In 2012 we did our first two Client Advisory Board sessions for Financial Advisors and we are getting more requests almost weekly.
Other industries like pharmaceuticals and medical devices have been using Advisory Boards for years to help guide their research efforts and their new product launches. Typically these are day long sessions with Key Opinion Leaders from around the world being paid lucrative contracts to attend and to give specific advice around key questions raised by the sponsor.
What we are finding with Financial Advisors is that they are using Client Advisory Boards (CAB) differently. They are using the sessions less to work on a single topic and more as way to gain deep understanding about their customers likes and dislikes. They are likely to hold more sessions in a year, and to have a larger number of people attend over time. These companies seem to be turning to Client Advisory Boards in the belief that a neutral facilitator working with a group of carefully selected clients will be able to uncover information and ideas that are being missed in their day to day interactions and in their client survey or industry survey efforts.
What can a facilitator do?
Using a facilitator allows customers to give honest and complete feedback on customer service, quality, convenience, and services they may not otherwise feel comfortable providing to service provider. In fact with traditional survey techniques they may never even have the chance to talk about what they want to talk about as they are barraged with “5 point scale” questions. I personally had an experience where my Financial Institution contacted me for a telephone survey. I did the survey because there was an unresolved issue that was really bothering me. I never had the chance in the survey protocol to talk about this issue and twelve months later I was gone as a client.
The right facilitator with the right facilitation design can uncover these issues so that you can fix them before you start losing clients. They will also identify what you are doing right and give you and your staff the positive feedback that you might not otherwise get in order to help reinforce your commitment to these actions that are already helping you succeed.
If you would like more information on client advisory boards our Advisory Board page answers the following questions.
- Why use a Customer Advisory Board?
- Why would a customer want to attend an Advisory Board Meeting?
- What do you need to design an Advisory Board Session?
- What pitfalls should be avoided?
- Why use a facilitator?
Or if you prefer why not Contact Us so we can talk about your Client Advisory Board. The initial consultation is always free.