To Measure Customer Engagement or Customer Disengagement? That Is The Question


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The new Social CRM frameworks being bandied about are talking about customer engagement models under the premise (in some cases) that this is an outside-in, customer-centric strategy – not a toolset. But is it? I’m going to suggest that in most cases, it won’t be. If 95% of the businesses today our inside-out, what makes anyone believe social monitoring tools will drive an outside-in cultural change anymore than CRM did?

In this light, I read a recent post by Mark Tamis which he wrote after reading about data-driven marketing in a book by Jim Novo, called Drilling Down. Mark quickly reconciled the “you must engage” rhetoric of Social CRM to the pragmatic logic of relationship marketers who are always held to account on the dollars they spend. For them, measuring disengagement is critical to their success. Why disengagement? Because that’s where value is lost as opposed to exists.

But, let me use the words of Jim Novo – who responded to the post.

If I could make a suggestion, taking a cue from your inside-out / outside-in reference: I think social folks would find more success by not focusing so much on measuring engagement, but instead by measuring *dis-engagement*.

Jim made a very interesting point in his response to Mark. He suggested that trying to measure the value created by Social is problematic. However, you can more accurately measure the value lost “due to the improper handling of social.” The value regained, in a scenario where it would otherwise be lost, is something you can show the numbers people and it will make sense to them. Of course, you need to know how to measure this, which Jim has written an entire book about.  Measuring the value of customer engagement isn’t nearly as easy, harder to explain, and possibly a waste of effort.

But is this the outside-in culture that we should all be striving for? Having read Jim’s book, I can say that customer-centricity is a consistent theme throughout, and something he mentions a lot. Understanding the behavior of your customers is really no different than any other means of understanding customer needs. We’re all trying to make our products meet their needs, their experience better, or whatever. If you can spot a problem by measuring behavior (transactional or social), and then you fix it, aren’t you doing this for the customer?

As Dick Lee defined it for me, CRM is about delivering value to your customer in a way that delivers value back to the company. Swap CRM out with customer-centricity or outside-in. The bottom line is that even an outside-in culture’s purpose has to be to gain value by delivering value. The whole going concern thing doesn’t work if you give value away. You have to do it in a way that allows you to provide value to others, and over time. Basically, there’s nothing inside-out about receiving value or planning for ways to receive it, as long as you’re providing it.

There are a number of methodologies out there for understanding customers needs so your business can innovate and adapt. That’s not what we’re talking about here. What we’re talking about is the listening and measuring part. Any strategy you employ must recognize that things change and have built in the mechanisms for monitoring change and learning why things change. Measuring disengagement is one very powerful method of measuring when things change so you have the opportunity to learn why and to fix it – delivering value to your regained customer and to your business at the same time.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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