Five Things to Do Now With Your Customer Advisory Board during the Pandemic

Because the coronavirus pandemic is ravaging companies around the world, many companies may be unsure about the role that the client’s advisory board should play during the crisis.

Some cancel or postpone appointments scheduled in the spring and even early summer. Others interested in starting a CAB program are postponing their plans until the end of the crisis (while it may last).

While such actions may seem logical at first, I recommend the opposite approach – now is an ideal time for your CAB to take a proactive leadership role in the current crisis.

Here are five things to do with the client’s advisory board during the coronavirus pandemic.

  1. Start your program

If you don’t have a CAB program, or are thinking of starting it, but are leaving your plans behind, now is a good time to start.

The current restrictions on personal interaction and business travel create an ideal (and very rare) opportunity to invest the time needed to create and plan a strong schedule:

  • Define program objectives and create a solid CAB state
  • Assess and prioritize clients to be recruited to join CAB
  • Involve them virtually in discovering their main challenges and issues they wish to face in future ventures with their colleagues

On the other hand, parties are sometimes approached by companies that want to start a CAB program, but only want to have their first meeting a few weeks after the start. Often, this approach allows for quick, low-quality planning that speeds up important phases of strategic planning and often prioritizes the focus on the logistical details of the meeting.

Use this delay as an opportunity to take the time to build a solid foundation for the CAB program, which will later prepare you for maximum success.

  1. Show your leadership

With the constant noise of worrying news about pandemics, your clients are likely to seek advice on how to respond and adapt and learn how others in their industry are handling the situation and contact (and perhaps regret) colleagues who are even under the crisis.

As a result, the pandemic offers your company the ideal opportunity to demonstrate proactive leadership, bringing together executive colleagues and creating pragmatic solutions for today’s business inhibitors.

Leading companies are currently using their CABs to research their customers to determine how they are doing during the crisis, to communicate how their products and services can change things during various recessions, and to determine how host companies can best respond to changes quickly requested by the customer.

  1. Use virtual technologies

Most professionals work remotely during the current crisis and almost all hold virtual meetings and gain expertise in online meeting platforms to advance their business. You can use the same technologies to organize a strong virtual meeting with CAB members.

Many companies have simply changed their scheduled online meetings or held all meetings as part of their normal communication schedules. However, it is necessary to properly prepare, plan and communicate stakeholder involvement to make these calls productive and informative for CAB members.

  1. Schedule face-to-face meetings

At some point, the Coronavirus pandemic will end, although estimates of when exactly … will tend to change and change. We can all go back to business and face-to-face meetings in the fall of 2020.

When the proverbial “it’s all clean” arrives, there may be a rush to find rooms and hotel reservations. Why can’t you predict the crowds and think about planning your fall meeting now? Which city makes the most sense to its members? What are the interesting social activities and the ideal characteristics to support them? There is certainly an abundance of availability, and discounted prices are also available that are unlikely to be later (possibly soon).

  1. Prepare for the ‘new normal’

When we get back to work, your company will (still) need information and guidance from your best customers about your business and operations strategies, which may even change due to the current pandemic.

Your company can prepare for the “new normal future” by engaging its customers and discovering innovative and perhaps previously unknown solutions through these changes or improvements new business opportunities that can not only help your company return but also thrive in the post-coronavirus era.

Conclusion       

As the current Coronavirus emergency is dominating the headlines and our attention, wise business leaders are taking a broader long-term perspective, knowing that the crisis is temporary.

Companies that are taking steps now to use CAB to prepare for the other side of the crisis will not only be ready, but they will also be well-positioned to thrive.