This article presents the actions Mailchimp took to create a customer advisory board (CAB). The article contains some very valuable information on steps to take to make your business survive and thrive.
For example, are you:
- Soliciting feedback on new products or services?
- Making your C-level personnel available to your customers?
- Dismissing input from certain industries using your product?
- Providing a forum for communication amongst your customers?
- Improving the customer experience for every customer?
We present a summary below and encourage you to take five minutes to review in detail.
Last year, Mailchimp created a customer advisory board of 11 highly engaged customers and partners across a wide range of industries, business sizes and locations from around the world. The initiative was a long time coming, and its positive impact has already been felt across many corners of our team.
Whether you’re thinking of gathering customers in this way or continuing to innovate with a board you’ve already established, here are five ways your company could benefit and learn from a program like this.
- Prioritize Customer-Led Innovation
When Mailchimp releases a product, it can be tempting to put our heads down and assume that we’ve built the best, most beautiful, most functional thing out there. But even when customers are mostly happy with their experiences, Mailchimp has found that Mailchimp gains a lot of actionable feedback and ideas for the future simply by opening a dialogue.
It also challenges Mailchimp to better align products with how real people are using them. The CAB pushes Mailchimp to change the way they think and allows them to reconsider what’s possible. Without them, Mailchimp would miss a lot of opportunities to improve and innovate.
- Foster Transparency Between Company and Customer
Mailchimp has many of executive leaders make a point of attending customer advisory board (CAB) meet-ups. Mailchimp is not afraid to bring folks who are not typically talking to customers into the conversation, which nets plenty of great a-ha moments.
CAB members also appear on customer panels, which Mailchimp broadcasts to employees once per quarter, or participate in beta testing for new features. It’s vital to build a level of trust and rapport that enables them to be good spokespeople.
- Identify Market Insights Across Industries
By design, Mailchimp board represents companies and agencies of many different sizes across many different fields and industries. Mailchimp wants to elevate voices that could represent the broadest range of customers possible and build a community that’s diverse in every sense of the word. Mailchimp finds it incredible how often conversations land on common insights or challenges that persist across these vastly different fields.
- Build Enthusiasm Through Customer-to-Customer Relationships
Your company doesn’t necessarily have to be at the center of every positive outcome that your CAB generates. Mailchimp had customers on the advisory board learn from the partners that served alongside them. Mailchimp repeatedly sees folks gravitate toward one another with side conversations and networking chats to help them solve issues (marketing or not) that they are facing as a business.
- Improve the Experience for Every Customer
In the end, every other benefit of the CAB ultimately serves just one: to unlock ways Mailchimp can improve experiences for everyone.
It’s why Mailchimp’s CAB will continue to evolve and adjust based on feedback from its members and teams. When Mailchimp makes time for deeper listening, our customers always guide us to stronger outcomes.
James P. Randisi, President of Randisi & Associates, Inc., has since 1999 been helping employers protect their clients, workforce and reputation through implementation of employment screening and drug testing programs. This post does not constitute legal advice. Randisi & Associates, Inc. is not a law firm. Always contact competent employment legal counsel. To learn more about how to save a life with your drug testing policies, Mr. Randisi can be contacted by phone at 410.494.0232 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or the website at randisiandassociates.com