Does your firm have a voice when it comes to interacting with your vendors? When it comes to vendor selection, there are many things to consider. There are the more obvious things, like making sure that the vendor’s solution offers the features that you need, will provide the right benefits and can deliver at the price point that you are willing to pay. Then, there are the characteristics, like whether or not the vendor is a good cultural fit that will give you a glimpse at what the vendor-customer relationship will look like.
One thing that you should consider is whether or not your software vendor has an advisory board. Customer advisory boards exist in order for vendors to stay in touch with customer concerns, better understand the customer experience and continually improve upon it. A vendor with an advisory board shows that the company takes intentional steps toward creating the best customer experience possible.
Most advisory boards are comprised of approximately 25-30 customers from various industries or customer sizes and meet on a monthly or quarterly basis to discuss customer concerns and share updates. The best advisory boards prioritize diversity among its members, gathering participation from various roles, industries and perspectives.
Through its advisory board, vendors can often:
- Get ideas on things that are missing and should be offered.
- Gather feedback from customers that influence product decisions.
- Learn about problems or challenges early, before they’ve done damage.
Does it really matter whether your prospective vendor has an active advisory board? It should. Having a formal advisory board in place not only speaks to the vendor’s motivations, but connects decision makers with the everyday customer experience. As companies grow and scale, they often struggle to stay connected to their founding mission which is usually customer need-centric. An advisory board keeps the vendor organization grounded and connected to its core objectives, while also fueling innovation and the ability to evolve to better meet customer needs and expectations.
At Bellefield, we proudly welcome the rich and diverse perspectives of the iTimeKeep Advisory Board, which meets on a quarterly basis to discuss the most important issues facing law firms today, so we can continue to deliver high-value solutions to the legal industry and beyond. We are honored to have the participation of large and small firms, attorneys, managing partners, law firm administrators (and more!) to help us understand how we can better serve our customers.
Have you been part of a vendor advisory board? Share your experience in the comments section below.