Client advisory boards can be very beneficial for a business, but there are some potential drawbacks too. Consider these points (positive and negative aspects) before creating a board:
• They provide valuable insight as another form of client research about a business’ products and services.
• They provide more interactions to get to know the clients better, professionally and personally.
• They possibly strengthen existing relationships by letting clients know that they are being heard.
• They deliver a feeling of prestige to an exclusive group of clients.
• They become another form of communication, providing more opportunities to inform and delight clients.
• They can lead to increased word of mouth, building up brand awareness.
• They can drum up referrals from the participants, as clients often have more of a vested interest in the success of the organization.
• In some cases, cultivation leads to positive outcomes within existing relationships, like cross selling, up selling and increasing share of wallet.
• They can provide valuable feedback on new marketing campaigns, from scrapping something that would not work to improving something to be more successful. This can result in less trial-and-error expenses and hopefully increased ROI on marketing efforts.
• As clients become very involved, they often have strong opinions for change that might not make business sense. This can lead to tension, especially if it is not handled correctly.
• They take time and money to facilitate. Sometimes they require outside resources to conduct the meetings.
• If run poorly, they can damage relationships.
• If the content of the discussions is not relevant or advantageous for the client, it can seem like a waste of time.
• One bad apple can ruin the bunch. If a dissatisfied client spreads negativity in this forum, it can tarnish other healthy relationships.
• If clients discover they are not on the board they can end up feeling alienated.
• Sometimes there are more effective ways to gather research.
If you are considering having a client advisory board, contact Byrnes Consulting to build out the strategy and the logistics.