Getting people within your organization engaged - that has been the common application for the Hierarchy of Engagement. However, in a recent presentation at Walker's Fall Forum, I considered it's application externally, with customers.
I first asked myself what we want people to think or say at each level. Here's what I came up with:
Awareness - our company really listens to customers.
Understanding - acting on customer insights improves our business.
Belief - this makes sense and I believe the programs we have in place are effective.
Action - I will use customer insights to make better decisions and improve the business.
Then I thought, what would we want our customers to think or say at each level if they were truly engaged in our strategies. This what I came up with:
Awareness - this company really listens to customers.
Understanding - they tell me how they will put my insights to use.
Belief - I believe they really care - they engage with me and act upon my insights.
Action - I will continue to give them my business and will speak highly of them.
I don't know why, but I was a little surprised at how well the hierarchy applies to customers. I suppose the simplicity of this framework as broader applications than I originally thought.
The point is -- if we want customer initiatives to prompt action, internally or externally, stakeholders must be aware of the initiatives, understand them and believe in them first. Then action and results will follow.