A Skeptical Look Under The Hood Of Customer Engagement?
Why is Customer Engagement so fashionable? Is that because Tops, Middles, and Marketers have found Jesus and come to love the Customer? I say “No!”
It occurs to me that Customer Engagement has become fashionable because marketers have found it increasingly difficult to get the customer’s attention long enough to exercise their dark arts of activating-influencing-manipulating human beings to want what the marketers are paid to sell.
Put differently, the purpose of the bag of tricks that falls under fine sounding rhetoric of Customer Engagement is to get customers to march in tune with the marketer’s agenda: tell us about yourself so we can sell your data and send you marketing messages; buy from us and buy more from us; and sell us, and for us, by recommending us to your social network.
I say Customer Engagement is a Taker’s way of taking whilst masking-disguising the taking that is going on. Is it then a real surprise that whilst there is so much talk of Customer Engagement, there is so little in the way of success? Which might explain why the masters of the dark arts (those who advise-assist marketers) are busy inventing new tools-tricks for taking. And why marketers continue to fall for the latest tool-trick?
You may not be as skeptical as me; being skeptical as opposed to trusting-gullible is the norm, that is our default wiring. So I invite your to play a mind game. Imagine that every company that is busy with Customer Engagement scraps their existing engagement tools-tricks. Instead, customers vote and choose their champion: the customer champion. This customer champion is invited to any-every discussion in the business which makes decisions that impact customers. And no decision can be made without the agreement of the customer champion. In giving his/her consent the customer champion solicits the views of the people he represents: the customers. Is this not real engagement with customers? Then ask yourself if any business/organisation is doing this today. How many names have you come up with? Who even gets close to something like this?
What Is The Alternative To Customer Engagement?
If you showed up and travelled through life as a Giver how would you approach the Customer challenge? I say that you would not be asking yourself the following question: “How do I get the customers to engage with me and my agenda?”
It occurs to me that as a Giver you would be grappling with the following kinds of questions:
- How do I create superior value for my customers?
- How do I make their lives simpler-easier?
- How do I enrich the lives of our customers?
- What will it take for our organisation to leave customers feeling happy doing business with us and grateful that we exist?”
A Skeptical Look Under The Hood Of Employee Engagement?
Why is it the Employee Engagement is so fashionable? Is it because Tops, Middles and HR folks have found Jesus, recognised the universal brotherhood of man, and come to see the folks that work in the business as fellow human beings – of equal worth and value? I say “No!”
It occurs to me that Employee Engagement has become fashionable because the business place is so competitive. As such there is tremendous pressure on organisations to increase productivity and cut costs. And for some organisations, there is the added pressure of generating knowledge and converting this knowledge into new products, new services, and better (cheaper) ways of doing things.
Imagine one of the Tops getting up and saying: “We are keen, even desperate, to get as much knowledge-innovation-work out of our human resources as possible whilst paying the absolute minimum that we can get away with paying.” How much better, upstanding, uplifting, it sounds for a Top to talk about Employee Engagement.
I get that you may think that what I speak here is far-fetched. Let’s put that to the test. Imagine every company that is touting Employee Engagement goes to their employees and asks them to vote for and nominate an employees champion. And once this champion is appointed, s/he has to be presented in any-all discussion that affect the lives of the employees. And that no decisions that affect employees can be made unless the employees champion gives his/her agreement. Now tell me how many companies that you know which practice anything like this.
I say Employee Engagement is just another term devised by Takers to disguise their taking. And I am clear that most employee are wise to this. Why might just explain why there is so little ‘engagement’ and genuine collaboration in the very companies that are touting Employee Engagement and devising-implementing the latest bag of tricks dreamed up by those passing themselves of as masters of manipulating people (psychologists, social scientists, academics, consultants, change agents..).
What Is The Alternative To Employee Engagement?
I say that if you genuinely care about your fellow human beings you would never refer to them as human resources. Just get present to this term: where is the dignity in the term human resource? When you get home do you refer to husband/wife/partner and children as human resources? Do you view-call your friends and members of your social network human resources?
So how would you treat your employees if you showed up and travelled in this world as a Giver? Allow me to ask the same question differently. What are the kinds of questions you would be asking yourself if you genuinely cared by the wellbeing of your employees and the business? I say that you would be grappling with the following kinds of questions:
- What kind of workplace is most likely to show up as a great place to work for the people who work (or we want to work) in our organisation?
How do we involve our employees in the key business decisions especially those that affect them and their interactions-relationships with our-their customers?
How do we shape what we do and the way that we do it such that this resonates deeply with that which provides genuine meaning, uplifts our employees, and calls forth the very best they have to offer? What is it that we are doing-causing in the world that is speaks to and is worthy of the very best that lies at the deep core of our employees?
How do we make sure that we share, equitably, the fruits of the creativity-knowledge-innovation-work that flows from our employees?
I welcome your thoughts on the matters I have touched upon here.