I talk a lot about engagement.
I write about it constantly. I create models, systems and workshops to help improve it. I speak with clients about engagement on a daily basis.
You might think I’d get bored-to-death talking about engagement but it’s a topic I’m really passionate about. Co-creation. Change. Movements.
It all starts with engagement.
In my two decades of experience mentoring people and organisations I’ve learned a lot about engagement—ideas and techniques that I apply every single day.
This usually happens in the form of helping clients.
I’ve noticed many companies I work with use the Net Promoter System (NPS) to measure customer satisfaction and outcomes. While they approach NPS with varying degrees of investment their goal is always to improve loyalty and revenue. This isn’t very surprising.
The Net Promoter System is a global benchmark for determining the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships. Moreover, it provides valuable insight into how a brand is perceived by its market.
And the best thing about NPS—it all centres around asking one simple question:
‘How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?’
Sounds straight-forward enough, right?
Why is it then so many companies falter with the insight NPS reveals? In other words, knowing how customers perceive them simultaneously inhibits them.
Perhaps the systems they employ to improve engagement are outmoded, and fail to connect and inspire?
Or, maybe it’s because consumers vehemently oppose the thinly-veiled commercial agenda of companies, undoing legitimate efforts to make an emotional connection?
Here’s the thing—NPS insight isn’t enough.
While NPS can provide a reliable measure and predictive ‘outcome metric’ of a customer’s likely actions based on their experience of a brand—it doesn’t equip companies with skills and techniques to authentically engage or sustain community.
Trying to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty with redundant mechanisms for engagement is like pushing sh*t uphill. It’s futile. The consequence for organisations is diabolical.
There are 5 things you can start doing immediately to help catalyse and sustain engagement.
Lead with empathy
Empathy creates a vital ‘bridge between worlds’. It is the intangible trait that distinguishes brands of extraordinary inspiration, vitality and presence from those brands following the status quo. Ultimately, people don’t care how much data or insight you have about their behaviour but they become ardent when a brand goes out of its way to walk a mile in their shoes.
Become an Artisan of Connection
In a few short years engagement has shifted beyond two-way dialogue into a ‘social capital’ phase. Community has become our currency—with tremendous influence over the way we build brands, innovate products and manage reputations. Value creation is fast, fluid and persistently disruptive. Only the connected will survive.
The challenges associated with getting out of command-and-control mode are far more involved than managing the interface between products and customer more effectively, or striving for a flatter, leaner, operating model. The first step is to address current shortcomings and adapt to the increasing current away-from hierarchies to autonomous and interdependent networks. Then, do more. Care more. Be more.
Innovate ‘with’ NOT ‘for’
With most companies geared towards servicing for a given market the notion of innovating with customers can seem risqué and goes against the grain of what many leaders feel comfortable with. One of the most common barriers to engagement is incongruence of purpose, or lack of clear purpose at all. At the root of the culture and engagement crisis incongruence between individual purpose and the strategic direction of organisations causes disconnection. Co-creating a higher-purpose and outcomes solves this problem.
Be naked and extraordinary
By being ‘naked’ I mean stripping away pretence, persuasive practices and elusive rhetoric that is so typical of brands. I mean be fully transparent about politics and power, and reveal true intention. To engage and lead effectively it is imperative you’re not just naming values, but living them. Ensure your organisation is naked and transparent (or someone else will). Who does your company exist to serve?
Ask yourself—how can I make my brand a beacon for inspiration?
If you’ve got an engagement problem you need to learn how to spark a movement. It isn’t rocket science—it’s ripple science.
I can show you how.