The Evolution of Customer Engagement (And How It’s Changing Everything)

How do you measure customer engagement? If you’re like most marketers, it’s all about the revenue. And while revenue is important, much of what we think about customer engagement is changing considerably.

For example, according to a recent report by eMarketer, most executives look at metrics like clicks, conversions, shares and traffic as prime indicators – but these metrics can’t really measure engagement per se and nor can they measure a customer’s satisfaction with the service they received.

In fact, just look at how marketers view the shifting customer service landscape:



Nearly half of those surveyed felt that they needed to better align with sales and support to deliver a complete customer experience. But how exactly do you do this? Looking at three of the more considerable metrics on the chart above reveals some insights when it comes to personalization, filtering and what information is collected about customers (and what information they choose to share).

The Signal-to-Noise Ratio

It’s evident from the graphic that customers are now available and open to receiving information than ever before. But for the uninitiated company, this doesn’t mean simply “throw out all the advertising you can at them and hope some of it sticks.” People are tired of being marketed to like brainless zombies, and instead want their business to be valued. They want to share their experiences with friends on social media and rave about the latest deals or what fantastic service they got.

BUT – and this is a big one – customers don’t want to be babysat. They don’t want to be reminded for the umpteenth time to leave a review about the cat litter they just bought. Nor do they want to be doggedly followed from site to site showing ads for that lingerie they were looking at. They want less noise and more tailored offers, personalized to their tastes.

Importance Versus Satisfaction

In customer service, a lot of effort goes into explaining (and looking for ways to create) “memorable moments”. These are moments where the customer shopping experience was so good/timely/affordable that they can’t help but remember it.

Now, it’s important to note that a customer isn’t going to have a memorable experience every single time they shop. But looking at these experience (and their relative levels of importance) is a good way to set and manage customer experiences.





Imagine for a moment if expectations were low, but experience was high. A customer might remember that moment, right? And conversely, if expectations were high and experience low – a customer will definitely remember it – and likely tell others.

Being able to accurately pinpoint where (on the map) the customer interacts with the company and how to make these points as even as possible is the “sweet spot” every company – whether you’re selling lingerie, or cat litter – needs to aim for.

Physical Versus Emotional Variables

There are a lot of core physical variables that customers look for no matter what they’re buying. Things like:

  • Functionality (does it work as intended)
  • Time (is it easy to set up/use)
  • Attractiveness / Cleanliness
  • Environment (the ambience of the store / website)

These are all physical points that you can control to some extent. Interjecting emotional value into physical points broadens the overall customer experience into so much more. Love it or hate it, you know when you’re entering a Hollister store. The dark lights, the music, and even the smell.

That’s not to say that all customer experiences should be 100% sensory only. But making them feel things in connection to shopping online (the excitement of getting a branded package from, for instance), greatly heightens their satisfaction and in effect, doing business with you.

Tying Customer Experiences to Measurable Goals

Here’s the real question: How do you measure something as intangible as customer experience? Sure, the aforementioned metrics are a good place to start, as is overall customer satisfaction levels –but they don’t paint a complete picture.

It’s vital when considering customer experiences as a whole that you look at the areas where improvements can always be made – such as:

  • How easy it is to find information
  • How to get help when they need it
  • How their personal data is being collected and used
  • Appealing, interesting content




This marketing matrix, from the Customer Experience (Spain) shows how you can tie those improvements to overall goals to make real progress toward your customer engagement improvement initiatives. This will give you concrete milestones to work from as you keep improving your process. It won’t happen overnight, but gradually, you’ll be able to see impactful improvements to metrics like time-on-site, lower bounce rates, social shares and other measurable points.

And if you’re not getting the kind of results you’d hoped for, don’t be afraid to make changes and shift with the changing customer experience tides. People are rightfully expecting a lot more out of the companies they’re most loyal to, but companies aren’t afraid to take some risks and step up to the place to align themselves with their customers’ needs too.

The bottom line is always going to be to look at what your data is telling you. Draw meaningful conclusions, but don’t doggedly cling to it. We’re all human, and sometimes unpredictable and wavering in what we really want from a brand.

But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In an August 2015 survey from Ovum and Opinium Research LLP, nearly 81% of the customers surveyed reported that the issue [which would give them the greatest positive experience with a brand] would be to simply have their questions answered. That’s not asking for a lot, is it? They’ve set the bar incredibly low – presenting the perfect opportunity for smart companies to not just meet their expectations but exceed them.

The Truth About Cloud-Based vs Standard POS Systems

You’ve most likely heard of “the cloud.” In its simplest definition it’s the place where data is stored.

When evaluating any type of point-of-sale system, you have the option to store data in a main computer that’s perhaps linked to several checkout terminals, or you can store data in a main computer off-site hosted and maintained by a third party service. This is called a cloud-based POS system, and they are increasing in popularity.

When most people think about cloud-based point of sale systems, they think of a system that have a virtual web back end for management and reporting. Most of these systems run in IPads or Android tablets. For the sake of this article, this is type of cloud system we will be addressing. Many of these systems have a very low cost barrier to entry. Is it really worth following the trend of moving away from a standard POS system to use a cloud-based one? Although there can be some advantages to the cloud, here’s the truth about making the switch that you may not have considered.

Data Ownership

Your agreement with many cloud point of sale software systems includes verbiage that makes the Point of Sale Company the owner of the data, or at least gives them full rights to your data to sell it to third parties. It is the rule and not the exception among cloud-based point of sale companies to sell your data.


Many of today’s cloud systems are running on tablets with low memory requiring constant communication with cloud services for continuous operation. In side by side tests performed by many business owners and dealers, traditional on premise systems simply outperform cloud-based systems regarding speed of service, and speed equals money in typical businesses. This makes sense considering that much of the data required to operate these systems is in the cloud and not on location. Also, the consumer grade hardware used for many of these applications is not built for speed in a commercial environment.


Because most cloud-based point of sale systems are based on consumer tablets without multiple ports necessary for reliable operation, peripherals like printers, barcode scanners, cash drawers, etc., as well as network communications are typically run on Bluetooth or Wifi. This becomes the Achilles heel of these systems. These wireless technologies simply cannot match the reliability of a traditional wire to keep your business running. After all isn’t running your business what this is all about?


The cloud moves computing workloads off-site and mobilizes data on rented space on a giant server. Most cloud-based POS systems maintain private cloud systems that are typically in several geographic locations. A traditional POS system is housed in a back office where you manage your own in house security and data back up. If you use a cloud-based system you have to depend on others, meaning you have to trust who you are using to make sure they are providing high-end security and back up services.

Internet Connection

Using a standard POS system does not require an internet connection, but using a cloud-based system does. If your internet goes down, chances are your business goes down, and you could be missing out on sales. However, there are some cloud systems that can store some internal memory. This memory can store some transactions until you can get back up online, but who wants to take this chance?

Also, what happens if you have a system that is dependent on communication with other stations in the network? Such is the case in table service restaurants where a table stored on one station may need to be recalled at another. In this case, a simple network outage could take the business down, or at least leave it crawling at a snail’s pace. No one can ever predict how long an outage will be.


When you consider the just speed of service and the possible down time risk that comes with a true cloud-based point of sale system, the costs can easily mount up to cost much more than the price of simply operating a standard system.

So if you’re considering moving to a cloud-based POS system make sure you consider security concerns, internet connection, reliability, speed, data ownership, and cost effectiveness. The truth may be that a standard POS system is still the better choice for your business. Many people want a cloud-based system until they get one.