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5 Questions with Dr. Gupta from Burke Institute

August 11, 2017 11:03AM

Dr. Kunal Gupta is the Senior Vice President at Burke Institute and is one of the leading authorities in customer engagement and experience. His past experience comes from a diverse range of industries, including technology, packaged goods, financial services, pharmaceuticals, and technology. Dr. Gupta will be speaking at AMA Minnesota’s event, Burke Research Seminar: Designing and Managing Best-in-Class Customer Engagement Programs, on September 26. He will discuss how to succeed in this research process, from setting goals, to customer journey mapping.

We asked Dr. Gupta five questions about managing customer engagement.

While customer engagement and customer experience are different concepts, what commonalities do they share?
The inconsistent use of these terms has added to confusion about similarities and differences in the concepts of customer experience and customer engagement. The way we look at it at Burke, favorable customer experiences are delivered during individual customer interactions, which collectively should lead to the state of customer engagement. An engaged customer is one that has a beyond-functional relationship with the provider – e.g. more than a price based relationship. It is also important to recognize the role of customer tenure in influencing customer engagement – e.g. it is difficult to expect engagement from a new customer.

Businesses get returning customers from having positive past experiences. Why would the myth, “Customers want to have a relationship with the firm” be a false statement?  
Businesses often make the mistake of assuming loyalty from their customer as a 0/1 switch – either you are loyal, or you are not. In reality, customers exhibit polygamous (vs. monogamous) loyalty – i.e. they can exhibit loyalty to multiple providers at the same time. It therefore becomes even more imperative to foster more favorable levels of customer engagement, so as to get a higher share of the customer’s wallet.

Is there a standard journey mapping method that is typically used to better understand the customer experience and brand touchpoints? Does the mapping process vary based on different industries and customers?
The short answer is that there is not one standard customer journey map across customer types, customer experiences, and industries. A useful customer journey map should be customized by customer type, journey type, and by the specific consumption experience.

What are some differences between creating customer engagement programs for B2B markets versus B2C?
B2B and B2C are inherently different consumption experiences. For instance, customers are more price sensitive in B2C, while relationships with the service provider are more critical in a B2B setting. Similarly, the brand appeal means less in most B2B settings. Marketers need to understand these important differences, and use them in designing their marketing strategy, as well as their measurement programs.

What makes Burke Institute unique in creating customized marketing seminars, compared to its competitors?
The Burke Institute has a unique position. We combine academic rigor with industry expertise by canvassing the industry for best practices, sharing internal R&D efforts, and applying the day-to-day of marketing research and insights techniques based on hundreds of client studies and millions of interviews each year.