New book looks at customer engagement methods
The emotional engagement of customers is essential: a new book spells out the psychological principles that get customers emotionally engaged and business strategies that put these principles into action.
Most executives believe that customer engagement, not products or price, is the winning competitive differentiator. It is not that executives believe quality products and price are unimportant; they are a requirement but not a compelling source of competitive differentiation. But less than 13% of these executives believe their customers are fully engaged with their company. These are the findings of a 2007 Economist Intelligence Unit study.
What's special about engagement? Apparently strategy and practice has not caught up with perception. So why do executives see customer engagement as the differentiator? This Economist Intelligence Unit study defines customer engagement as "the creation of a deeper, more meaningful connection between the company and the customer, and one that endures over time.
Engagement is also seen as a way to create customer interaction and participation." This is a tall order since most organisations have been honed to sell products, not build engaging relationships. And, in today's business climate, many of these conventional practices undermine customer engagement.
New focal point The buyer-seller relationship needs a new focal point - one that benefits both parties. Clearly, the vendor needs to be the initiator of the change. Making and selling things is largely under the control of the organisation. However, customer engagement is about customer relationships, and the enduring elements are emotional and psychological which resides in the customer. Traditional sales and marketing are not up to the challenge.
Companies won't succeed by tweaking their practices; they need to transform to them. It requires a shift in how they define value and value transfer, seen from the perspective of the customer. They must realise that marketplace forces have had a profound effect on what customer's value and how they make decisions.
Psychological principles In a new book entitled 'Addicted Customers: How to Get Them Hooked on Your Company', John Todor (managing partner of customer-centric consulting firm The Whetstone Edge) spells out the psychological principles that get customers emotionally engaged and the business strategies that put the principles of converting indifferent customers engaged customers into action.