Satisfaction vs Engagement

This week at KFOG – we’ll get some listeners together after work to talk about radio in general and KFOG specifically. It’s pretty informal, not scientific or a even real “focus group”.

We use these conversations as a starting point for a day of internal dialog about radio in general and the station specifically. I always find it an enlightening and worthwhile experience.

KFOG has been doing this a few times per year for about 11 years and was probably one of the first. Lots of stations do these types of things now.

One of the easy themes to latch on to in these exercises is the level of “satisfaction” exhibited by the participants.

Seems natural enough. In theory – a satisfied listener is a listener who has no motivation to listen to something else.

Not so fast says Brian Manning in this article titled: Measure Engagement, Not Satisfaction

Like I said – we’re not actually “measuring” anything in our little get together, but I think these points Brian makes are valid.

Satisfaction tells you whether or not you’re doing something wrong. It should be the baseline target, not an end in itself.

Just showing up and not pissing off the customer USED to make one a winner. And you can succeed on satisfaction alone. Brian uses the comparison of Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks. Both are successful – Dunkin satisfies – Starbucks ENGAGES.

In radio – take perennial Top 25-54 San Francisco station KOIT. It satisfies (obviously) – but does it ENGAGE?

Why pay attention to engagement? From the article:

Engagement, because it comprises a deeper, more persistent relationship, should be the aspirational goal.

Brian says there are five reasons why measuring engagement is more valuable:

1. Satisfaction is a measurement of past experience, not an indicator of future behavior.

Just because a customer hasn’t had a reason to complain doesn’t mean the relationship will weather a bad experience in the future or a competitor’s enticement.

2. Extremely satisfied customers often act and behave no differently than less satisfied customers.

Researchers at the Gallup Organization have found that extremely satisfied customers of a leading supermarket chain, on average, spend no more than less satisfied customers. It is only when a customer is both extremely satisfied and emotionally attached that purchasing behaviors shift.

3. Engaged customers become the medium for the message.

These passionate advocates actively promote your brand and products through viral and word of mouth marketing, often without realizing they’re doing it.

4. Negative engagement can hurt you more than you know.

Look no further than Sony BMG’s recent spyware troubles, started by a groundswell within an engaged blogosphere. Never mind the consumer boycotts and class action lawsuit, more telling is the fact that a Google Blog Search for “Sony + spyware” returned nearly 35,000 blog posts. That’s the online equivalent of a billboard-sized “Beware of Dog” sign.

5. Engaged customers add more to the bottom line.

Customer Management reports, “Gallup’s research suggests that for all kinds of companies, fully engaged customers — those who score in roughly the upper 15-20 percent on Gallup’s measure of emotional engagement — deliver a 23 percent premium over the average customer in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue and relationship growth.”

Brian closes with this:

I predict an increasing number of companies will follow suit and begin to generate engagement by tapping into the social and technological capabilities of the internet to empower customers.

Being aware of the distinciton between Satisfaction & Engagement can kick the conversation up a notch.

Asking “how can we satisfy listeners?” probably ends with “play the new Gnarles Barkley” or some other variation of “what’s the music test say”.

Asking “how can we more fully engage WITH listeners?” starts off a whole new conversation.

Personally, that’s the question I’m more interested in.

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