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Kim A. Johnston and Anne B. Lane

Customer environments are characterised by networks of relationships and interactions that give value beyond the exchange of goods and services. This chapter synthesises these networks with traditional approaches to community engagement to present a three-part schema of consumer engagement. The three forms of consumer networks proposed are based on the provision of information by an organisation; consulting with consumers to seek their opinions; and allowing consumers to participate in organisational decision-making. Operationalising consumer engagement via customer networks shows they present unparalleled mechanisms to enhance organisation-customer relationships, as well as challenges to those relationships. Customer networks provide rich sources of information and relational capital on which organisations can draw. They also facilitate entry to organisational decision-making by those beyond the immediate interface with an organisation, including dissenting and dissonant voices. Engagement through customer networks therefore enables interaction and exchange out of which value can be co-created and shared within and beyond customer-organisational relationships. The challenge for organisations is how far they are prepared to go with prioritising the care and nurture of relationships with customers through engagement – maybe even putting long-term relational concerns ahead of short-term marketing objectives.