Engagement: The Glue Binding People & Brands

By Emily Turnbull

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Staff and customer engagement (or service) isn’t a new idea. I remember clients’ telling me, as a Creative Writer some 20 years ago, that the one thing standing them apart from their competition was “we offer great service”. When you hear this 5, 6, 7 times a day, you can’t be blamed for becoming a little cynical. Great service was thrown out there, like memes of cute kittens these days.

Over the years however, people’s expectations of service and engagement have changed and genuinely good connections are now critical to an organisation’s survival. The financial impact that poor people engagement can have on an organisation is crippling.

People now have a broader ability to share unedited and be guided by crowd sourced opinion, commentary and reviews. They consult and trust in their community first…before they believe any brand campaign. They vote with their wallets and voices in such a way, that no longer leaves an organisation with much of a second chance.

The stakes are certainly high. But the reward for engagement (when done well, consistently), is quantifiable bottom line improvements. In fact, enhanced people engagement delivers far reaching, cross organisational benefits:

  1. Drives sales and market share:
    A superior, well leveraged and unique customer journey maximises a business’s existing customers to grow revenue. The focus moves away from looking at a singular sale to instead understanding and growing the potential lifetime value of every customer and client.  Enhanced engagement attracts new qualified customers and clients through targeted marketing, communications and business development initiatives – focusing on developing an emotional connection from the get go.
  2. Builds brand value:
    Engaged customers become loyal brand advocates.  Research conducted through Facebook shows that people are twice as likely to recall and associate with a brand if a friend has ‘curated and liked’ it on social media.
    Engagement creates shareable experiences for customers and clients and when it binds organisational initiatives and brand strategies, it becomes very hard for a competitor to replicate.
  3. Improves productivity:
    The King of staff engagement, Richard Branson said “I truly believe that if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business.”  An engaged staff will lead to engaged customers.  Engagement creates a high performing and productive team who are focused on winning and blitzing the competition.  A connected team have greater self-regulation meaning less time spent on internal politics and unnecessary fires.  A healthy and happy team, minismise the costs associated with absenteeism – thought to be in excess of $1 billion annually across NZ businesses.
  4. Assist risk management:
    Genuine and meaningful engagement process and well managed customer relationships limit the time, reputation and financial risk associated with errors which happen from time to time.
  5. Delivers cost efficiencies:
    Client and customer churn and high staff turnover have a direct impact on the bottom line.  HRINZ states that high staff turnover also creates low staff morale, poor service delivery, damage to an organisation’s brand and reputation in the market.  Although there is no definitive number in terms of client churn, sources seem to land on it costing between 4 and 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.  Creating an engaged and loyal staff and customer base, delivers cost efficiency across the board.

There is no doubt, an intrinsic link exists between enhanced people engagement and the ultimate success of an organisation.  It is the sticky brand glue which binds people (both staff and customers) to company’s and brands.

Today, 88%** of all businesses believe that they deliver “excellent” customer experience. Unfortunately, only 8% of their customers believe the same thing.  (** Peter Shankman I Zombie Loyalists)

No matter what a business throws at their organisation, be it money, people or resource, the reality is, it will never be better than what the customers and staff truly experience…and feel…and share with their community.

So, what are your staff and customers saying?

I can help you find out through Engaging Me.