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The Hierarchy of Engagement – applied externally

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.

Hierarchy of Engagement


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.

Patrick Gibbons
Principal, SVP

About the Author

Patrick Gibbons

Patrick Gibbons

As Principal and Senior Vice President of Marketing for Walker, Gibbons has global responsibility for definition, branding, and promotion of the company and its solutions. Gibbons has published and/or contributed to a number of articles, papers, and blogs on customer intelligence topics and has a regular column in CRM Magazine. He has been a featured speaker at a wide range of conferences, and has produced a series of educational events for customer experience leaders.

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