Thursday, 21 January 2010

Customer Engagement Seminar

What's the difference between the engagement that I'm researching and customer engagement (CE)? I think that the model I'm using is fuller than that used for CE. Why?

The British Computer Society held a seminar on Customer Engagement with speakers from TripleIC. The speakers - and they were good - held our attention by talking about tools and surveys, and telling stories. The main speaker, David Butler, started off fine by defining CE as:
  • listening and responding to human discourse
  • combining human value with quantitative data to tell you how to run your business
He elaborated on the first point of having conversations by telling stories of communication, and of overhearing candid and profane language.

But when he and his colleague Alistair Russell, emphasised their two tools, I began to wonder if their concept of engagement was the same as mine. The tools are:
  1. Advocate - a survey tool. Advocate calculates an advocacy score from your customer responses.
  2. The Lambert Protocol - a tool that plots variables against each other. The Lambert Protocol (created by Tom Lambert) measures domains (understanding of needs, delight, loyalty) and stakeholders (top team, employees, customers). Why choose understanding, delight and loyalty for customer engagement?
Such tools assume that engagement is made up of these domains, and I don't know that they do, nor did the speakers justify the choices. Saks chose vigor, dedication and absorption for employee engagement - is that different from customer engagement? And if so, then why? What can customer and employee engagement have in common?

The subsequent slides brought our attention to the various technical tools now available for networking electronically with customers and markets.

It was when our excellently organised speakers got people talking together in groups of around eight, that the sceptism became more obvious because these tools are one-way measurements, not instruments that allow a mutual relationship and a sharing of knowledge. Peter Wood expressed it thus. He'd joined Ocado's Facebook group for users where Ocado asked for customer feedback on the service, but having given feedback, nothing more was heard - Ocado had no more to say. That's not engagement. Peter was rolling his hands one over the other as he explained that he wanted reciprocation for his efforts.

So, Ocado could through tools like a Facebook group have the sort of measurements that the above tools would provide. But that's customer marketing, not engagement.

Engagement has to go on and on, hence Peter's rolling of hands. You have to work at engagement, and continue working at it. Engaged relationships require mutual contributions and sharing of ideas not measurements.


SAKS, A. M. (2006) Antecedents and consequences of employee engagement. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 21, 600-619.

1 comment:

Ram Karthik said...

Hi, I am using waffor’s Customer Engagement Suite. Its really a good way to build more customer satisfaction.