ABCs of Customer Engagement

Customer Engagement Podcast

It seems that everyone is concerned about engagement. Employers want engage employees, teachers are concerned about engagement of students, and of course, companies care that they have engaged customers. But what exactly is engagement, why is it important, and how can we measure it? A team of researchers in the Muma College of Business at the University of South Florida is teaming with the onQ company to answer these questions. Stephanie Andel, GJ de Vreede, Triparna de Vreede, Balaji Padmanabhan, Vivek Singh and Paul Spector have been doing research for more than a year on engagement. Paul Spector talks about customer engagement and some of the team’s engagement research with Phil Mcgee of Shoppernomics as part of their podcast series.

What Is Engagement?

Simply put, engagement has to do with the extent to which a person is absorbed in, committed to, and involved in a activity or entity. You can be engaged in something you are doing in the moment, like reading this blog, or you can be engaged in an ongoing domain in life, like your job or school. We can also talk about the engagement of customers in a brand, company, or product.

The ABC of Engagement

There are three main areas that form the ABC of engagement. Affective engagement is about feelings. Do you like a product and enjoy using it? Are you satisfied with the customer service of a company? Behavioral engagement is about what a customer does. Do you use the product? Do you visit the company’s website or store? Do you buy the company’s products? Cognitive engagement is about thoughts and mental effort. Do you focus attention on the product? When you visit a store, do you lose track of time as you browse?

Customers who are fully engaged enjoy the brand and its products, think about the brand, make an effort to learn about the brand, and in the end are likely to buy the brand. A fully engaged customer has high satisfaction with the brand, and is loyal to the brand.

Measuring Engagement

Engagement is usually measured by surveying people with an engagement scale. There are many such scales that have been developed for use in specific circumstances. For example, there are employee engagement scales, some developed by researchers, and some by consulting firms that conduct engagement surveys for companies. The USF team has developed a generic engagement scale that can be used, with slight adaptation, to many different contexts. Their scale measures the three aspects of engagement, affective, behavioral, and cognitive.

Photo by Bruce Mars from Pexels

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