A common misconception about engagement in the CX industry often leads to wasted activity and expense. Specifically customer engagement is not the same as company engagement.  Let me explain the distinction between companies engaging with customers (valuable) and customers engaging with companies (more valuable).

Think back to high school. How much effort did the cool kids invest looking for friends?  What about the amount of effort the other kids spent trying to blend in with the cool kids? This admittedly odd example is analogous to the difference between company and customer engagement. You know you have high customer engagement when customers make an effort to engage with you. 

Instead, I often see companies that think that they have high customer engagement (customers interacting with them) when in fact they have high company engagement. In the former, customers approach the company.  In the latter, the company is expending effort to reach customers.

When your customers interact with you:

  • No attention deficit disorder – you don’t have to worry about getting their attention because they seek your company
  • Lower costs – your costs go down because you don’t approach customers who don’t want to be approached
  • Higher satisfaction – you meet customers where, when, and how they want to meet using their agenda, versus them conforming to yours

High company engagement is often:

  • Ignored by customers – if your reason for reaching out doesn’t meet a current need, customers don’t respond
  • Expensive – your efforts, which don’t meet a customer need, are wasted time and money
  • Unresponsive – your agenda is just that, your agenda which may (lucky) or may not meet your customers’ needs

So as your organization endeavors to develop customer engagement, ask whether the effort and agenda originate with you or your customer.  The answer to that single question addresses the pivot point – whether you have company engagement or customer engagement.

None of this addresses the problem of how to improve customer engagement which I’ll leave for a future post.

What Customer Engagement is NOT

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