Customer Engagement is not a shoot from the hip matter – even if many organizations approach it that way. It can take almost as much time and effort in planning as implementing.
Okay I know what you are saying. Planning may not seem like an exciting topic to many and at times it truly is un-exciting. What is exciting is the results that come from planning. Notice I say results of Planning and not the results of a Plan.
“Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable” Dwight D. Eisenhower
This is true in most areas even when it comes to Customer Engagement. I won’t go into this is in detail but there are some important points to cover. To do a good job of planning the process requires us to think deeply about a topic. Planning is considering many different facts, options, opinions and possible outcomes.
The research and the thinking deeply and the knowledge acquired do not go away at the end of the planning process. The knowledge gained can be used again and again, for this plan and the next. It will also prove valuable when the plan has to change because of external events. And there are always external events that change our plans. Thus planning is more important than any one plan.
In terms of Customer Engagement specifically, doing the work of planning builds up our knowledge of the customer their personalities, preferences, needs and wants. It is based on market research, conversations with prospects and existing customers, studying competitors and thinking about the customer experience.
This is followed up by more effort to confirm what you have learned and to test the customer engagement expectations that will be part of the plan.
Over the course of doing all this something magic happened. You gain a deeper understanding of the customer and how to engage with them throughout the process. You get a snapshot of the customer before they are a customer, while they are in the buying process and after they have bought your product or service. You can see the details and the differences of how you must engage with them at each stage.
Customer Engagement planning, like many other things, the process is as important as the result.