Aug 25, 2021

Virtual CABs: How to Maximize Insights with Interactive Virtual Customer Advisory Boards

Jara Rowe

Content Marketing Manager

Customer Advisory Boards are crucial to the success of companies as the meetings provide great insight into the target audience. Customer Advisory Board benefits include providing feedback, insights, and counsel on essential product features and marketing efforts. A key draw for priority customers was access to a nice trip to the host organization. Maintaining customer participation, and the same level of engagement and interactivity, are critical challenges as these collaborative events shift to virtual.

Like a traditional Customer Advisory Board (CAB), a virtual CAB should have a clearly defined objective, be interactive and also exclusive to a core group of consumers. However, virtual CABs require more strategic planning, creativity and execution.

Virtual CABs should be thoughtfully designed and dynamic. It’s crucial to clearly define what you are learning from participants and plan the sessions accordingly. Below are tips for making sure your virtual CAB meeting remains interactive and beneficial for all.

Prioritize the Attendee with Experience Interactivity

Although the Board gathers to provide valuable feedback, it is important to put their overall experience first. The attendees need to be engaged and feel comfortable sharing their thoughts.

Start with preparation. Create thorough agendas to send to all participants ahead of the meeting. It’s best to have all documents in one place—more on this later. It’s essential to set the stage with how and when to use different elements of the meeting. Remember to be flexible even though you have a plan.

Leverage a virtual collaboration platform that includes video conferencing, chat, polling and more to keep members active and engaged. Encourage attendees to get interactive with the tool features. Have prompts to use the chat features, polls, Q&A and even emojis. 

Create powerful content that will keep everyone focused. Mix the media used with pre-recordings, case studies and intentional guides in an interactive environment. It’s important to make this more than a Zoom—more on this later as well. If there is any pre-reading, send the content out well in advance.

Use breakout sessions to uncover significant takeaways. It’s known that people feel more comfortable saying their true feelings when they are in smaller, more intimate settings. Run effective virtual breakout sessions to enable your customers to interact with you and their peers in smaller group discussions. Having multiple breakouts at once will be more valuable as more insights are being gathered.

When in the video call, set the screen to gallery mode to see each other interact better.

Filo used as a virtual collaboration platform featuring chat and polls.

Gain More Focus With Centralized Portal

To keep all participants fully immersed, all content should be in one, easy to navigate location. This is where the virtual collaboration platform helps, improving efficiency and making the event far more dynamic for attendees. All things can be stored and utilized in the designated portal rather than sharing links in the Zoom chat or opening an additional tab. No more searching for links or having multiple tabs, or even windows open.

The hub also becomes an asset that can be used after the meeting. Participants can come back to the space to engage with recordings, notes, read case studies and more.

Centralized location for all important assets.

Facilitate Meeting As a Workshop

Instead of your virtual CAB being just a meeting, plan the session as a workshop. When creating the workshop, design it to stimulate thinking. A dynamic workshop will eliminate bored attendees.

To help guide everyone through your virtual CAB workshop, it is best to have a facilitator. Assign a skilled facilitator with virtual experience. The facilitator can also use their role to pause the workshop at times to check comprehension.

Conduct a workshop for the product. This customer-centric approach puts the actual users at the center of the discussion. This is the perfect opportunity to tap into feature priorities or other elements that are currently being built. Getting really valuable insights from the people you are creating a product for is a win-win.

To keep the engagement high during the virtual CAB, hold interactive feedback sessions. These sessions can be facilitated with virtual whiteboards like Miro. This gets everyone involved and allows for everyone to collaborate real-time. To help gather takeaways, bucket like ideas together as feedback is being given.

Get creative with soliciting feedback. After the presentation, for a product update, have participants use an emoji (👍 😐 👎) to denote their perceptions of the update. This is a solid way to get a quick gut-check. The emojis used can also be a tactic to use for group segmentation for breakout sessions to dive deeper into why they feel the way they do.

The end goal is to receive actionable feedback to facilitate the workshop in a thought-provoking way. At the end of the session, be sure to summarize and share key takeaways.

Remember, This Is Not Another Zoom Call

Virtual CAB meetings should be more than just a speaker with a slide deck—this is not a webinar. The CAB should be engaging with two-way, interactive conversation. You want to gather feedback from your customers. Build in time to gather their views engagingly.

Choose a smart duration to gather the desired information. To make sure that no one gets Zoom fatigue, limit each session to one hour or so to ensure no one gets distracted. If needed, conduct the sessions over multiple days.

Poorly planned, unengaging virtual meetings are now unforgivable as they have become the norm.

If you would like to learn more about how Filo can help you host collaborative virtual CAB meetings, don’t hesitate to reach out.