Engaged (committed) customers and employees affect the relationship between them and the company. One of the advantages of engagement over satisfaction is that satisfaction is backward-looking while engagement is forward-looking. Engagement thus says more about future behavior than what satisfaction does.
When customers feel engaged, they also feel more loyal. One reason for that is because people want to feel consistent in their behavior. Being consistent in what you say, and your actions is a human trait that is perceived as something positive by other people. Inconsistent people are therefore seen as deviant and strange.
Companies can engage their customers, with for example a customer club. An example of a company that has succeeded well in engaging its customers is the motorcycle manufacturer Harley Davidson. Harley Davidson has a customer club called the Harley Owners Group (HOG) where everyone who owns a Harley Davidson motorcycle can join. The club arranges motorcycle meetings, events and much more. The advantage of the club for Harley Davidson is of course that the members (customers) become more engaged, but Harley Davidson also gets a marketing channel to the customers, and a feedback channel with information from the market about what the customers think about different products.
The fact that there is great potential in engaging the employees is indicated by the fact that many companies have far more than half of its employees being unengaged. However, it should be remembered that satisfied employees are not necessarily the same as engaged employees. A coffee machine or massage at work can provide satisfied employees but doesn’t necessarily provide engaged employees. To get engaged employees the focus areas should be:
- To have a credible and empathetic leadership
- To treat the staff well and give them reasonable tasks
- The relationship between managers and employees