The Future of Customer Engagement: Part Two

Posted on May 8, 2012 mapadmin

A couple of years ago, a bank in Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), led with the thought that every head of department and middle manager should go to the counter once a week to feel and respond unswervingly to the client. The products team got a feel for the customers and then whipped out their finest ideas, since there was no better way to obtain feedback than from those exchanges. Now, GTB is undoubtedly Nigeria’s leading bank. Unlike competitors, they do not have sales representatives on every corner of the city, but rather the employees engage with customers anywhere they encounter them, and that has brought tremendous footfall to their counters, where it all started in the first place. In Pakistan, organizations lose this when they have a strong demarcation around marketing and others.

Conflicts and internal storms are created from the “us and them” syndrome which does nothing more than harm in the long run and often proves unnecessary or even counterproductive. Especially those organizations suffer which lack the habit of viewing marketing as a defining force in creating their unique competitive advantage. Some think that simply getting everybody from all area’s to identify themselves as marketers is relatively easy, but when it comes down to getting them to willingly and thoroughly hold themselves accountable, the tables turn. Though undeniably present, imperative links between the bottom line and marketing often appear indirect or less immediate in its impact. It can be easily disregarded, principally in the face of other, more pressing “priorities.”

Competition in the future will be decided by the forces of marketing; a reality those in the B2C market must realize keeping in view examples like Apple, a company that succeeds despite creating similar functional products as others – and a much more heavily priced one at that. Competitors create more or less the same offering at a lower end user price, yet retain a smaller market share. The reality is that though everything else has become harmonized or uniform, what remains in control of each organization, is to make customers view their product as an inimitable proposition.

This, here and now, is the era of customer engagement – a movement for partnership between those that produce and those that consume the products and services. Customers are now creating experience of their own using various platforms—a kind of Customer-to-Business-to-Customer, adheres to be driven by science and data. Competitive advantages in marketing and innovation of products and services arise from a new approach to innovation in businesses, wherein activities with external stakeholders mediated through the use of social media spurs customer marketing knowledge (CMK) or multiple product uses, insights and suggestions.

To enable more relevant processes from design to delivery, customers must be placed at the centre of organizations. In a world where the consumer is now in charge of the brand-to-customer relationship, the inherent connection between shopper and worker engagement is a symbolic one.

The responsibility of customer engagement lies in every facet of the company’s customer experience, from call centers to billing to repairs. This approach can and has brought about a knowledge economy within the organization the world over, the practicing of which must extend onto each and every member of C-level leadership position so the trickle-down effect is felt across the organization.

About the author

Babar Khan Javed is currently Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer of Sociality360, a social media think tank, as well as Program Director – Fat Torching Plan at the BodyBeat Recreational Centre. He writes for local and international publications on fitness, strategic management and political satire. You may reach him on