Sep 21, 2023

Customer experience vs. customer engagement: Making a lasting impact

Andre Dubreuil

Andre Dubreuil

Customer experience vs. customer engagement: Making a lasting impact

Forrester defines customer experience as “how customers perceive their interactions with your company.” In other words, it’s the overall personal impression or the perceived value customers have of the sum of their interactions with an organization, brand, or product.

Meanwhile, customer engagement is about communicating with your customers, growing the relationship over time, and gaining customer loyalty.

While customer experience and customer engagement are different, they are related, as perceived value and engagement boost brand experience, provide valuable customer feedback and insight, and increase customer trust and loyalty, as well as sales-funnel velocity.

Satisfied customers are also more likely to recommend an organization, brand, or product to someone else, eventually becoming brand advocates.

From Customer Experience to Customer Engagement

A customer engagement strategy incorporates ongoing interactions customers have within an organization’s ecosystem. It goes beyond the experience provided at specific touchpoints and builds on customers’ willingness to invest in an ongoing relationship. It shapes their degree of engagement with a brand or product through experience and communication.

Consumer expectations are sky-high, so customer engagement has never been more important for success than it is today. Today’s customers expect personalized, contextual, relevant information. They expect every interaction they have with a brand to deliver a useful and valuable experience for them.

The starting point to a successful customer engagement strategy is the knowledge an organization has of its customers. However, many businesses are still struggling to understand their customers’ behavior, preferences, and needs, which is necessary to maintain a high level of relevance and value within the relationship for both parties, not just for the brand. Some companies are having a difficult time making sense of, much less applying, such knowledge when they have it.

Gaining this kind of understanding of the customer journey as a whole, rather than just focusing on separate individual experiences, provides more value during the planning, design, and implementation phases of an effective customer engagement strategy.

Experience & Engagement Principles

Here’s a good starting point for planning, designing, and implementing any customer strategy efforts:

Be Useful

  • How can you make different touchpoints more meaningful for customers?  

  • How can you simplify interactions, make them easier to understand, facilitate the process, and minimize the necessary steps to completion?

Establish Credibility

  • How can interactions you have with customers be manifestations of your expertise? 

  • How can you explain, facilitate, educate, and, ultimately, bring knowledge to your customers?

Adapt, Contextualize, Personalize

  • How can you learn more about your customers from their interactions within your ecosystem?  

  • How can you adapt or personalize the content and experience based on the context and knowledge you have?

Spark Inspiration

  • How can you inspire your customers? 

  • How can you engage customers further, keep the conversation going, deepen your relationship, bring them more value, and build trust?

The Bottom Line 

Creating connections with your customers by understanding their needs and then addressing the gap between what they expect and what you currently provide will go a long way toward building the trust necessary to convert them into loyal customers for years to come.

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