October 20, 2022 | Written by Jennifer Thompson

How to Set Up a Successful Customer Council

A customer council is a group made up of a business’ top customers. This group meets once or twice a year to allow the business to gain deep customer insights and market research. The council’s purpose is to give open and honest feedback on the business’ initiatives and process, and to advise the organization on customer  insights and help set priorities.

Why do you need a customer council?

The research is clear on this: 80% of companies think they deliver a great customer experience, but only 8% of their customers believe this to be true. A customer council is critical in understanding how your customers feel about your customer experience, and any areas you are excelling at or lacking in. You can also get valuable feedback on the products and services you offer, your marketing channels, internal processes and communication, and any aspect of your business that you’d like feedback on. 

These insights will help you prioritize initiatives in your organization to meet your customers’ needs - both current and future customers. 

These are the steps to set up and host a successful customer council

  1. Set goals for your council - what are you trying to achieve? What are the main areas of your business that you want customer feedback on? Marketing, product offering, ideal client profile, business processes. It can include all of this!
  2. Identify your top customers to invite. Consider your own ideal client profiles and try to pick customers that fit those. Invite customers based on the amount of business they have with you and/or how long they’ve been a customer - these will ensure you get valid and relevant feedback.
  3. Have your council on a scheduled date, either in person or online. Have a few people from your organization attend - someone to lead the session and a couple of people to take notes. Different people within your business will gain different insights from your customers. Ideally you want a mix of team members from leadership, marketing, sales and operations attending - their different takeaways will help paint a complete picture of how your organization is performing.
  4. Create a process and a plan for your customer council meeting. Create a presentation deck with an agenda. Plan out and include all the areas you want to review and gain feedback on. Send out the agenda in advance so your council members can be prepared. Collect any assets you want to review, like website links, social media profiles and content, examples of product, etc.
  5. Ask the right questions. Ask the tough questions. You want to know where you are doing well and also where you are not meeting expectations. You will only get better if you can own up to the areas you’re falling short at, and make commitments to change or improve. This transparency shows commitment and will help gain buy-in from your members as it shows you are receptive to all types of feedback (not just positive feedback).
  6. Make an action plan: a CX improvement roadmap. Once you have all this feedback, turn it into actionable items that will change policies or procedures at your organization. This may take time and effort, but it will be worth it in the end to make improvements to your customer experience.
  7. Send that action plan to your customers and keep them in the loop about any changes you make to your business processes or products. This builds further buyin to the process for future years creating accountability to your customer for the changes they would like to see.

A customer council can be an invaluable way to help you improve your business, retain valuable customers and gain insight to attract more of your ideal clients.

We are happy to share the findings we’ve learned from conducting our own customer councils. Read this blog post for more info, or contact us today to learn how we can help you create and host your own council.

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