Customer Engagement vs. Customer Service in CRM: Defining the Difference

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The idea for this post came to me when I stumbled across a great piece on the Gartner blog, which was also the first time I found out that Gartner has a blog. Learn something new every day! I know Gartner well as a company that produces analytic reports on the health and welfare of the technology sector. And I know a lot of people  who breathlessly await the publication of Gartner's Magic Quadrants (let's refer to them as MQs henceforth to make my typing life easier) to see if their products achieved that accolade. Which CRM solutions are listed in that prime MQ realty? Which accounting software systems find their names in that coveted MQ position?

But I've digressed. The topic at hand is the difference between Customer Engagement and Customer Service in CRM, regardless of which CRM system it is. Now some may say that it's merely a semantic difference. I'd say it's more of an attitudinal difference. Engagement (to me) implies a deeper level of interaction with the customer. One reason that I stopped to read the Gartner article in the first place is that here at Altico we recently changed some of our team members' titles, from Account Manager to Engagement Manager. And we no longer have Professional Services Team meetings, we have Engagement Team Meetings. As a lover of words and a person who believes, truly believes, that words matter, I applauded that change.

You might ask, why would a title matter that much? In fact, a lot of companies are doing away with titles. Well, it's kind of like dress codes. Some people swear that they're more motivated and productive when they "dress up" for work, even people who work remotely from home. So maybe clothing matters. And maybe posture, too. And title? Well, if your title is "Lowest Person on the Totem Pole," would you feel respected? Would you feel like putting in overtime, or coming up with innovative ideas that might help the company at which you work? I doubt it. People tend to become what they are labelled. I'll bet if your title was "Chief Innovator" you'd spend your entire day at least attempting to come up with terrific new ideas.

So back once again to Engagement versus Service.  Finally, I'm going to return to the Gartner article which was actually entitled: "All that a CIO needs to know about CRM was said already by the Dalai Lama,"  written by Michael Maoz, a research vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner Research who focuses on CRM ,among other things. Maoz discusses 3 poignant quotes from the Dalai Lama and how they apply to CRM.  But before he even gets there, right in the first paragraph, he mentions that he is about to publish the "Customer Engagement Center Magic Quadrant 2014...formerly known as the CRM Customer Service Contact Center MQ." And that's when my light bulb lit up.

Here are the 3 thoughts Maoz presented:

1) " much as we might like, we cannot control all of the variables or conditions in the world."

2) " Everything rests on the tip of motivation."

3)  ” The true value of an action is not measured by whether it is successful or not, but in the motivation behind it.”

Read the article. It's quite enlightening (pun intended).  I think we've covered the ground pretty well. The best CRM systems are those that provide not just sales and marketing automation, but the ones that provide tools for Customer Engagement. That third leg of the CRM stool is paramount. And guess what! I believe, having lived and breathed Microsoft Dynamics CRM now for many years, that Microsoft's CRM solution is motivated by Microsoft's desire to produce the best results for its users. 

P.S. We are at or 508-485-5588

By Marcia Nita Doron, Altico Advisors, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner serving Massachusetts (MA) and beyond.


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