The difference between Customer Engagement and Customer Satisfaction

December 1, 2021

What is the difference between Customer Engagement and Customer Satisfaction?

Customer Engagement and Customer Satisfaction

Research conducted on the listening tool “Answer The Public” confirms the users’ confusion when faced with these two topics. In fact, an explanation of the difference between Customer Engagement and Customer Satisfaction is among the most frequent Google searches.
Customer Engagement and Customer Satisfaction are two concepts often used interchangeably in the marketing field, but they actually differ from each other.       
Therefore, it is crucial to understand that the two terms are distinct and cannot be used synonymously. There are, however,  points of contact between them.
So, let’s clarify and dive deeper into the heart of the matter.


By Customer Engagement, we mean the relationship, the connection, and all individual interaction activities through various channels between a company and its customers over time. 
Customer Engagement is a process that begins in the early stages of the customer journey but continues well beyond the sale. It is fundamental to continue to nurture this relationship in view of customer loyalty, aiming to satisfy clients’ needs and avoid an increase in the churn rate.   
Furthermore, Customer Engagement can express itself in different ways. A customer might feel involved with a company only on a cognitive level, for example by associating simple positive considerations with it when interacting with the brand. Companies should instead aim to reach the so-called conative dimension of engagement. This happens when the consumer adopts spontaneous behaviors towards the brand, for example generating specific content (UGC) to share with their community, actively contributing to creating brand value.


Customer Satisfaction, on the other hand, is a metric used to quantify the degree of satisfaction of a customer towards a product/service or brand/company.            
This can be measured after the consumer has actually bought a product in order to understand whether the shopping experience has met his expectations or not and, if so, to what extend.  
Keeping an eye on Customer Satisfaction is crucial for companies that want to survive and stand out in an increasingly dynamic and competitive market. According to research on shopping experiences conducted by Gartner, today 81% of marketers consider customer satisfaction as the main area of ​​competition in their sector.      
Satisfied customers will return to companies that have not disappointed their expectations and will be more likely to interact with them over time. But how to fuel this process?    
This is how we get to the point of contact between customer engagement and customer satisfaction.

Customer Engagement and Customer Satisfaction


We have seen how customer satisfaction can inevitably be measured only after contact with a brand. Thus, all the tools available to improve brand-customer interaction become a great opportunity to please consumers, and they make Customer Satisfaction a consequence of Customer Engagement.
It is no coincidence that today substantial financial resources are allocated to Customer Engagement marketing, as consumers involved in a meaningful and deep relationship with companies will inevitably be more satisfied and loyal over time.     
Research conducted by Nielsen also highlights the importance of building this relationship with consumers. On average, companies lose 10% of customers each year, and acquiring new ones can cost up to five times the amount of spending to maintain existing clients.


Involving customers to achieve their satisfaction today means, above all, being able to offer innovative experiences through multiple channels, both physical and digital.      
The keywords for a successful engagement are personalization, omnichannel and gamification.
91% of customers declare that they are more inclined to purchase from brands that recognize and remember them. They also prefer companies with the ability to involve them in personalized shopping experiences, with one-to-one communication and no longer a many-to-many approach. (Accenture)
Moreover, modern consumers are increasingly demanding, and they expect a prompt response from companies in satisfying their new needs. Among them is searching for information about brands/products or finalizing purchases on an omnichannel basis. Thus, new clients do not prefer a single touchpoint but an experience of contact with companies on both physical and digital levels. In fact, PWC research confirms that the number of companies investing in omnichannel engagement has increased from 20% in 2012 to over 80% today.         
Finally, gamification is a component of Customer Engagement that must not be overlooked in a marketing strategy. The use of game design elements in a non-playful context is increasingly widespread with the aim of engaging customers more and offering them not only a product but also a real experience to remember over time.

Therefore, Customer Engagement and Customer Satisfaction are two crucial metrics, which should not be confused, but deepened to make the most of their characteristics and interaction.    
In the context of digital transformation, also accelerated by the pandemic, implementing an original and innovative engagement strategy that responds to the new needs of consumers means being able to stand out on the market. In this way, it will be possible to offer customers 360° solutions that will take their satisfaction and shopping experience to the next level.

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