Does Your Brokerage Need A Customer Advisory Board?

By
Services for Real Estate Pros

BoardroomDo you really know what your customers think of you or do you only think you know?  Are you confident enough to bet a significant stake in your company's future based upon your appraisal of how customers perceive your products and services, your pricing and policies, your value to them?  How tuned in to your customers' needs are you really?

For most companies, what they know about how customers truly perceive them is surprisingly less than they think!  And for most companies' marketing organizations, the knowledge base isn't complete enough to risk significant changes in their offerings-new products to introduce, major changes to the buying and pricing experience, or fundamental shifts in a firm's customer service or online efforts. 

Customer feedback is often measured by simple response tools that all-too-often shadow the real truth about how customers view your products and your services.  Keeping in mind that most survey data you receive is completed by either thoroughly satisfied customers (which tells you little other than you did something right) or by frustrated dissatisfied customers that want to vent their anger (which tells you a little more of what you need-- but not all that much more) most surveys and traditional client feedback tools tell you little that you didn't already know.  In most cases, surveys either confirm what you already suspected was true or do little more than tell you what your ambivalent customers think you want to hear.

But what if you could get honest, candid feedback from folks who could help you avert a major marketing disaster, launch a new product that truly found the mark, or that helped you drive toward success and make significant upgrades to your company's customer experience?

What you need is a Customer Advisory Board to help you trial-balloon those marketing projects you're contemplating, that new product the sales department is always telling you they simply have to have, or that service upgrade your company needs to remain competitive in the marketplace.  A Customer Advisory Board is a team of customers you invite to help you evaluate your plans objectively-- without introducing the inevitable internal (and often fatally biased) perspective you develop when you're too close to an idea.  A Customer Advisory Board can help you see things from that critical ‘other' perspective-the one that you and your team can never have-the view from outside looking in at your company and its idea.

A Customer Advisory Board is more than just a rubber-stamp group you call together to bless your plans.  A good Customer Advisory Board has membership drawn from all segments of your customer base-from the ones that you satisfied thoroughly as well as from those that might have had a less-than-stellar experience with your company in the past.  The key is to bring people together that can and will be honest with you-that won't just tell you what you already know or suspect because they think that's what you want to hear.  A good Customer Advisory Board can become that critical appraisal you need to have to decide if what you thought was a good idea when you started truly is!

Chris Hendricks

Comments (1)

Pam Winterbauer
Pam Winterbauer Real Estate - San Ramon, CA
"Providing Blue Ribbon Service"
Chris....very interesting concept and something to think about.
Mar 13, 2008 03:52 PM