What is a Customer Advisory Board (CAB)? Explanation, benefits, working, and FAQs of customer advisory board.

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Customer Advisory Board (CAB)

The customer advisory board is a group of selected individuals among the existing consumers who are responsible for providing detailed market insights. 

The company seeks their advice at various fronts such as brand promotion, marketing, product improvement, customer success, needs assessment, market variations, from the customer’s perspective.

The recommendations of CAB are vital in the product development process. The customer advisory board provides market information from the customer’s point of view.

Members of the board are often made to test the alpha or beta version of the product and are expected to give honest feedback on the features and their experience.

Objectives of the customer advisory board are to give validation to the approach of the development teams, to support the roadmap, shaping of ideas, and provide knowledge of customer’s likes and dislikes.

Working of customer advisory board

Customer advisory board meetings are conducted by the product manager quarterly, half-yearly or annually depending on the projects. These meetings are held to review and scrutinize a company’s products, services, and customer experience.

Members are representatives selected from among the existing customers. 

Meeting starts with the introduction of members and company personnel followed by presentation of the product strategies and discussion on the complete roadmap and product pipeline. The meeting concludes with a review. 

Gain from these meetings is the feedback and in depth insights of the market. 

Benefits of customer advisory board

  • Validation of approach and ideas on business development, pricing, sales and marketing strategy, product excellence, customer success.
  • Product preview before launch.
  • Provides organic feedback and reviews.
  • Validation for designers on features and functionality of the services.
  • Supports the product development process and product roadmap and thus reduces the risk of losing track and waste of funds.

How to run an effective customer advisory board

  1. Set specific CAB goals: This involves the selection of the CAB members and alignment of the various teams with the selected customer board. 
  2. Identify groups and invite customers: It should be noted that there is more than one customer advisory board depending on the different aspects of the product and the different aspects of the market as well. It is important to identify such groups of customers and make different customer advisory boards.
  3. Set agenda for the meeting: The members are expected to give honest feedback with complete freedom but that shouldn’t lead the meeting to go off track. There has to be a specific agenda on which the discussion shall take place.
  4. Act on the feedback: Have an effective feedback management process that converts the feedback into information and incorporates that into the various project roadmaps.

In the end, measure the outcomes and ROI of your customer advisory board.

FAQs

Q: What is the difference between a customer advisory board meeting and customer interview?

A: A customer advisory board meeting is a group forum as compared to customer interviews that are one-to-one interviews.

So, in the customer advisory board meeting, a dialogue happens between the CAB members and the company’s executives and developers. But in the case of customer interviews, the customers are asked to answer a set of questions. 

CAB works in the case of a small board of selected customers providing detailed insights, whereas customer interviews cover a very large number of customers through surveys.  

Q: How do you measure the success of a customer advisory board?

A:(i) Monitor the revenue generated by the board members.
(ii) monitor the average selling price.
(iii)  leverage CAB members to identify new markets.
(iv) track the sales of any specific feature or product, attribute the success or failure to some extent to the CAB reports.
(v) procure testimonials from the CAB programs.

Q: How often should a customer advisory board meet?

A: Though it depends on the advisors  and demand from the product development teams, commonly companies conduct customer advisory board meetings once or twice yearly. 

Q: What does a customer advisory board do? 

A: A customer advisory board is a group or council of selected customers that represent the market, and also segments of the market. The board supports the product development process of the company by giving in-depth insights on consumer needs, product feature experience, marketing strategies, market variations, and other information from the customer point of view.

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