McKinsey recently published a great article on customer engagement and customer retention. 

Companies need an integrated view of Customer Engagement

The authors argue that "In today’s marketing environment, companies will be better off if they stop viewing customer engagement as a series of discrete interactions and instead think about it as customers do: a set of related interactions that, added together, make up the customer experience. That perspective should stimulate fresh dialogue among members of the senior team about who should design the overall system of touch points to create compelling customer engagement."

Agreed.  The report is titled "We are all marketers now."  Another title could have been: "We are all user interaction designers now."  User experience and interaction design professionals are doing for applications exactly what McKinsey is suggesting needs to happen for an organization.  As organizations' interactions with their customers are increasingly mediated through software, there is a precedence and convergence here.

Who owns customer engagement?

The authors argue that everyone in the company should be focused on customer engagement and that the marketing team should own and be held responsbile for the cross-company customer engagement strategy and results.

Everyone does need to be in the customer service business and Someone does need to own customer engagement.  I can see that being Marketing.  Some of our customers have designated a VP of Customer or else the VP of Customer Service has stepped up to own this and be the internal voice of the customer.   Phil Verghis' Verghis Group has done a lot of great work and training here.

You've got to measure.

"A comprehensive strategy for engaging customers .... rarely emerges and, if one does, there’s often no system for executing it or measuring its performance."

"Given the speed of information sharing today, constant monitoring and adaptation—indeed, continuous improvement of the sort that came to the operations world long ago—is bound to infiltrate marketing and grow in importance."

I couldn't have said it better!  Some of the Apptegic team got their start building solutions for IT Operations. Business executives asked us to build a solution that could give them constant monitoring, measurement, and improvement of their customer engagement.  So that is what we built.