What do your clients know that you don’t?

Davis Merrey, TeamLogic IT

I work in the IT industry. Chances are good that you don’t. But whether you do or you don’t, I bet you want to grow your business.

One of the best ways to do that is to find out what your clients need, figure out their pains, and continue to provide more and better solutions to those pains.

A Customer Advisory Board is a great vehicle you can use to figure out what your clients need, and get a better idea of what unspoken pains your prospects are bringing to the table.

Unfortunately, I’ve been a part of some ineffective advisory groups. Maybe you have, too.

Sometimes an “advisory group” is just a group of people in a room together nodding about the preconceived notions that other people are feeding them. Other times, the goals and objectives are so vague that they might as well not exist.

I’ve also been in advisory groups where there was little participation from the members. So these types of groups have frustrated me in the past.

However, we reached a tipping point at TeamLogicIT when Microsoft changed operating systems from XP to Windows 7.

That operating system change meant that many of our customers had technology that was now abruptly obsolete, whether they’d been using it for months or years. Many of the peripheral devices like printers were now obsolete, as well, because they didn’t work with the new operating system.

I found myself in a meeting with my team, surrounded by computers with now-obsolete operating systems, and I thought about how frustrating that must be for our clients. And while we didn’t have anything to do with Microsoft’s change, it occurred to me that we could help our clients if and when things like that happened again.

Ultimately, that’s why we started a Customer Advisory Board. We were aware of changes in our industry that no small business owner has the time to keep up with. And we could do a much better job helping our clients maintain current technology if we knew what their specific problems were.

You may not work in IT, but it’s likely that your industry is changing at a fast pace as well. A Customer Advisory Board can help you stay informed on what your clients see as problems, what they’re worried about, and what they aren’t aware of that maybe they should be.

For us, it was definitely worth moving past some of the frustrating experiences I’ve had with advisory boards to put together our own Customer Advisory Board. I have a much better idea of our client needs now that I’ve been able to so and listen to what they want me to know.

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