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What is Customer Engagement?

Submitted by on Wednesday, 30 November 2011One Comment

‘What IS customer engagement, exactly?’ is a question we have been asked a lot recently, and so we would like to share this question with our readers in the following way:

  • Customer engagement defined, and
  • How to achieve customer engagement

Customer engagement defined

Customer engagement is really simple but is unfortunately made unnecessarily complex by consultants and academics.

We need to start with a question – not any question, but a magic question – the one question that will ultimately get the same answer no matter if we ask a hotelier, department store manager, car dealer, lawyer or accountant. That question is:

What do you want your customers to do?

It’s at this stage that we get a whole shopping list of answers (‘I want them to buy steak when they come here… I want them to sign up for our loyalty card… I want them to use our spa… I want them to say good things about us to their friends…’) and so on. Now do you see why understanding customer engagement can be considered difficult?

And after all the conversations, questions, consulting time and discussions, the answer will ultimately always be the same, no matter what your business.

Ultimately, you want your customers to add value to your business in any way they can. And there are only three ways a customer can add value to your business, no matter what your business. Those three ways or behaviours are as follows. He or she can:

  • SAY – Say good things about you, your staff, or any aspect of your business, product or service to friends and acquaintances.
  • STAY – Continue to select you or your business for repeat purchases / custom, and…
  • SPEND – Simply spend money, or more money with you.

There are no other ways. And, given that it’s so simple to understand customer engagement in this way (and most importantly explain it to customer-facing staff), we wonder why so many companies cling to their complex and unnatural models including competencies and procedure manuals. But that topic is for another day… Right now, we’re going to have a look at the second question we need to ask, which is…

How can we achieve customer engagement?

This question is more involved and is a multi-step process. We promise to cover it in depth in a future email.

In the meantime, if you like what we have to Say, why not subscribe to our emails following the link here? Subscription is free and guarantees you will receive all our updates!


Talent Technologies. Producing Change.



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