Customer Obsession: The Fixation That’s Fantastic for Your Business
Kerry Drake flew from San Francisco to Lubbock, Texas, on a United Airlines flight to meet his mother in her last hours. He had to catch a connecting flight from Houston. As luck would have it, his first flight was delayed. He broke down, afraid he wouldn’t get to meet his mother one last time. The stewards on board saw how distraught he was, got the captain to call the connecting flight and hold it for Kerry. He got to spend a few hours with his mother before she died.
This is a classic example of customer obsession. United Airlines needn’t have taken the trouble for one customer, but they did. They realized how important it was for Kerry to get to his mother and did everything in their capacity to make it work. Who wouldn’t appreciate an experience like Kerry’s?
Companies that master customer obsession earn respect, loyalty, and a consistent customer base.
What is Customer Obsession?
Customer obsession is a hyper-focused core strategy that is geared towards providing customers with everything they need. It involves going above and beyond to serve customers in a way that is beneficial to them. Customer obsession essentially denotes a customer-first approach.
Customer obsession involves:
- Putting customers at the heart of everything you do, from sales and marketing to product design and support.
- Keenly listening to every need that customers have and meeting them consistently.
- Taking customer experience to the next level by providing the best of the best.
Difference Between Customer Obsession and Customer Service
Customer service is a facet of business operations that provides support and assistance to customers when they need it. On the other hand, customer obsession is a complete shift in business perspective that involves nurturing customer needs and demands. It is focusing intensely on customer relationships to make sure customers never go dissatisfied. Being customer obsessed enables customer service teams to go above and beyond in serving customers.
Why Is Customer Obsession Important?
Think of some of the most successful businesses in the market. From Amazon and Disney to Uber and CitiBank, these businesses are providing the best customer experience at the heart of these businesses.
According to a 2016 Forrester study, customer-obsessed businesses are likely to be seven times more relevant to customers, five times more likely to provide superior products, and are four times more profitable.
Numerous studies show how impactful customer focus is for customer acquisition, retention, and long-term loyalty. Customer obsession is essential because:
- It’s one of the simplest ways to ensure that customers choose your business over the competition.
- It’s a great way to focus on what your customers need rather than simply one upping your competition
- It’s a unique differentiator
- Customer obsession will ensure that your customer stays with you because you provide them the best customer experience.
- It improves customer engagement.
- It can promote innovation
- It can also provide clear direction to employees on how to deal with customers and give them a common cause to work towards
How to Be A Customer-Obsessed Company?
As we have already seen, customer-obsessed companies put customer needs and requirements at the heart of business functioning. When you improve the customer experience journey at every touchpoint, you gain your customers’ trust. In this way, you automatically foster long-term relationships and ensure higher retention.
One report says, customers who have an outstanding customer experience are 3.5 times more likely to buy from a company again and are five times more likely to recommend it to friends and family than if they had a bad experience.
If you are keen on being a customer-obsessed company, here are some ways to ensure it:
1. Understand Customer Needs Deeply
From product requirements to out-of-the-box requests, the key to customer obsession is understanding your customers’ needs down to their very core. Take Amazon, for example. One of their four fundamental values is customer obsession. Rather than focusing on competition, Amazon ensures that customers get the best of what they want, from a wide variety of products to doorstep delivery. Even during the pandemic, Amazon has managed to rake in profits because customers expect a level of experience, and they are rarely disappointed.
2. Offer the Highest Quality Every Step of The Way
Quality is a non-negotiable for customer-obsessed companies. Be it in the products or services offered or after-sales support, customer obsession requires the best of the best. Providing white-glove and world-class experiences is a characteristic of companies that put customers at the heart of their functioning.
3. Equip your customer-facing teams with the right information and guidelines to encourage autonomy
Any good relationship is fundamentally built on conversations. To nurture long-term customer relationships, train your employees to have deep and meaningful conversations with customers.
For instance, in 2012, a Zappos employee set the record for the most extended customer service call at 10 hours and 43 minutes. To ace at customer obsession, such liberties have to be taken. Also, creating an atmosphere in the company where people have free-flowing customer-centric conversations, from the top management to the base level employees, can help.
4. Pay Equal, If Not More Attention to Customer Retention and Reducing Churn
Reducing customer churn is one way to know you are providing superior customer experiences. The other, more effective way is to increase customer retention. Research indicates that increasing customer retention by 5% can boost profit by 25% to 95%. Some of the best ways to improve customer retention are:
- Provide exceptional customer service
- Resolve issues and problems quickly
- Personalize customer experiences
- Do what it takes to meet customer expectations
- Reward loyalty through loyalty programs and memberships
- Value feedback
5. Deep Dive into Your Feedback and Continuously Work on It
Talking about feedback, this can be a great tool to help customer-obsessed companies. When customers provide genuine feedback, consider it and improve your products or services. Companies that value customer feedback and fix problems based on it are likely to have satisfied customers who will stick by them in the long run.
6. Be Proactive with Offering Customer Service
Good customer service is providing customers support when they need it. Excellent customer service is going the extra mile by being proactive and fixing problems before customers even notice. That’s what sets a customer-obsessed company apart from one that simply aims to provide bare-minimum customer service.
How to Make Sure Your Employees Are Customer-Obsessed?
To provide exceptional customer experiences, your employees have to understand the importance of it. Training employees to be good at handling customers can help you be a more customer-obsessed company. Here are five ways to empower your employees to be more obsessed with customers:
1. Provide In-Depth Information About Customers to Every Team
It’s simple to assume that great customer experiences are the responsibility of only customer service executives. That’s not true. A truly customer-obsessed company is attentive to customers no matter which team they belong to. From product builders to sales and marketing executives, every employee in the organization needs to be equipped to deal with customer demands.
Ensure that customer data is available to employees across the board. Knowing customer likes, dislikes, preferences, and needs can help every employee use customer delight as their north star metric.
2. Foster Commitment and Dedication Across Functional Levels
Just like excellent customer experience is not the responsibility of just customer service executives, customer focus is not just for front-end employees. From the top management to the entry-level executives, every person in the company needs to be prepared to put customers first. To win at customer obsession, drill down commitment and dedication to customers at all levels of the organization.
3. Train Customer-Facing Employees on Language, Tone, and Empathy
We’ve already established how important communication is for fostering long-term customer relationships. Good communication is an art form. From the proper greeting to an empathetic tone and language, the way your employees interact with customers is essential. No one wants to talk to an impatient and grumpy person. Organize compassionate communication workshops and sessions for employees, especially customer-facing employees, to help them improve their communication skills.
4. Don’t Expect Perfection from Employees
While customer obsession is a necessary target for companies who want to succeed, putting all the burden on employees is not fair. It can also backfire very quickly. Disgruntled and unhappy employees will never be able to provide good customer experiences. Instead of expecting perfection from employees in every interaction, be considerate and train them to fix any mistakes they make.
5. Incentivize Their Effort Towards Customer Obsession
Human beings respond to rewards more than reprimands. The best way to get your employees to be just as obsessed with your customers as you are as a company is to get them to have some skin in the game. Incentivize employees who provide exceptional customer service with bonuses, recognition, and awards. This will ensure that both your employees and customers are happy. Win-win!
Freshchat for Customer Obsession
Get customer obsession ready with Freshchat. Delight your customers at every interaction. Communicate with them across channels like web, mobile and social messenger. With Freshchat, you can rest assured that not a single customer query or request will go unanswered. From proactive campaigns to analytics to understand customers better, get customer obsession right with us.
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