Customer Engagement

By Tim Langford-Smith, Jaz Creative

There are many different definitions of customer engagement, but they all agree on one thing, customer engagement is all about interactions between your customer and your brand. 

Think of a brand you have a strong connection or relationship with.  Chances are you will more likely spend money with them, if they mess up, forgive them and more inclined to open up an email from them.  You do this not just because you think they have a good product or service, but you feel connected with them, you feel like part of their story.

Sashi’s (2012) customer engagement cycle below is built upon seven stages; connection, interaction, satisfaction, retention, commitment, advocacy and engagement which aim to shape customer engagement, where customers feel high levels of emotional attachment and rational reasons for brand loyalty. This results in behavior of brand advocacy and unconditional loyalty.

Customer Engagement (Cycle Sashi 2012)

On a much higher level are three overarching phases to customer engagement that integrate the seven stages put forward by Sashi, the first being relationship. Through connection, interaction and satisfaction you will develop a relationship with the customer.  Relationships are the backbone of customer engagement, without them there can be no engagement.

Three phases of Customer Engagement incorporating the seven stages (JAZ, Sashi 2012)

Social media and digital platforms provide a more effective channel to connect and interact than traditional communication methods as they are immediate, accessible and not constrained by location.  We have seen with social media platforms such as Twitter, the potential and power of interaction on mass.

The second phase is to build trust through retention and commitment. Retention can be achieved over time through repeated satisfaction as well through creating strong positive emotions towards a brand. Commitment occurs when consumers form an emotional attachment to a brand that evokes strong positive emotions. You can have cognitive loyalty where rational consumers remain loyal due to lacking a better option, however it will be difficult to maintain commitment in the long term.  

The final phase is to create brand loyalty which is done through advocacy and engagement. Once a consumer has developed a relationship and emotional attachment with your brand you can build trust which then provides the pathway for advocacy. Engagement is about turning advocates into fans who will remain unconditionally loyal to a brand.  Engaged customers can add value to a brand acting as advocates interacting with others creating a community within a brand.  

The ultimate in customer engagement is that when consumers are engaged in a brand they don’t believe these brands sell to us, but rather that they help us.

Tim recently spoke about the Customer Engagement model in his LED Knowledge Workshop:

Tim Langford-Smith is the Managing Director of Jaz Creative, a bespoke marketing, design, and digital studio.

Contact Tim on 1300 852 102

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