Customer engagement is often discussed purely as a technology challenge. If only brands had the right platform, the right tools and the right customer data, they would somehow build deep and meaningful relationships with their customers.
But I think what sometimes gets lost is why a customer should care about having a relationship with a brand in the first place. What’s in it for them? Why does a brand deserve to be more than transactional?
The technology is increasingly table stakes. Customers expect to be able to reach brands in whatever channels they choose. They expect brands to offer a seamless customer experience across those channels. They are frustrated when brands fail to deliver.
And, to be sure, most brands have a lot work to do to deliver on those basic expectations. Marketers talk a lot about delivering omni-channel experiences, but much of what happens in practice is still multi-channel or cross-channel at best. Brands may be present on multiple channels, but the experience is disjointed.
I read somewhere that 85% of organizations have fragmented customer engagement channels. There are too many legacy silos in business that don’t talk to each other very well. Brands still struggle to connect the dots on what they know about customers to deliver consistent seamless experiences.
But even in a world where brands manage to close the technology gap, actual customer engagement is still something to be earned. Customers don’t really care where they fit in a brand’s marketing funnel. Not every brand interaction warrants a relationship.
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years: