What is Customer Obsession? Examples, Importance & Steps
Customer obsession is not just a catchphrase; it’s a way of doing business. It’s a culture where the customer comes first. As prevalent as it is today, it was not always like this.
It all began when the digital revolution caused a massive transformation in the business milieu. The customer realized that he did not have to limit himself to the old brands and could spend his dollar elsewhere. As a result, the old models of doing business became redundant and got rapidly replaced by newer techniques and strategies.
Today, customer-centricity is a minimum requirement for survival, and customer obsession a hallmark of thriving businesses. Let’s dive into what it means to be customer-obsessed.
What is customer obsession, and how is it different from exceptional customer support?
Customer obsession means that improving customer experience is the focus of every aspect of your business.
When every aspect of a business is designed, assessed, and re-worked based on how it affects the customer, the business model changes dramatically. Everything from the ground up revolves around delivering maximum value to the customer while keeping him engaged.
To truly understand what it is, it’s important to differentiate it from customer support. Whether it’s delivering pizzas to the remotest locations or Sainsbury renaming their bread on advice from a three-year-old, we’ve all heard stories of companies going above and beyond for their customers. While these stories are inspirational examples of great customer support, they are only a small facet of customer obsession.
The reason for that is these strategies can neither be scaled nor repeated or measured. Customer obsession involves implementing scalable, repeatable, and measurable strategies that place the customer at the helm consistently.
However, before we talk about some models of customer obsession, let’s look at why it matters in the first place and what it can do for a business.
Why Customer Obsession Matters
When the focus on the customer is paramount, two immediate benefits can fuel growth for a business:
#1: It Becomes Easier to Retain Customers
Depending on which study you look at, acquiring new customers is anywhere between 5% – 20% (depending on the industry) more expensive than retaining existing customers.
When a business places a heavy focus on delivering value and improving customer experience, the customer in return trusts the business more. When there is trust between a customer and the business, it becomes easier to retain customers. After all, lack of trust is the number one reason for customer churn. And even a 5% increase in the customer retention rate of an organization can have a dramatic impact on its profits.
#2: It Becomes Easier to Acquire New Customers
In today’s day and age, social proof is everything. In fact, experts predict that a business does not even need a very large number of customers to be profitable. Only a few thousand loyal fans that can spread the marketing message are enough.
When you can retain existing customers and have in place a well-optimized strategy to keep them engaged, those loyal customers become your brand ambassadors. And with those loyal customers spreading the word about your business, it becomes incrementally easy to acquire new customers and encourage business growth.
So, with there being clear benefits to becoming a customer-focused business, how can an organization go about creating a customer-obsessed culture?
Ideas and Model for Customer Obsession
Here are six customer obsession strategies to implement for any organization:
- Extreme Empathy: To deliver value to customers you have to know what they need. Empathy at every touchpoint with the customer can not only show you what the customers need but can also pave the way for the next strategy, i.e. proactive customer support.
- Proactive Customer Service: Customer support at different points of interaction forms customer experience and a focus on enhancing customer experience is what characterizes customer obsession. To enhance customer experience an organization must go one step beyond customer support to proactive customer support. Anticipating and offering solutions to potential problems before they arise, lets the customers know that the business cares about them beyond the sale. Email automation tools can be used to send follow-up emails and even post-sale calls can be made to proactively leverage customer service to win the customer’s trust.
- Data-Driven Decisions: What differentiates the companies that are truly customer-obsessed from the ones that are not is their commitment to collect data and make decisions based on that data. Every kind of customer-related data, from customer retention rate to the net promoter score (NPS) to even customer feedback on social media is collected. What gets measured gets improved and what gets improved is what truly makes a difference. Read on to find out what to measure to gauge the customer obsession of your organization.
- Easy Accessibility: Even though there is a heavy focus on data collection, the relationship with the customer is still deeply valued. Since there can be no relationship without communication, becoming easily accessible to your customers on various channels becomes key. Cross-channel accessibility also helps with customer engagement.
- Invest In The Right Employees: Hiring the right employees is tremendously important because they have to implement your strategy. “Hiring for attitude and training for skill” is a strategy that has successfully been applied by many businesses from Southwest Airlines to ING Direct, USA.
- Customer Obsession from Top Down: For an organization to become truly customer-centric, customer obsession must permeate every aspect of that business. The message has a much better chance of getting through when it’s coming from the top. For example, Jeff Bezos, CEO of the e-commerce giant Amazon, frequently credits customer obsession as a key factor in Amazon’s success and leaves an empty chair to signify the presence of the customer in all official meetings.
How to Measure Customer Obsession?
Every organization will have its unique way of implementing these above-mentioned customer obsession strategies. One way of gauging the success of the strategy can be by measuring some key performance indicators (KPIs) listed below.
- Customer Retention Rate: This indicates the percentage of customers that an organization has retained over a period of time. A customer-centric strategy that is working is bound to have a profound effect on this metric. When you care about your customers, they trust you more. When they trust you more, they stick with you longer.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS): If the customer retention rate tells you whether your customers like you, the NPS can tell you how much they like you. The NPS is a measure of how likely it is that a customer will recommend your brand, business, or product to family or friends. Since no one recommends what they don’t trust, this becomes a key indicator that you’ve won your customer’s trust and formed a mutually beneficial relationship.
- Employee Retention Rate: Well-trained and motivated employees are at the heart of a customer-obsessed strategy. And this metric shows the ability of a company to retain its employees. If you are hiring the right employees and their values resonate with your company values, there is going to be harmony. Further, when qualities like empathy and proactive support become truly embedded in the organization’s culture, the effects are bound to spill over to the company-employees relationship. When an organization is truly customer-centric, there is going to be no reason for the employees to leave. After all, in a way, employees are customers too.
- Customer obsession means that improving customer experience is a key consideration in every aspect of a business.
- Customer-obsessed organizations work on models that prioritize delivering maximum value to the customer while keeping them engaged.
- Such organizations also focus more on customer retention than new customer acquisition.
- 6 customer obsession strategies: Extreme empathy, proactive customer support, data-driven decision making, accessibility across channels, investing in the right employees, and customer obsession from top-down.
- 3 metrics to measure customer obsession: Customer retention rate, net promoter score, and employee retention rate.
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