I have been often asked who is responsible for Customer Engagement in an organisation. Quite a few companies designate someone in the Marketing Department (Marketing Managers, Marketing Directors or even CMOs), others create roles with fancy titles of Customer Engagement Directors, but not everyone seems to quite understand what is involved when we speak about Customer Engagement.
If we acknowledge that the sole reason that we survive and thrive in business is because of our customers, the decision to leave the function of “Customer Engagement” to a person or department is difficult to comprehend. The larger the organisation, the greater this “silo” thought process is.
So who engages with our customer? Explicit engagement is when a sales person meets the customer and books a sales order or a service agent registers a customer complaint. It is when a customer clicks on a product page or receives a marketing email. Beyond such examples of explicit engagement, there are a large number of implicit engagements the customer has with your company and your brand. Unfortunately, this is not so much to do with transactional engagement, but more to do with emotional connections and the way your brand makes the customer feel – “the customer experience”
These moments of truth when your value proposition to the customer is repeatedly tested are the ones your business needs to focus on to understand the true meaning of customer engagement. For instance, if your promise to the customer is to deliver on time every time, you simply cannot afford to be make excuses for a delayed shipment even if it is to one customer in a thousand. If you promise outstanding customer service, you cannot afford to let one single complaint slip through the net. Your promise does not hold good for that one customer and the brand image is invariably hurt.
This could have been pardoned a few years ago, but in today’s social age, a disgruntled customer can become a dangerous customer and a dig at your brand image has the potential to go viral and inflict serious damage to your business through negative sentiment.
Conversely, a repeatedly well delivered value proposition could result in a warm emotional experience that will stay with customers who will champion your brand and display loyalty. There are quite a few examples of young brands that are fast acquiring a loyal customer by choosing to deliver on their promise beyond customer expectation.
If your business wants to seriously engage with your customers better, you are well advised to start analysing every possible touchpoint that your customers have with your business from their viewpoint. You will quickly realise that customer engagement is a function across the organisation and a truly “customer centric” organisation will not just delegate this responsibility to an individual or “task force”
At Gauri, we are defining some practical ways to evaluate your organisation’s Customer Engagement Quotient. Talk to us, you may be pleasantly surprised.