Customer Engagement or Market Engagement: What's the Difference?

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Today I’m pleased to share the final installment of a three-part series co-authored with Peter Haid of E Source.

In Part 1, Peter wrote about revisiting your corporate engagement initiatives to identify areas of improvement and to ensure that you had buy-in across the board for any change initiatives that were required.

In Part 2, Peter wrote about opportunities to improve the employee experience through praise, recognition, development, and empowerment.

In Part 3 of this series, Peter takes a look at the next area of your customer experience strategy that will likely require some spring cleaning: market engagement, which is all about understanding customers, listening to them, and acting on their feedback.

I’ll turn it over to Peter to provide more detail and to wrap up this series.

Market Engagement

The third and final pillar that we base our practice on at E Source is market engagement. It’s not customer engagement because it’s important to realize that your brand reaches much farther than your customer base. E Source defines market engagement success to result from an organization’s ability to effectively integrate market engagement into its CX strategy, identify key customer transactions, gather customer insights, respond to their feedback, include them in the process of improving their experiences, and implement changes integral to the success of the CX strategy.

Said simply, market engagement is how you listen, analyze, act, and share customer insights. I’d like to propose a couple of fairly controversial ideas here to clean up your programs.

  • Start your journey maps with customer intention. As the Temkin Group mentioned in its 14 Customer Experience Trends for 2014, journey-mapping is a very hot trend this year. Do yourself a favor and just pick one intention to start with. This could be as simple as “find a representative” or “understand my bill.” We get wrapped around the axle on huge journeys, and then the butcher paper gets rolled up, shoved under someone’s desk, and we forget about it, not really knowing where to start. My recommendation is to prioritize the improvements you want to make by first mapping the “yes” groups (CX advocates) in the company and second by emotional impact. Don’t bother with the “no” groups; they will come around in time. Start small, go intention by intention, don’t forget to validate with your customers, and let customer emotion guide you. Oh, and solve the rolled-up-under-the-desk problem by looking into great digital ways to map, analyze, share, and present journey maps. My current favorite is the Touchpoint Dashboard because it’s easy to pick up, share, and take action.
  • Kick out the old-school market research companies. Why are we still doing 50-question surveys with a big deck that arrives in our rearview mirror after it’s analyzed by overpaid PowerPoint jockeys? Stop it! How far does that deck make it? How often is it reviewed? What actions does it spur? There are a bunch of old-school market research companies that call their services customer experience when they’re really just the same old brand and relationship studies. All you need is two questions from a vendor that can scale technology right down to each and every employee: 1) “How did we do?” and 2) “What can we do to improve?” If you’re dealing with massive transaction counts, you might need some text analytics to help you with the second question, but don’t overthink this. We spend millions on these programs, and most of what we gather is for internal slicing and dicing rather than true repair of human emotions. I know this will be controversial, but there’s a ton of wasted money in this space. Two questions + text analytics = actionable info. The “score” is only important to the bonus plan (that’s for another blog); therefore, you just need to get to work on fixing those emotional moments rather than explaining complex indexes and multiple-question surveys to every stakeholder who’s upset with the score. Empower and trust your employees! 

Thanks, Peter. It’s been a pleasure to have you share your thoughts here with my readers. I like your thinking on journey maps. Start with personas or with jobs to be done; either approach will get you a meaningful map. Trying to map a journey by using high-level, meaningless customer demographics will yield meaningless outputs. And, to your point, the map must be shared. It’s a living, breathing document – not to be created and stuffed in a drawer. I’ve written a lot about journey maps, and I agree that this is the year they become completely mainstream! I’ve seen their adoption blossom this year, no doubt.

I also agree that we need to do away with lagging PowerPoint decks that allow us to look too far into (or from) the rear-view mirror. We need fresh data and fresh insights – real-time, now, today – in order to adjust the customer experience on the fly, as it’s happening.

As promised in the first two parts of this blog series, you can now download the E Source’s Customer Experience Readiness Assessment, which will help you identify both where your organization stands on CX maturity as well as what actionable next steps are required to achieve your CX goals.

Have a place for everything and keep the thing somewhere else; this is not a piece of advice, it is merely a custom. -Mark Twain

Image courtesy of chezlarsson

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