Engagement, why do we do what we do and why does it matter to our customers – Interview with Scott Gould


Today’s interview is with Scott Gould, an engagement advisor, speaker and author of the recent book: The Shape of Engagement: The Art of Building Enduring Connections with Your Customers, Employees and Communities. Scott joins me to talk about his new book, what engagement is and what it isn’t, what most organisations get wrong when it comes to engagment, what we can learn from his book and how we can put it into practice so we can generate more of it with both our customers and our people.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – An honest and open discussion about how and why we evolved our approach to customer success – Interview with Eva Klein of Hubspot – and is number 258 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.

Highlights from my conversation with Scott:

  • Scott recently published a new book called: The Shape of Engagement: The Art of Building Enduring Connections with Your Customers, Employees and Communities.
  • Most companies are approaching engagement tactically and not strategically or sustainably.
  • The foreword of Scott’s book was written by his friend and mentor: Joe Pine (author of The Experience Economy in 1999).
  • Scott uses a series of shapes to help describe engagement and its different facets.
  • What engagement is or isn’t is an ongoing debate.
  • From Scott’s perspective, engagement is this sense of commitment between a person and a brand or a company or an idea. A sense of emotional bonding. A sense of loyalty and, ultimately, relationship.
  • That’s why many companies are getting engagement wrong as they are focusing on interactions rather than the broader relationship.
  • The challenge with that is that it is harder to attach metrics to that definition.
  • However, the research and the evidence shows that an engaged customer will spend 300 percent more per year with a company that an un-engaged customer.
  • Check out Gallup’s book related to this: Human Sigma: Managing the Employee-Customer Encounter, which found that a fully engaged customer offers a 23 percent premium over a standard customer. Meanwhile, a disengaged customer represents a 13 percent decrease in value against your average customer.
  • When a customer is engaged they are no longer making their purchasing decisions rationally they’re making them on an emotional basis.
  • When you have an emotional bond with your customer it helps protects you against price competition.
  • Here’s a quick description of some of the shapes in the book:
    • Shape 4 is literally the number four and represents the 4 1/2 frontiers of engagement, which demonstrate that engagement is about people and whether they are employees or customers the process is the same.
    • Shape 1 is a circle and looks at how engagement happens (scatter gather matter).
    • Shape 3 is an E and looks at the three different levels of engagement (expression, experience and enablement).
    • Shape 5 is the five S.P.U.R.S. (Shared, Prompt, Understood, Response, Sensibility) of engagement. This is a very tactical framework that helps people consider when people are motivated to be engaged.
  • Engagement is not a state, it’s a process.
  • In fact, engagement seeks to build a state of connection.
  • The shapes are equally applicable to employee or customer engagement.
  • Scott cites Apple as a brand that embodies many of the principles and shapes described in the book.
  • What is of particular note about Apple is how they not only enable their customers technologically, they also enable them socially.
  • The whole engagement issue can get very complicated very quickly so Scott recommends that companies start with the scatter, gather, matter idea and start by asking why. Ask yourself why do we do what we do and why does it matter to our customers.
  • Once you have done that then you will be in a position to figure out how to invite people to bond emotionally with that.
  • Check out the McKinsey article: Five ‘no regrets’ moves for superior customer engagement.
  • Customer engagement really is the competitive advantage that makes brands stick.
  • If you want to see the engagement process in action, watch the film V for Vendetta.
  • Check out Scott’s book: The Shape of Engagement: The Art of Building Enduring Connections with Your Customers, Employees and Communities.

About Scott

Scott GouldScott is a thinker and expert in engagement, an area he has worked in for 17 years domestically and internationally. He consults with purpose driven organisations who need to engage and galvanise their followers around their mission, including Microsoft, Nokia, GAIN, and the Finland tourist board. He previously founded the popular Like Minds series of conferences, and is the creator of a unified theory of engagement.

Scott is a pilgrim and student of life: he’s been a church minister, lecturer, TV producer, event manager, entrepreneur, designer, developer and creative director to name a few of his jobs. The one thread through them all has been people: how to connect with people, how to engage people, and how to inspire people.

As a consultant, he led a team of 15 marketing executives to create Finland’s tourism social media strategy, and has worked with a range of organisations to engage their communities, including Exeter City Council, Microsoft, Somerset County Council, Nokia, Quilliam, Church of England, ARM, and F&W Media.

Over his career thus far, Scott has delivered 500 talks, carried out over 20,000 hours of community building, and run over 400 events.

Scott is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Check out Scott’s book: The Shape of Engagement: The Art of Building Enduring Connections with Your Customers, Employees and Communities, his website scottgould.me, say Hi to him on Twitter @scottgould and do connect with him on LinkedIn here.

Thanks to Pixabay for the image.

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