Delivering outstanding customer experiences continues to be the standard for most businesses competing in the digital economy. It’s easy to understand why. Businesses have long known that satisfied customers buy more often, in higher volumes, leading to long term value and loyalty.
On one hand, much of this is obvious and widely known. But on the other, there are still so many companies that aren’t focused, or properly executing, on customer experience. If you aren’t yet, here are 5 reasons your company should quickly become absorbed by delivering outstanding customer-experiences.
What does it mean to be a customer-obsessed brand?
To be a customer-obsessed brand means that a company places a strong emphasis on understanding and meeting the needs and wants of their customers. They view their business through the eyes of the customer and prioritize their needs and preferences over other considerations. This approach involves gathering extensive data and insights about customers, their behaviors, preferences and feedback, and using this information to continually improve the customer experience.
A customer-obsessed brand is also committed to building long-term relationships with its customers by providing exceptional customer service, delivering high-quality products or services and being responsive to customer feedback. This approach can help companies build customer loyalty, drive revenue growth and maintain a competitive advantage in their industry.
What are the factors that makes you customer obsessed?
There are several factors that can make a company customer-obsessed:
Customer-centric culture: A customer-centric culture starts with the leadership team and permeates throughout the organization. This culture prioritizes the customer experience above all else and empowers employees to make decisions that benefit the customer.
Customer data and insights: Companies that are customer-obsessed gather extensive data and insights about their customers, including their behaviors, preferences, and feedback. This information is used to tailor the customer experience and drive continuous improvement.
Personalization: Personalization is a key component of a customer-obsessed approach. Companies that personalize the customer experience are able to create stronger relationships with their customers and drive loyalty.
Customer service: Exceptional customer service is a hallmark of a customer-obsessed brand. Companies that prioritize customer service are able to quickly address customer concerns and provide a positive experience at every touchpoint.
Continuous improvement: A customer-obsessed company is never satisfied with the status quo. Instead, they are always looking for ways to improve the customer experience, whether that means developing new products, enhancing existing services or streamlining processes.
By focusing on these factors, a company can create a customer-obsessed culture that puts the customer at the center of everything they do. This can lead to higher customer satisfaction, increased loyalty and ultimately, greater business success.
Examples of customer-obsessed brands
There are many examples of companies that are known for being customer-obsessed. Here are a few examples:
Amazon: Amazon is a company that is famous for its customer-centric approach. From its customer reviews and personalized recommendations to its fast and convenient delivery options, Amazon has built its business around the needs and preferences of its customers.
Zappos: Zappos is an online shoe and clothing retailer that is known for its exceptional customer service. The company offers free shipping and returns, a 365-day return policy and a customer service team that is available 24/7 to assist customers with their needs.
Southwest Airlines: Southwest Airlines has built a reputation for its customer-friendly policies, such as its no-change-fee policy and its generous baggage allowance. The company also focuses on creating a fun and friendly atmosphere on its flights, with flight attendants who are known for their humor and personality.
Apple: Apple is a company that has always placed a strong emphasis on design and user experience. Its products are known for their intuitive interfaces, sleek designs and high-quality materials, all of which are designed to meet the needs and preferences of its customers.
Starbucks: Starbucks is a company that has built a loyal following by creating a warm and inviting atmosphere in its stores. The company is also known for its customization options, allowing customers to personalize their drinks to their exact specifications.
These companies have all found success by putting the customer at the center of their business strategy and creating a customer-obsessed culture that focuses on meeting the needs and preferences of their customers.
Five reasons to become a customer-obsessed brand
1. The financial impact
We’ll start with the obvious just in case you needed immediate convincing… the financial incentives to adopt this strategy are undeniable. The brands pushing wide scale initiatives to become “customer-obsessed” like Adidas, for example, are outperforming their counterparts. In fact, Bain and Company found that businesses obsessed with customer experiences grew revenues at a 4% to 8% higher rate than their competitors in a given market space.
As if these incentives weren’t enough, the downside of not pursuing this type of strategy is also notable.
2. A good plan today beats a perfect plan tomorrow
Customer experience expectations are on a fixed one-way trajectory. Just as the pace of innovation and creation of new technologies shaping the global digital economy are accelerating, so too are consumer expectations. Thinking of your business in terms of channels is a remnat of a soon-to-be bygone era. Consumers no longer care whether they’re online, offline, in-store, or mobile; they don’t differentiate. Personalization and customization have become table stakes. Poor mobile web experiences are immediate non-starters. Likewise, disconnected call center interactions without immediately accessible product information and customer purchase histories.
So even if you feel that your customer experience is currently “good enough,” the feeling could be short lived. Consumers frequently hold the top companies as the yardstick to which they compare all other experiences. All of this—from the inexorable pace of change to the new technology and channels, to constantly inflating consumer expectations—may seem daunting. As if you’ll never be able to keep up.
But that’s okay. The truth might very well be that you technically can’t—a study commissioned by Accenture concluded that only 7% of firms, including those that Accenture rated as “leaders” in this area, believed they were currently exceeding their customers’ expectations for a digital experience.
The important thing is to take action now to affect outcomes where you can. What expectations will tomorrow bring? No one knows, but the customer-obsessed companies care less than those that are paralyzed by analysis. They understand that expectations will continue to rise regardless, so they spend positive time and energy pulling the levers available to them in order to make each customer interaction better than the last.
In this regard, customer obsession is as much a corporate mindset as it is a technical or operational outcome.
3. The changing consumer value equation
Consumers are increasingly loyal to the companies that provide the best service and experience. They are also signaling that they are willing to pay a premium for it — one survey found that 86% of consumers said they would pay more to a company that provides a better overall customer experience. Further, customer experience is becoming so important that half of the same businesses surveyed said “customer experience” would be their most important differentiator by 2020, surpassing both products and price.
So if you’re planning a five-year strategy, how might you need to shift your investments to ensure you meet that standard? It’s not that product and price are no longer important, it’s that the businesses thriving in the digital economy are laser-focused on customer experience first and foremost.
Take Amazon, for example. While not every company can match their scale and long-term commitment to experimental projects, anyone can emulate their mindset, if they so choose. They’ve recently simplified their entire corporate mission statement to, “We seek to be Earth’s most customer-centric company.”
4. Technology is a tool, not an outcome
To paraphrase Abraham Maslow, “to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Yet a hammer isn’t always the best tool for the job at hand. Businesses that are obsessed with their customers see technology as a means to the end, and not the end itself.
This can be a tricky one, as businesses are not immune from “keeping up with the Jones’.” There is a subtle distinction between spending on a large digital transformation project because that’s what everyone else in the neighborhood appears to be doing, and doing so with a vision of very specific outcomes. Once again, mindset and planning makes all the difference.
So before you decide that your company simply can’t compete without the latest machine learning capabilities or customer chat bots, seek first to construct a multidisciplinary (business, IT, etc.) view of the big picture to understand the business outcomes they’ll reinforce.
5. Data drives customer experience differentiation
The most customer-obsessed companies understand that data is one of their biggest assets; it’s the fuel that drives differentiated customer experiences. But all companies have data. However, not all of them are pushing the envelope to delight their customers at each and every turn.
It’s not what data these companies have, but what they do with it. How they go about governing, managing, enriching and maintaining it. How they operationalize it throughout their business. What insights they draw from their analytics, and so on. After all, data is the new oil.
The top performing customer experience companies put great effort into properly refining their commodity in order to ensure that it reaps maximum value downstream.
Four ways to become a customer-obsessed brand
Here are four specific ways to become a customer-obsessed brand:
1. Listen to your customers
Actively seek out customer feedback and listen to what they have to say. This can be done through surveys, social media, customer service interactions and other channels. Use this feedback to improve your products or services, identify pain points and gain a deeper understanding of what your customers want and need.
2. Personalize the customer experience
Customers want to feel valued and understood, and personalization is a powerful way to achieve this. Use customer data to personalize your interactions such as offering personalized product recommendations or tailoring your marketing messages to specific customer segments.
3. Put the customer first
When making business decisions, consider how they will impact the customer. Prioritize the customer experience over short-term gains or cost-cutting measures. This could involve investing in new technology, improving your supply chain or enhancing your customer service.
4. Continually innovate
Being customer-obsessed means constantly looking for ways to improve the customer experience. Don't be afraid to experiment with new products, services or business models to better meet customer needs. Keep an eye on industry trends and be open to feedback from customers to stay ahead of the curve.