Continuous Customer Engagement

Sandy Carter General Manager Ecosystem Development and Social Business Evangelist, IBM

Posted on April 2nd 2014

Continuous Customer Engagement

I was reading last night about engagement. In my book “Get Bold” we defined engagement as the emotional connection with your client or employee, usually created by exceptional experiences that are integrated, interactive, and identifying.

A Social Business connects people to expertise. It connects individuals whether customers, partners, or employees as networks of people to generate new sources of innovation, foster creativity, and establish greater reach and exposure to new business opportunities. It establishes a foundational level of trust across these business networks and thus a willingness to openly share information, developing a deeper sense of loyalty among customers and employees. It empowers these networks with the collaborative, gaming, and analytical tools needed to engage each other and creatively solve business challenges.

engagement contin

Enagement is a great goal, but Continuous Customer Engagement is the next turn of the crank. It is about systematically interpreting and evolving a comprehensive understanding of an individual in order to engage that individual in a productive manner in any brand interaction.

The word “productive” is used very intentionally. As marketers extend their focus into customer experience and engagement, that idea of service is critical.

An offer may indeed be the right action in some cases. However, in other situations, the customer may be seeking information or struggling to accomplish a task. Marketing organizations in the leading companies that we’ve evaluated are differentiating themselves with their ability to interpret the customer’s need and determine the best possible action to take at any point in time and at any stage in the customer lifecycle.

Continuous Customer Engagement Rules: 

Those companies that practice continuous customer engagement have a set of rules.

  • First, they break the typical silos and barriers to that get in the way of being customer focused and treating customers more holistically. The expand the traditional aperture of marketing and think about how they will serve best serve the customer.
  • Second, they are beyond using “omni-channel” as a hype term. They are focused on building and creating a system of engagement that integrates and enables the the channels with rich, contextual customer insight and decisioning capabilities that enable them to listen and interact with customers much more effectively and dynamically.
  • Third, they foster a customer-centric and authentic culture that focuses on establishing a win:win with the customer. These marketers focus on helping the rest of the company understand and empathize with the customer. They also work to ensure that the company has a clearly establish set of core values and then lives by those values in every way that it operates.

Does your company practice continuous customer engagement?


Sandy Carter

General Manager Ecosystem Development and Social Business Evangelist, IBM

Sandy Carter is responsible for IBM’s worldwide focus on building ecosystems around core growth areas: Cloud, Mobile, Social, Big Data and Analytics.   The ecosystem, which includes partners, developers, ISVs, entrepreneurs, influencers, academics and venture capitalists, drives approximately one-third of IBM’s revenue and is a critical element in IBM's overall strategy.  She is also responsible for the award-winning Global Entrepreneur Program which has delivered over 2,000 mentors to help startups and entrepreneurs expand and grow.   

Previously, Sandy was IBM Vice President, Social Business Evangelism and Sales, responsible for setting the direction for IBM’s Social Business initiative, a $200B market opportunity.  A recognized leader in social business, Sandy is an award-winning author of 3 books, including best-selling “Get Bold”, which has been translated into 9 languages.  She was recently named to Forbes Global Top 40 in Marketing and received the Professional Business Women of California (PBWC) Industry Leaders Award, and was named one of the Top 20 Influencers by theCUBE.  A recognized thought leader on Social Media, she’s been named Top 10 in Social Media, Top 50 in Social Business Influencers, and one of the "Ten Most Powerful Women in Tech”.   

Sandy is passionate about women's leadership.  A Founding member of WITI (Women in Technology International), and a member of the WITI Executive Advisory Council, she is the Founder of IBM’s Super Women Group, a community of over 20,000 women worldwide.  She is a member of the American Management Association (AMA) and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Inner Circle.

A graduate of Duke University and Harvard Business School, Sandy has been listed among the 50 most notable people on the Duke University website.


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Posted on April 3rd 2014 at 3:36AM

Good read Sandy. The cost of bad customer experiences is more expensive than the cost of providing good customer service. As per the survey commissioned by RightNow and conducted by Harris Interactive, only 1% of consumers feel their expectations for a good customer experience are always met. As we, in IBM, know and also promote through our values, we believe that Customer Loyalty starts with Us!

Thank you for sharing your perspectives on this interesting topic. Lemme share this blog I wrote on customer loyalty and how I shifted mine, due to inefficient red-tapism.

Posted on April 3rd 2014 at 6:17AM

Thanks Khalid!  Customer Loyalty or as I love to say comes from Customer Love!   Do you love your clients, and if so show it ..... both socially in and in person.  I really do love our clients, and what they are doing to transform their businesses.    Thanks for the reminder on Loyalty as I am a big plus 1 here!
Posted on April 3rd 2014 at 9:38AM

Sandy, great piece. We just launched a new column on employee advocacy that you might enjoy:

Hope to see more of your blog posts up on SMT in the future!

Posted on April 3rd 2014 at 4:24PM

Thanks MJ!     I'll read tonight ...  and I'd love to post more here!