As we enter a new year, it's a good time to reflect on Customer Advisory Boards…
A Charter is a critical piece of the Customer Advisory Program, it contains how the board should be convened, how frequently, who should attend, everyone’s roles and responsibilities, it governs membership criteria, how long people should remain members, any requirements to be members, how membership should be transferred to others, the mission/goal/objectives of the CAB program, the format of meetings, typical topics planned for discussion, how to handle confidentiality of information shared, the applicability of non-disclosure agreements, and what to do in competitive situations among member companies. There are probably a lot more things that should be covered in a Customer Advisory Board charter. It is essentially the ground rules and governance required for a successful advisory board program.
A charter not only helps to ensure that the Customer Advisory Board is productive and generates business value, it also serves as a way to communicate all aspects of the boar to potential members who may be considering joining. For this reason the charter should be written for the following audiences: CAB members, potential CAB members, internal CAB steering team members, internal employees who need to be educated on the role and purpose of the CAB too. The document should be branded by the company hosting the Customer Advisory Board and can exist as a PDF or design file to enable high quality printing on paper or as a booklet if needed. Ideally the Customer Advisory Board Charter should be reviewed and changed as necessary annually, to keep pace with changes in the scope and direction of the CAB. Ultimately the Executive Sponsor for the Client Advisory Council is the person who signs of on the new charter created for a new CAB program and any subsequent changes to the charter thereafter.
We hope this helps you think about ways you can improve your charter design to meet the needs of all your stakeholders, both internally and externally.
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