Top Paper Makes the Case for Customer Engagement Metrics

January 22, 2015

“Taking the Customer’s Point-of-View: Engagement or Satisfaction?” by Bobby Calder, Mathew Isaac, and Edward  Malthouse earned the 2014 MSI Top Download Award as the paper most downloaded by marketers and academics in its first year of publication.

While marketers have increasingly focused on customer engagement to complement, or even replace, traditional measures of customer satisfaction, there has been little agreement on how to employ it as a marketing metric. In their report, Calder, Isaac, and Malthouse develop a model for measuring engagement and demonstrate via two large-scale surveys that engagement and satisfaction are each uniquely and incrementally predictive of different kinds of consumption behaviors.

Overall, the authors suggest that while satisfaction is a better indicator for consuming a product or service when a collection of alternatives is being evaluated (as in the decision to repurchase), engagement is a better indicator that customers will consume a product or service with greater frequency and intensity.

As an example, they point to Facebook. For 2011, Facebook had a relatively low satisfaction score (66/100 in an American Customer Satisfaction Index study), yet in terms of the amount of time people spend on social media, it is dominant.

“Facebook may be high on engagement, which translates into heavy usage, but low in other factors that affect satisfaction, such as unhappiness with Facebook’s privacy policy,” Calder and colleagues conclude. “As a result, Facebook may be vulnerable even though it is highly engaging. Scenarios like this underscore the need to look at engagement as well as satisfaction in order to fully assume the customer’s point-of-view.”

Download full paper
Taking the Customer’s Point-of-View: Engagement or Satisfaction?
Bobby J. Calder, Mathew S. Isaac, and Edward C. Malthouse (2013)

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