customer advisory board:
- Provides real-time feedback on your products, services, and overall company from people who have experienced them firsthand
- Helps businesses understand the problems their customers are facing, so they can solve them better going forward
- Gives true, valuable insight into what your customers want, helping to create a more informed product roadmap
- Makes it easier to engage with customers, helping to improve customer success rate and brand loyalty
Steps to Form a Customer Advisory Board
Forming a customer advisory board is an important step toward improving your customer base’s experience. A well-formed advisory council can help you make better decisions and even drive business growth. Follow these steps to form a customer advisory board:
1. Create Bylaws
Creating bylaws is the first step to forming a customer advisory board. Bylaws are the rules that govern how your customer advisory board operates. They define who is eligible to serve on the board, how members are selected, and how long a term lasts.
They may also specify what types of activities the board will undertake and how often it will meet (monthly, quarterly, etc.). You may want to consult with your legal team, so these documents can reflect your needs and meet all applicable laws.
2. Draft Customer Advisory Board Agreement
Drafting a customer advisory board agreement sets the stage for your board to be successful. The agreement should outline the following details:
- The purpose of the board
- Who can serve on it
- How meetings will be conducted and documented
- How much time members will spend on the board
The agreement should also include a section that outlines how members are compensated for their time. If you’re just starting out, you might consider offering non-monetary rewards like free access to your product or services. Remember to make members and a representative from the business both sign the agreement.
3. Align on Goals and Objectives
It’s important that you align on goals and objectives before forming a customer advisory board. This will help ensure everyone is on the same page with regard to how you want to use customer insights, the input you’re seeking, and how often you’d like board meetings to take place.
The main goal of this board is to help you improve your product roadmap or marketing strategy by getting feedback directly from those who use your product or service most often. So make sure everyone involved understands their role in this process before they start participating in meetings or providing feedback.
4. Host Customer Advisory Board Meeting
Hold an initial meeting with all members who are present, so you can get a feel for how they’ll contribute in terms of ideas, feedback, and perspective.
Hosting your customer advisory meeting is the culmination of all the preparation that went into creating and building your customer advisory board. Here are some tips for hosting a successful customer advisory board meeting:
- Establish a clear agenda for your meeting.
- Prepare and distribute materials beforehand.
- Set expectations upfront and ensure everyone has a voice.
- Consider having an open Q&A session during the meeting.
OnBoard Powers Effective Customer Advisory Boards
Customer advisory boards offer a great way to get customer feedback on your products, services, and business operations. OnBoard’s board management software can help you manage registration and attendance for board meetings, making it easy for team members to share information, collaborate on projects, and make decisions together.
OnBoard provides a powerful toolset for collecting feedback from your customers and turning their ideas into actionable plans that will help improve your business over time.
OnBoard’s board intelligence solution offers several features that make it easy for your team to run successful customer advisory board meetings, including:
- Reliable virtual meeting tools: OnBoard’s board meeting software is built on a robust, secure online platform that lets you seamlessly host and record your meetings using virtual meeting tools, such as agenda and minutes builders, notes and annotations, among others.
- Engagement analytics: Helps you measure how engaged your team is with meeting preparation by providing insight into which agenda sections are receiving the most attention and where stakeholders are making significant notes and annotations.
- Seamless collaboration tools: Makes it easy for your team members to collaborate on ideas and share documents during and after board meetings.
- Board assessments: Provides assessments that help boards evaluate their performance against their board responsibilities and obligations.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do Customer Advisory Boards Get Paid?
While some companies pay their customer advisory boards, that isn't always the case. The company will typically pay for travel and lodging costs for these customers, but members may not necessarily receive a salary for their time spent on the board.
How Many People Should Be on a Customer Advisory Board?
Customer advisory boards are usually made up of between 10 and 20 members. The number of people on your customer advisory board will depend on the size and complexity of your company's product. For startups, a handful of people suffices. As you grow, increase the size of your customer advisory board as needed.
How Do You Measure the Success of a Customer Advisory Board?
You should first determine what metrics are most important to your company. Then, set up a system for collecting that data — you can use surveys or other methods to gather information from your customers. These surveys can be conducted periodically or at each meeting.
About The Author
- Tim Vire is a senior manager of customer success at OnBoard. "My role places me in working relationship with every other team in the company," Tim says. "I enjoy that broad scope of the business." A Faith Bible College graduate, Tim enjoys spending time with his wife and grandson, collecting vinyl records, and listening to music. He lives in Pendleton, Indiana.
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