I bet you’re a little leery about this blog based on the title. Hang in there with me, and you’ll see where I’m going with it.

Think about this. Your friend just visited a new restaurant in town. You’re curious to know her thoughts on how it was. So you ask her. Her response is this, “It was satisfactory.” Now, what are you thinking? Would you rush out and try that restaurant based on her review? I bet not. Then why do companies focus on customer satisfaction? No customer’s goal is just to be “satisfied.” In fact, satisfaction is just the baseline for a customer to even contemplate trying a brand again. There’s no doubt that you have to, at a minimum, satisfy your customers — but that shouldn’t be your goal. So stop focusing on satisfaction.

And, while you are at it, stop focusing on loyalty, too. Yes, I said that. It’s great you’ve developed a loyalty program that gets your customer to purchase from you again and again. But are repeat purchases all you care about? What if those customers feel trapped and don’t feel like they have another choice? What are you going to do when a new competitor shows up that provides them with a better alternative? Your repeat purchases will be out the window.

So what’s the true goal? It’s engagement! Engagement is defined as “emotional involvement or commitment.” Isn’t that what you really want? Customers who aren’t just satisfied; they aren’t just loyal; they’re brand evangelists! They can’t stop talking about you. In fact, they take it as a personal affront when someone chooses a competitor brand. Ask any guy in Texas about his YETI cooler or tumbler and you better just take a seat, because he’s going to go on and on. And — just to be fair — ask any woman who shops through Stitch Fix and you’ll get a similar response (myself included). Think about the impact of those brand evangelists. Not only does an evangelist amplify every dollar you spend on marketing, but if a competitor comes around with a different offering, your evangelists aren’t going to be easily stolen. And, if fact, they’ll likely come to your defense to help keep others from defecting.

So stop thinking about satisfaction and loyalty only, and focus on engagement. It truly matters!

Now, I’m curious to hear how your company engages customers. What can you do to improve your customers’ experience so they’re truly engaged with your brand? Do you have a plan that’s working? What are your thoughts on the engagement experience? Do you agree or disagree on that it should be the focus? I want to hear from you!

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