Customer engagement is the topic of the day. With the growing can be reached; it is a process of developing and nurturing rela-
excitement around Web 2.0, how we attract and develop relation- tionships.
ships with our audiences has taken on new imperative. The results in this survey indicate how organisations today are
undertaking this task.
Customer engagement is the best measure of current and future If it isn’t already, we predict that the process of customer engage-
performance; an engaged relationship is probably the only guar- ment will become one of, if not the, central focus of your digital
antee for a return on your organisation’s or your clients’ objectives. activities in the coming years. We hope that you ﬁnd the infor-
The interactive experience that digital media provide has trans- mation provided here valuable as you develop and extend your
formed our ability to engage with our customers and clients. engagement strategies.
Digital media are ﬂexible, offering us opportunities to capture Our ambition is to conduct the online customer engagement
more data, faster than any other medium. But how effective are survey annually in order to provide a valuable benchmark for
we in engaging our customers? How ready are we to exploit our organisations of all kinds to assess their state of readiness and effec-
chosen medium? And what will future customer relationships look tiveness in this area. We welcome your feedback on the survey and
like? These are questions that this report goes some way towards would love to include examples in future reports of how you have
answering. used the data to further your organisational aims.
To further aid our understanding of customer engagement, Lastly, it is essential that I thank my colleagues: Nathalie Roth-
I would like to offer up this deﬁnition: schild, Theresa Clifford and Dave Chaffey, as well as my CEO,
Rob Killick, for his inspiration and support, Eileen Pevreall for her
encouragement and Ashley and Linus at E-consultancy, who made
the survey and this report possible.
The key word here is investment. How do we persuade our cScape Customer Engagement Director
customers that we are worth their time, effort, money and commit- firstname.lastname@example.org
ment? We won’t be able to engage everyone, and we must accept
that those who do engage with us will do so to different degrees * An adaptation of a deﬁnition provided by Ron Shevlin (http://marketingwhims.
and in different ways. Customer engagement isn’t a nirvana that blogspot.com/2006/04/disengaging-from-arfs-deﬁnition-of_05.html)
Customer Experience and Customer view” is frequently beyond reach for reasons This cScape-sponsored Customer Engage- ence and customer engagement even across
Engagement have become increasingly which are explored in this report. ment Report, is based on the ﬁndings existing channels and technologies.
important in recent years because of The challenge of engagement has of a survey carried out in October and The level of customer experience across
growing competition across all sectors and become even greater in the so-called world November 2006. channels is difﬁcult not only to measure,
lower switching costs for customers. If of Web 2.0 where the customer voice is More than 800 respondents, all internet but also to implement. Without the right
people are not getting the kind of service ampliﬁed across the internet more loudly and / or customer experience professionals, kind of cross-channel measurement and
they want, whether online or ofﬂine, then than ever and brands are losing the power both ‘client-side’ and from agencies, benchmarking in place, this is even more
they have never been more inclined to go to dictate their agenda. completed the survey which contained challenging to get right. The difﬁculties
elsewhere. Communication between businesses questions about customer experience meas- encountered vary depending on the size of
For many organisations, effective and customers is now ﬂowing more freely urement, methods of customer engagement organisations.
customer engagement is a prerequisite for in both directions, with organisations and barriers to effective delivery.
customer loyalty and retention. Success under pressure to make sure they are lever- The gap between the aspirations and the
in this area can also drive acquisition as aging new technologies to improve rather The report shows a signiﬁcant gap between reality is caused by barriers which fall into
a result of recommendations from other than tarnish the brand experience. what organisations are aspiring to in order a range of categories, including technical
customers. Emerging digital platforms and tech- to engage their customers and deliver an issues and those relating to company
Increased use of digital channels by nologies now present an unprecedented optimal customer experience, and the culture and leadership.
consumers has presented new challenges opportunity to connect with audiences reality of what they are doing, or are able
for businesses because they need to ensure but, at the same time, there is more oppor- to do, in order to meet these goals. In particular, supplier-side respondents
that they are delivering an online experi- tunity for things to go wrong and for those (generally agencies) believe that there is
ence which is in keeping with their brands mistakes to become public. In the new digital age and the world of Web a lack of boardroom buy-in which causes
and joined-up with what is happening in- It is hoped that this report provides a 2.0, there are more channels available to difﬁculties in delivering the best possible
store or via call centres. useful benchmark for organisations to see engage and communicate with customers. customer experience. Company respond-
A consistent approach and smooth how they compare to their peers and also to But while there is an unprecedented level of ents recognise these issues to a degree, but
execution both online and ofﬂine is there- provide a context for understanding relative opportunity for organisations, the changing it is the agency respondents who see this,
fore crucial for retaining customer loyalty strengths and weaknesses, as well as oppor- landscape also creates new challenges when along with lack of management vision, as
and is also necessary for ensuring that tunities and threats in an exciting age. attempting to create a consistent end-to- being a particular handicap for organisa-
brands are enhanced by a positive experi- Although many organisations are expe- end experience. tions.
ence rather than damaged by inconsisten- riencing difﬁculties in optimising customer While relatively new technologies and
cies. experience, this study is intended to be a features such as Ajax and user-generated
Of course, this is easier said than done positive report about the aspirations and content are either being used or are “on the
because it often involves so many different opportunities for companies. radar”, the reality is that many organisa-
departments and functions within organi- tions are struggling to organise themselves
sations. The nirvana of a “single customer to deliver a basic level of customer experi-
Half of company respondents say they nies and as useful by 47%. However, 24%
regularly work in cross-functional teams. do not believe that facilitating UGC is
Just under half of company respondents Agencies believe that companies, gener- important.
said that they only occasionally measure ally speaking, rarely do this. In terms of The biggest ﬁve barriers to a magniﬁcent
customer experience (“and not as often as company responses, 5% said they were In terms of what companies are “doing customer experience are deemed to be:
they should”), with a further 9% saying that seamless, with 45% working in cross-func- now” to engage their customers, email
they never measure this at all. tional teams “with a few gaps”. Some 34% (78%), natural search (65%) and paid 1) Lack of resources / time (regarded
31% do this “whenever they can”, while a said that they only worked in cross-func- search (62%) are the channels or technolo- as being a “great barrier” by 66% of
further 13% say they are evangelists. tional teams “occasionally”, with a further gies most commonly utilised. company respondents)
14% saying they are not joined up at all. 2) Disconnected systems & technologies
Two thirds of in-house respondents said However, only 2% of agency respond- In terms of what is being planned in the (50%)
that their organisations measure customer ents said the majority of their clients were next 12 months, user-generated content 3) Lack of skills and training (38%)
satisfaction on a regular basis, whether seamless and only 17% said there were typi- (42%), Rich Internet Applications / Ajax 4) Lack of ﬁnances (37%)
weekly (12%), monthly (18%), quarterly cally just “a few gaps”. About half (49%) / Flash (36%) and Corporate Blogs (35%) 5) Lack of regular processes and / or
(20%) or yearly (16%). said that the majority of clients only occa- are the most likely to be on the company suitable methodology (36%)
Some 30% said that they never, or very sionally worked in such teams, with 27% agenda in the next 12 months.
infrequently, measure satisfaction. saying that their clients are not joined up For comparison, ﬁgure 34 shows the
at all. There is an eagerness to embrace new top ﬁve barriers as perceived by supplier
channels & technologies (Web 2.0-type respondents:
Half of respondents believe that personal- technologies and innovations) in spite of
ised experiences are essential for audience difﬁculties in getting some fundamen- 1) Lack of resources / time (64%)
engagement, with a further 44% believing tals in place in order to build a seamless 2) Lack of skills & training (56%)
There is a gap between what organisa- they are useful. customer experience (for reasons explained 3) Lack of boardroom buy-in (49%)
tions realise is important and what they Despite the perceived importance of in the “barriers” section below). 4) Organisational culture (44%)
are actually doing in practice. personalisation, 37% of company respond- 5) Lack of regular processes and / or
ents are not providing personalised online Companies are most likely to segment their suitable methodology (44%)
64% of company respondents believe that experiences at all. customers according to the value to their
joined-up online and ofﬂine experiences are organisation (44%), demographics (43%) It is apparent from this analysis that lack
essential for engaging with their audience. The vast majority of company respondents and customer lifecycle (39%) of boardroom buy-in and organisational
However, some 60% of companies believe that frank and open discussions culture are seen to be more pressing issues
are either not very advanced at mapping about products and services are essential by agency respondents than by companies
customer experiences and identifying or useful (50% and 46% respectively). themselves.
touch-points (36%), or admit they have to The difference is particularly note-
start looking at this because they are not Soliciting user-generated content (UGC) worthy for lack of boardroom buy-in, with
doing it all (24%). is regarded as essential by 29% of compa- 49% of agency respondents believing this
to be a major barrier compared to 30% of ents. The differences make for interesting
company respondents. reading and together the streams give a
More than 800 respondents took part in useful “state-of-the-nation” picture of
From the company perspective, the greatest the 2007 Online Customer Engagement where companies are at generally.
barriers to investing in technology that survey, sponsored by cScape. The exact
improves customer engagement are: ﬁgure was 805.
1) Lack of implementation skills
(perceived as a great barrier by 37% of
company respondents) The 800+ respondents were fairly evenly
2) Lack of management vision (36%) split between “client-side” employees (i.e.
3) Inability to prove ROI (35%) those working as part of in-house teams)
and those who work for agencies and
The agencies see the same factors as the top consultants (i.e. suppliers of some descrip-
three barriers but in a different order, and tion). For the record, there were 391 in-
to a different degree [ﬁgure 36]: house respondents and 414 respondents
from the second category.
1) Lack of management vision (57%) For the purpose of the two streams of
2) Inability to prove ROI (55%) analysis contained within this report, in-
3) Lack of implementation skills (39%) house or client-side responses are described
as company ﬁndings (meaning organisations
Agencies are perhaps more aware of lead- generally, including government bodies
ership issues holding back client organisa- and charities, but excluding suppliers). The
tions than companies are themselves. data from agencies, suppliers and consult-
ants is described as agency ﬁndings.
Lack of management vision is seen as a The questions asked of respondents were
particularly major problem by agencies, positioned slightly differently depending
cited as a great barrier by 57% of supplier- on which of these two streams they fell
side respondents. into. Individuals working for companies
answered questions about their own organi-
sations. The agency respondents were asked
to answer questions on the basis of what
“the majority of their clients” were doing.
The results for each question are split
according to the two streams of respond-
Respondents were asked if they were based
in the UK, rest of Europe, North America
or “Other”. About 70% of respondents are
based in the UK.
For the main analysis, we have included
all respondents together, irrespective of
location. There is not enough non-UK
data to make robust comparisons between
different geographies although, at an indic-
ative level, the answers point to more simi-
larities than differences across the different
regions. (See ﬁgures 2 and 3)
We believe that company revenue informa-
tion is the most enlightening area for cross-
tabulation and have included analysis by
annual revenue (for the company results)
in the main body of the report. We have
not included this slice of the supplier-side
responses as we do not feel it adds as much
value. The respondents are nicely split
across the different turnover bands, which
enables a meaningful analysis of the differ-
ences in results depending on company
turnover. (See ﬁgures 4 and 5)
(See ﬁgures 6 and 7). Cross-tabulation by
number of employees yields similar results
to analysis by company turnover, as one
would expect. An analysis of the whole
survey using this cross-tabulation is avail-
able from E-consultancy on request.
respondents. (This difference between the satisfaction on a regular basis, whether
two streams is also apparent with regard weekly (12%), monthly (18%), quarterly
to the extent of measurement of customer (20%) or yearly (16%) [see ﬁgure 10].
satisfaction, customer loyalty and likeli- 30% said that they never, or very infre-
hood to recommend) quently, measure satisfaction.
Just under half of company respondents Organisations are more likely to measure
said that they only occasionally measure a) The client-side respondents satisfaction than customer loyalty or likeli-
customer experience (“and not as often as participating in this survey are more hood to recommend.
they should”), with a further 9% saying that bought into the importance of The slicing of this data by turnover
they never measure this at all. [See ﬁgure customer experience measurement than [table 2] shows that smaller organisations
8 below]. “the average company”. (under £50 million turnover) are the most
There is a marked discrepancy between b) Companies are not measuring the likely to be the ones that very infrequently
what in-house respondents say about the customer experience as much as they or never measure satisfaction, particularly
extent of their customer experience meas- think they are. in the £10-£50 million category.
urement and what supplier-side respond- c) Companies are measuring customer Answering on behalf of their clients
ents believe is the case for the majority of experience more than agencies give [ﬁgure 11], agency respondents believe that
their clients. them credit for. measurement of customer satisfaction is less
A total of 44% of company respond- widespread. The number of these agency
ents say they are either “evangelists” in Table 1, on page 10, shows that organisa- respondents who said that customer satis-
this respect (13%) or that they measure tions with a turnover of more than £150m faction was measured very infrequently, or
customer experience whenever money and are the most likely to be customer experi- never, amounted to 45% (compared to the
time allow them to (31%). ence evangelists. Just under 70% of compa- 30% ﬁgure for the in-house respondents).
However, only about a quarter of nies in the £10-£50 million category admit
supplier-side respondents (26%) put the to not measuring customer experience as
majority of their clients into these two much as they should.
categories (6% and 19% respectively), with There is typically more commitment to Company respondents are less likely to
two thirds believing that their clients “only the customer experience as companies get measure customer loyalty than they are
occasionally measure customer experience larger. Of course, the larger the company, to measure satisfaction. Just over half of
and not as often as they should” [see ﬁgure the greater the challenges are in terms of respondents measure loyalty regularly
9 below]. providing a seamless end-to-end experience. (either on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or
The agency responses are useful because yearly basis) compared to two thirds who
they give a good indication of what organi- measure customer satisfaction regularly.
sations are typically doing. There are three
possible conclusions to draw from this Two thirds of in-house respondents said
difference between company and agency that their organisations measure customer
All the Whenever Occasionally, Never Don’t know / Total
time, we’re we can but if we’re not relevant
evangelists (money honest not as
and time much as we
<£10 million 7.69% (5) 30.77% (20) 52.31% (34) 9.23% (6) 0% (0) 65
£10-50 million 3.85% (1) 19.23% (5) 69.23% (18) 7.69% (2) 0% (0) 26
£50-150 million 3.03% (1) 42.42% (14) 51.52% (17) 3.03% (1) 0% (0) 33
>£150 million 15.58% (12) 31.17% (24) 45.45% (35) 7.79% (6) 0% (0) 77
Not relevant / 21.74% (10) 32.61% (15) 32.61% (15) 10.87% (5) 2.17% (1) 46
Total 29 78 119 20 1 247
Overall 12% 32% 48% 8% 0% 100%
Over the last few years, companies have
sought to measure more than just satisfac-
tion and loyalty, often because they believe
that there are other metrics which are more
closely aligned with their business goals.
As well as measuring customer loyalty,
which is inextricably linked to customer
retention, some companies are also meas-
uring, among other things, the likelihood
of their customers to recommend their
product or services.
A total of 44% of company respondents
regularly evaluate their customers’ likeli-
hood to recommend. A similar number
(45%) never, or very infrequently, do this.
This is becoming an increasingly impor-
tant metric now that customers have
unprecedented ability to spread the word
either positively or negatively about a
There used to be an adage that a
customer would tell several people if they
had a good experience but would complain
to quite a few more if they had a nega-
tive one. In the world of viral email, blog-
ging and social networks, your customers
(whether evangelists or severely disgruntled
brand terrorists) can reach thousands, even
millions, of other people.
Web Analytics is the most commonly
employed method of understanding
customer experience, practised by 70% of Regularly Infrequently Never Total
company respondents [see ﬁgure 16].
The use of web analytics has become <£10 million 66.67% 20.63% 12.7% 63
much more sophisticated in recent years (42) (13) (8)
as ownership has moved from IT depart-
ments to marketers who are using data
and insights to help drive their businesses £10-50 million 64% 32% 4% 25
forward. (16) (8) (1)
More organisations realise the impor-
tance of connecting analytics with the
customer side of the equation, and this £50-150 million 65.62% 28.12% 6.25% 32
trend is underlined by its popularity as a (21) (9) (2)
means of understanding customer experi-
ence across companies of all different sizes
[see table 3]. >£150 million 76.62% 22.08% 1.3% 77
The other most commonly used methods (59) (17) (1)
of understanding customer experience are
Feedback from Customer-facing Staff
(used regularly by 47% of in-house organi- Not relevant / 70.21% 23.4% 6.38% 47
sations), Customer Surveys (43%) and Don’t know (33) (11) (3)
Competitor Monitoring (33%). Usability
Testing is another important area and it is
clear from the verbatim answers that this is Total 171 58 15 244
a widely used method of understanding the
Overall 70% 24% 6% 100%
that lack of resources and organisational
culture can be major stumbling blocks,
agencies believe that there is a lack of skills
The diagram below [ﬁgure 18], created after and experience within organisations.
an analysis of verbatim responses about
difﬁculties and issues relating to the meas- The instability of customers or products is
urement of customer experience, illustrates perceived as more of a barrier by client-side
the variety and extent of problems faced by respondents than by agencies, who do not
organisations. These problems have been see this as a major issue.
categorised into different groups.
There are some important differences
between those barriers highlighted by in-
house organisations and those cited by
supplier-side organisations as key barriers
for their clients.
But ﬁrstly the similarities: There are two It can be concluded from the charts below
areas which are ﬂagged up as key problem that a majority of organisations still need to
areas by both sets of respondents. take some basic steps in order to give them-
Firstly, lack of resources (both budget selves a chance of providing a joined-up
and time) is observed as a major obstacle in and seamless customer experience.
the way of measuring customer experience Some 60% of companies are either not
and is acknowledged both by organisations very advanced at mapping customer experi-
and by agencies. ences and identifying touch-points (36%),
Organisational incoherence, culture or or admit they have to start looking at this
(lack of ) will is another area cited as prob- because they are not doing it yet (24%).
lematic by both sets of respondents, partic- This is clearly an area that companies
ularly for multi-channel organisations must focus on, especially in light of page
that are wrestling with the issue of how to 18 below which highlights that 64% of
measure the experience consistently across respondents believe that joined-up online
different channels. and ofﬂine experiences are essential for
In terms of differences between company engaging with their audiences.
and agency respondents, a lack of skills, Further analysis, speciﬁcally looking at
experience and understanding is a problem those respondents who believe that joined-
area ﬂagged up mainly by agency respond- up online and ofﬂine experiences are an
ents. So while companies and agencies agree essential area, shows that there are similar
proportions of respondents who are either
not very advanced at mapping and identi-
fying touch-points, or not doing it at all.
There is a major difference in responses to
this question depending on whether the
respondents were client-side or supplier-
In terms of company responses, 5% said
they were seamless with 45% working in
cross-functional teams “with a few gaps”.
Some 34% said that they only work in
cross-functional teams “occasionally”, with
a further 14% saying they are not joined
However, only 2% of agency respond-
ents said the majority of their clients were
seamless and only 17% said there were typi-
cally just “a few gaps”. About half (49%)
said that the majority of clients only occa-
sionally worked in such teams, with 27%
saying they are not joined up at all.
In short, there is a lot less red shading in
the agency chart [ﬁgure 22] than there is in
the company chart [ﬁgure 21].
Table 5 below shows that cross-func-
tional co-operation is an issue for compa-
nies of all sizes, although it is the smallest
ones that are most likely to be seamless.
Too many companies have departments
working in silos which makes it difﬁcult
to put customers at the heart of their busi-
Yes, we’re Yes, but we Only We’re not Don’t know / Total
seamless have a few occasionally joined up not relevant
gaps at all
<£10 million 15.38% (10) 43.08% (28) 24.62% (16) 12.31% (8) 4.62% (3) 65
£10-50 million 0% (0) 53.85% (14) 34.62% (9) 11.54% (3) 0% (0) 26
£50-150 million 9.09% (3) 51.52% (17) 33.33% (11) 6.06% (2) 0% (0) 33
>£150 million 0% (0) 45.45% (35) 36.36% (28) 18.18% (14) 0% (0) 77
Not relevant / 0% (0) 40.43% (19) 38.3% (18) 12.77% (6) 8.51% (4) 46
Total 13 113 82 33 7 248
Overall 5% 46% 33% 13% 3% 100%
Of the factors listed below, joined-up
online and ofﬂine experiences are described
as essential by most respondents (64% for
companies and 57% for agencies).
This is a noteworthy ﬁnding in the
context of the sections above where it was
seen that organisations in general are by
no means consistently mapping customer
experiences and identifying touch points,
or working in cross-functional teams.
There is a gap between what organisa-
tions realise is important and what they
are actually doing in practice.
Half of respondents believe that
personalised experiences are essential for
customers, with a further 44% believing
they are useful. This ﬁnding needs to be
seen in the context of section 7.3 below
where it can be seen that 37% of respond-
ents are not personalising the online
customer experience at all.
The vast majority of company respond-
ents also believe that frank and open
discussions about products and services are
essential or useful (50% and 46% respec-
tively). Soliciting user-generated content
(UGC) is regarded as essential by 29% of
companies and as useful by 47%. However,
24% do not believe that facilitating UGC
In terms of what companies are “doing 100
now” to engage their customers, email
(78%), natural search (65%) and paid
search (62%) are the channels or technolo- 80
gies most commonly utilised.
In terms of what is being planned in the 60 100
next 12 months, User-Generated Content
(42%), Rich Internet Applications / Ajax 40 80
/ Flash (36%) and Corporate Blogs (35%)
are the most likely to be on the company 60
Podcasting, Videocasting, Behavioural
Targeting, Contextual Advertising and
RSS are also on the agenda for many
There is an eagerness to embrace new 120
channels and technologies in spite of difﬁ-
culties in getting some fundamentals in
place in order to build a seamless customer
experience (for reasons explained in the
“barriers” section below). 80
Companies are most likely to segment their 20
customers according to the value to their
organisation (44%), demographics (43%)
and customer lifecycle (39%). 0
4) Lack of ﬁnances (37%)
5) Lack of regular processes and / or
suitable methodology (36%)
For comparison, ﬁgure 34 shows the
Figure 33 shows that the biggest ﬁve top ﬁve barriers as perceived by supplier
barriers to a magniﬁcent customer experi- respondents:
ence are deemed to be: 1) Lack of resources / time (64%)
1) Lack of resources / time (regarded as 2) Lack of skills and training (56%)
“great barrier” by 66% of company 3) Lack of boardroom buy-in (49%)
respondents) 4) Organisational culture (44%)
2) Disconnected systems and 4) Lack of regular processes and / or
technologies (50%) suitable methodology (44%)
3) Lack of skills and training (38%)
From the company perspective [ﬁgure 35],
the greatest barriers to investing in tech- 100 0
nology that improves customer experience
1) Lack of implementation skills
(perceived as a barrier by 37% of 120
2) Lack of management vision (36%) 100
3) Inability to prove ROI (35%) 20
The agencies see the same factors as the top 0
three barriers but in a different order, and
to a different degree [ﬁgure 36]:
1) Lack of management vision (57%)
2) Inability to prove ROI (55%)
3) Lack of implementation skills (39%)
As noted in the previous section, agencies
are perhaps more aware of leadership issues 100 0
A B C D E
holding back client organisations than
companies themselves. 80
Lack of management vision is seen as a 60
particularly pressing problem by agencies
[ﬁgure 36], cited as a great barrier by 57%
of supplier-side respondents.
A B C D E