Gathering feedback is crucial to moving a business forward at any stage. But with so many voices sharing their thoughts on your products and services, how do you know where to find the most valuable feedback? That’s where a customer advisory board comes in.

A customer advisory board (CAB) is a group of your most trusted customers who can provide feedback on products, features, and design before those new ideas get pushed into the wild for the rest of your customers to see. I like to refer to this group of people as the Robin to a company’s Batman, but for now, we’ll just call them the “secret weapon” behind brands who bridge the gap between their customers and their business well.

There are countless benefits of having a customer advisory board on your side, but we’ve highlighted the top four to show you just how effective leaning on a CAB can be. Enjoy!

1. Superior beta testing

Customer advisory board members make up a group of beta testers that can be advantageous in a number of ways. First, this group is hand-picked by your business, which gives you the ability to control your sample size. Beta testing typically falls on the shoulders of a group that is uncontrolled, where companies don’t have any input on who their testers actually are. Surveys are sent out with the hope of getting a percentage of response back, rather than focusing on who the responders are. With a CAB, you can create a beta testing group with the demographics, ages, and audience types you know will yield the best results.

Testing through a CAB allows you to make sure your sample is representative of your most-telling audience, but more importantly, it gives businesses the ability to iterate on their tests over time to focus in on finding they answers they need to improve. When a test group is controlled, changes can be made to the content and testers to proactively iterate on results over time. This allows for new theories and samples to be pushed through the pipeline at a faster pace, which allows for more progress on the product side of the house. Do more faster, FTW!

2. Impartial feedback

Gathering feedback on a new product or design is great, but the person providing the feedback makes all the difference. If feedback is given by people who might be operating with their own agendas, the point of unbiased testing is lost.

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CAB members are instrumental in providing feedback that (usually) isn’t driven by their personal motivations. For example, a CAB member will not have the same motivations as your someone who is monetarily invested in your company. CAB members will be invested in your industry but will not be driven solely by growing your revenue when they provide feedback, so what they share has a tendency to be quite unbiased. Investor feedback is crucial to driving a business forward, but there are plenty of times where feedback from a source that is separated from your revenue stream is what makes all the difference.

3. Qualitative feedback

Although working with CAB members will not be as plentiful as selecting a random group of beta testers, their feedback is much deeper than a random sample can provide. If you value quality over quantity when it comes to product feedback (which you should!), lean on your CAB to provide in-depth, unique insights to propel your growth forward.

A great way to collect quality feedback from your CAB (that you can’t get elsewhere!) is to bring them into your office to test your upcoming releases. Watching how they interact with new features and how they generally experience your website provides an invaluable window into how customers really use your product. Note the pain points that they run into, and have them walk you through what both delights and confuses them. There is so much value to be gained from this type of customer testing; use it to your company’s advantage when you brainstorm and build your next feature.

4. Loyal influencers

Here at BigDoor, we believe that growing loyal advocates is one of the best ways to build a community and increase revenue. When you invest in brand advocates, you invest in a group of loyal followers who will not only weigh in with feedback for you and your products, but who will advocate on your behalf.

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Creating a customer advisory board is the perfect way to grow your loyal influencers. Your CAB members are already customers and community members who know and love your product, and building up their trust through implementing their feedback will help grow your loyalest bucket of customers. When the wall between customers and brands is flattened, you’ll begin to see a flood of feedback from your community at large. Let your CAB help start the process for you.

So, where’s your CAB?

A customer advisory board is a great way to collect unique feedback, gather impartial opinions, build loyal advocates, and beta test new products before they’re released. I hope you’re inspired to begin the process of putting your first CAB together. Your products, customers, and revenue will thank you!

Before you go: are you into loyalty? BigDoor is working on putting together a CAB of our own. If you’re interested in joining up with this stellar team, drop us a line at marketing@bigdoor.com to hear more!