The Link between Customer Engagement and Employee Engagement

michael.pngEngagement (customer or employee) is the result of having an INTRINSIC MOTIVATION to interact. We are intrinsically motivated to to engage in activities that make us feel 3 things: competent, autonomous, and socially valued (Self Determination Ryan, Deci 2000)
Following this logic, I would hypothesize:
1) CX improves when employees have an intrinsic motivation to engage with the customers.
2) Employees will be intrinsically motivated to engage with customers if doing so gives them a sense of competency, autonomy, and social value.


8th Grade explanation (please bear with me here :))

When you choose to do things with a company, you are engaging with them. If you are a customer, it’s called customer engagement. If you are an employee, it’s called employee engagement.

Everyone really wants to “engage”, or do things for 3 reasons: Competency, autonomy, and social value.

First, Let’s talk about competency. We are attracted to actions that make us feel smart, or like an expert, i.e., competent. For example, a customer might spend time reading reviews so she can purchase the best product. An employee might want to spend extra time tweaking a customer review page so that customers can go through the reviews quickly and easily, bringing them closer to making a decision to buy. It’s really just about getting that feeling of competency. The customer feels savvy because they made the best purchase, and will likely return. If the employee is able to read the metrics, she can see that her modifications increased purchases by 50%. She might then try the same modifications on other pages. If the employee hadn’t spent that extra time tweaking the site, the customer might have left the site to read reviews and purchase from the competition.

People also want to do things where they have a choice, are in charge, i.e., have a feeling of autonomy. For a customer, this means they might want to be left alone to browse through items, and not be bothered by a sales person or a chat bot. For an employee, having autonomy might mean that they create an “Employee Picks” page, where they list their top 10 favorite items for sale, without any influence from their company. In both cases, the customer and employee are engaged in actions where they have choice and independence.

Finally, people also like to do things that make them feel valued, important, or special, giving them social status or social capital. A customer might spend extra money on a name brand if they feel it might send a message to other people. An employee might go out of their way to bring a high-end brand name item that is on sale to a customer along with the regularly-priced item that they came to purchase. The employee might whisper that that the sale actually starts tomorrow but they will do a favor for this customer because they are special. The employee feels a sense of power by offering a discount, and valued because he has a following of regular customers that ask for him by name.

In all of these examples, people are intrinsically motivated to take action, i.e., engage, based on how competent that action makes them feel, how much autonomy they feel they have while engaging in that action, and how socially valued they feel as a result of the action.

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