Overcoming the Customer Engagement Disconnect

Annmarie Geddes Baribeau on October 31, 2017


There is a wider customer engagement disconnect than company executives may realize.

Marketers (89 percent) get that customer experience is critical, ranking it as the most important consumer engagement strategy, according to The State of Engagement, published by Marketo. Marketers (82 percent) also believe they deeply understand how consumers want to engage.

However, half of the surveyed customers don’t think so. They (56 percent) even agree that successful engagement requires that brands or vendors “have a deep understanding of my needs.”

This customer engagement disconnect equates to lost opportunities for building customer loyalty and brand advocacy when consumers express willingness to be brand advocates. Significantly, half of those in the survey (51 percent) say they want to advocate for companies that “care about me.”

Companies have a ways to go before meeting specific customer desires. Here’s a snapshot of what customers believe is necessary for engaging with brands and vendors:

  • Content that matters. Fifty-one percent of customers complain that companies send too much irrelevant content.
  • Personalized interactions (56 percent).
  • Profile data integrated across touch points, including phone and email (56 percent).

Marketers rightly believe customer retention is reason numero uno for investing in customer engagement. They also recognize that most customer engagement innovators are deploying omnichannel technology, offering personalized content, and identifying how to reach buyers at the right the moment, according to the survey.

However, marketers still need to fully embrace the customer journey that fosters these goals, which innovators including SPLICE Software have been recommending for years. Forty-five percent of marketers plan to pursue journey mapping, which the survey considers an “advanced” marketing approach for customer engagement.

Overcoming the Customer Engagement Disconnect

Addressing the customer engagement disconnect requires more than strategy, however. It also demands the proper tools.

Currently, the marketers in the survey are relying most on pre-smart phone tools, such as websites and emails, to drive purchasing before and after the sale. Cell phones—especially smart phones—are increasingly becoming the center of people’s lives and consumers demand greater personalization. Therefore, mobile technologies, rather those that are web-based, are becoming more critical for customer engagement.

However, 37 percent of marketers are using mobile devices for driving purchasing products and services. Only U.S.-based companies rank it as the third most common channel for the post-purchase phase.

Truly harnessing mobile phone technology for engaging customers requires a different way of thinking about marketing and customer communication. Traditionally, the role of marketing and public relations departments is to focus on macro customer communications and consistent messaging so critical to a company’s overall brand.

Meanwhile, directly contacting customers (micro communication), also affects customer experience with a company’s brand. However, this has traditionally been the domain of other departments, such as sales and customer service. They are likely depending on innovative tools, such as SPLICE Software’s Dialog Suite™, which can also support marketers’ customer engagement goals while saving on labor costs.

The capabilities this interactive tool provides are crucial for overcoming the customer engagement disconnect. That’s because it allows customers to choose their channel of direct engagement—whether human voice, text or email messages. With it, marketers can better deploy customer engagement and brand-supporting messages that are caring, relevant and personalized to reduce the customer engagement disconnect.

Innovative and connected technologies are the wave of the future. When marketers embrace them, they will come closer to addressing the customer engagement disconnect.

The State of Engagement report, released in August is based on surveys of nearly 1,200 marketers from the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany and 1,000 consumers in the United States and United Kingdom.