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What is Customer Obsession: Features, Culture and Examples

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    Today’s customers have high expectations. They want businesses to meet and exceed their needs at every stage of the journey. Just one bad experience is enough for them to leave a brand and switch over to a competitor. To avoid reaching that point, a business needs to be obsessed with customers and prioritize addressing needs before they arise. 

    But the question is – how does customer obsession help in meeting customer expectations? 

    Well, when a business is obsessed with customers, it creates a culture of fostering loyalty and advocacy. Such companies emphasize providing service and support specific to the requirements and preferences of the customers. Each step it takes, every decision it makes, is done keeping the customer at the focus of attention. 

    In this blog, we will learn about customer obsession, explore examples of companies that are obsessed with customers, and also discuss strategies on how to be customer focussed

    Before moving further, let’s first get started with the definition…

    What is Customer Obsession?

    Customer obsession is a business philosophy that puts hyperfocus on creating a better customer experience. It’s an approach that prioritizes customer needs, desires, and satisfaction above all. 

    what_is_customer_obsession

    Being obsessed with customers is a concept that goes well beyond meeting expectations. It encompasses many other things as well –  

    • Adopting a relentless commitment to fulfilling customer needs at every touchpoint
    • Developing a mindset to understand and anticipate customers and their preferences 
    • Making decisions that prioritize customer interests above all else 

    Why is Customer Obsession Important?

    Customer obsession is not just a buzzword – it’s a strategic practice of taking steps towards a customer-centric culture. Being obsessed with customers is now a necessity to thrive in today’s dynamic and fast-evolving marketplace. It’s important for many reasons, including – 

    • To Foster Loyalty and Drive Retention – Prioritizing customer needs and delivering great experiences is essential to foster loyalty. And loyal customers not only drive retention rates but also contribute massively to sustainable growth.  
    • To Gain a Competitive Edge in the Market – The market is extremely competitive these days with businesses exploring newer trends and innovations to excel. With a limited scope of innovation in products and services, excellent customer service can be a big differentiator which you can deliver only when you’re obsessed with customers. 

    why_is_customer_obsession_important

    • To Reduce Churn and Acquisition Costs – When your business is obsessed with customers, it’s more likely to provide exceptional services and experience. This can result in happy customers who are less likely to churn. What’s more, having happy and satisfied customers will also reduce your acquisition efforts and costs. 
    • To Increase Revenue –  Customers spend more when they are engaged, happy, and satisfied with the services and experiences provided to them. And when they spend more, it drives revenue growth. Similarly, such customers present more opportunities for upselling and cross-selling for the business. All this is only possible when you’re obsessed with your customers. 
    • To Achieve Product and Service Improvement – A customer-obsessed business actively listens to feedback and understands pain points. It gains valuable insights into what customer expects and needs. The same insights can be used for product and service improvement to better meet customer needs and stay ahead of the competition.    

    What is a Customer Obsessed Culture? 

    A customer-obsessed culture is the deliberate creation of a workplace environment that is fully committed to understanding, prioritizing, and exceeding customer needs and expectations. In this type of culture, every aspect of the organization is made to be customer-centric. Employees at all levels collaborate to achieve the shared vision of customer happiness. 

    Such a culture is built on the premise of delivering exceptional customer experiences and going above and beyond to delight customers. Having a culture of customer obsession means everyone in the organization works toward achieving customer satisfaction with a focus on driving loyalty and retention. 

    what_is_a_customer_obsessed_culture

    Key Features of a Customer-Obsessed Culture  

    • Customer-centric mindset with each employee prioritizing customer needs 
    • Empowered employees who take ownership of customer interactions without needing approval 
    • Continuous learning and innovation with the sole focus on enhancing the customer experience  
    • Decision-making powered by customer insights and data analytics 
    • Improved customer service and outcomes through integration of satisfaction metrics into performance evaluations    
    • Leadership commitment and systematic focus on customer feedback  

    What Does Customer Obsession Look Like? 

    Customer obsession is a strategic approach that can manifest in various ways. Its main emphasis lies in creating a distinct organizational ethos centered on delivering amazing experiences. When a business is obsessed with customers, it means it’s committed to building lasting relationships

    what_does_customer_obsession_look_like_

    Here is what customer obsession may look like:  

    1. Identification and Anticipation of Customer Needs – A company that follows a customer-centric culture will always proactively identify and anticipate customer needs. Its core focus will always be on gaining a deep understanding of customer needs.    
    2. Adoption of a Personalized Approach to Engagement – A customer-driven philosophy never believes in offering one-size-fits-all solutions. It’s rather more focused on adopting a tailored approach so that products, services, and interactions can be personalized to the specific needs of customers.   
    3. Empowerment of Employees through Autonomy and Resources – Empowered staff is a key characteristic of a consumer-driven organizational culture. Employees get autonomy and resources so that they can take ownership of customer interactions and resolve issues without seeking constant approval. 
    4. Improvements Based on Customer Feedback – Collecting and analyzing feedback is always a big part of organizations obsessed with customers. Feedback is actively collected and used to improve customer service and achieve improvement across all aspects of the business.  
    5. Data-Driven Approach Dominating Decisions At All Levels –  Decisions are always strategic for businesses that look to achieve customer satisfaction at every touchpoint. Data analytics thus hold a big importance as it helps a lot in gaining insights into consumer behavior and aligning experiences based on that.   
    6. Collaborative Effort on Service Excellence –  Obsession with customers gives rise to a culture that seeps into every aspect of the business. So, it involves collaborative efforts to achieve service excellence where every employee, whether a frontline staff or a senior manager, plays a part in customer happiness.    
    7. Long-Term Relationships Remain a Top Priority – A business that is obsessed with customers forges short-term gains for long-term benefits. Its singular emphasis is on winning the trust, loyalty, and respect of its customers. This approach is visible in every aspect, be it communication or engagement, so that customers feel valued

    How to Build a Customer Obsessed Culture? 

    Customer obsession is beneficial for businesses in many ways and on many levels. It’s an approach that can drive sustainable growth and success in the long run. Most importantly, when you focus more on customers, you can differentiate yourself in the marketplace and gain an edge. 

    Let’s look at how to build a culture of customer obsession:  

    Step 1 – Define Your Vision 

    Customer obsession is not just a fancy concept that you should be chasing. It’s a shift of the mindset in your organizational ethos and value for customers. Since it’s a big change, there has to be a clear vision for that. Make sure your vision has “customer-centricity” as the foundational step. It’s equally important to communicate the vision across the departments, and also make it a guide for decision-making at every level.    

    Step 2 – Embody the Values 

    What next after the vision is defined? Well, the next step is to embody the values of customer obsession. Everybody in the organization – from executives to managers – now needs to drive their actions and decisions based on the shared goal of a customer-first mindset. The leadership needs to take the lead so that the rest follow suit.  

    Step 3. Encourage Employees to Take Ownership of Customer Issues  

    Proactively and swiftly solving customer issues and problems is the cornerstone of a customer-driven approach. This goal however is best achieved when employees are properly trained and resourceful in performing their duties and roles. This is why the workforce needs to be empowered and encouraged to take ownership of customer experiences and make decisions independently.  

    how_to_build_a_customer_obsessed_culture_

    Step 4. Identify Areas of Improvement  

    Customers are served best when the service is proactive and quick. This however is not possible unless you know what problems and pain points customers have. Using customer feedback can help you find areas for improvement and do the needful.   

    Step 5. Invest in Tools and Technology

    Your business will need the support of lots of tools and advanced technology to better understand consumer behavior and preferences. They can also help you streamline processes and deliver more tailored experiences at each step of the customer journey. So, consider investing in customer relationship management (CRM) systems, analytics tools, and other technologies to deliver more value to your customers.   

    Step 6. Put a Reward System for Customer-Centric Actions

    As a business obsessed with customers, you should start the practice of rewarding and celebrating customer-focused actions. This will show how you prioritize customer happiness above all else. Incentives, bonuses, and public acknowledgments are some of the ways you can reward such customer-first behaviors of your employees. 

    Step 7. Implement Continuous Learning on Serving Customers Better  

    You need motivated employees to achieve the ultimate goal of customer satisfaction. Such employees are not hired; they are created, developed, and nurtured over time. Make sure you allow them the freedom to experiment, innovate, and learn from each other. Give more focus on team bonding and collaboration so that continuous learning and insights sharing become part of your organizational setup. 

    Step 8. Measure and Track Progress 

    All the steps and actions you take to build a customer-obsessed culture need to be measured and tracked regularly. It will help you understand the progress made toward achieving your vision. You must establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and regularly monitor them so that customer-driven strategies can be adjusted in alignment with your long-term vision. 

    Customer Obsession Questions Every Business Should Answer 

    Is your business obsessed with customers? Well, most would answer this in the affirmative. But that does not make them what they claim. The right approach is to evaluate your business’ customer obsessiveness based on a series of key questions. 

    Here are some of the questions to check your business’ customer obsession level – 

    1. How Well Do You Know Your Customers? 
    2. Are You Aware of Your Customer Pain Points and Preferences?
    3. Do You Understand the Demographics, Psychographics, and Behavioral Patterns of Your Customers? 
    4. Have You Been Using Predictive Analytics and Market Research to Anticipate Customer Needs? 
    5. Do Your Personalize Customer Engagement, Interactions, and Communication? 
    6. Are Your Customers Provided Training and Support to Serve Customers Better?  
    7. Is Customer Feedback a Basis for Continuous Improvement within Your Organization?  
    8. Have You Implemented Customer-Centric Technology in Different Systems and Processes? 
    9. Do Your Employees Have a “Tangible Motivation” for Customer-Driven Steps?   
    10. Does Your Organization Have a Culture of Knowledge Sharing Across Departments?  

    Customer Obsession Examples

    1. Morton’s Steakhouse Goes All Out to Meet a Customer’s Fanciful Wish 

    Surprises and delights are key weapons when you’re obsessed with customers. While most companies just pay lip service to surprising and delighting customers, Morton’s Steakhouse dared to walk the talk. Yes, it did when one of its customers tweeted in-flight how he would land in the town in the next two hours and how he wished to enjoy the steak. 

    Here is the tweet : 

    a_customer_tweets_to_morton_steakhouse

    Source

    The step Morton’s took shows how much obsessed it’s with customers. It duly sent a server with a full meal, free of charge, to delight the customer. 

    2. Southwest Airlines Bends the Rule for a Distressed Passenger 

    Southwest Airlines, the American Airlines company, sets the standards for maintaining an excellent work culture which is the key reason behind its happy employees. It also adds a new paradigm to customer service excellence by being considerate of their customers.   

    Among many instances of customer obsession, one stands out involving a man who was scheduled to catch a flight to Denver to see his grandson for the last time. This man got delayed due to heavy traffic and reached the airport a good 12 minutes after the scheduled departure time. But to his surprise, the pilot of the plane waited for the man before taking off.

    3. Chewy.com Emphasizes with a Customer Who Lost a Pet Dog

    Losing a pet dog can be tough. It can accompany heartache and a deep sense of void for some. While empathizing in this situation is an easy way out, the harder thing is to feel the pain of the bereaved. This is what Chewy.com, a pet retailer, did when one of its customers – who had recently lost its pet dog – approached it with a request to return an unopened bag of dog food. 

    Here’s a tweet from the customer, and the response is also clearly mentioned there – 

    a_customer_tweets_to_chewy

    Source

    From the response, we can see how the company showed a big heart, which is a key trait of customer obsession. 

    4. Mahindra Group Chairman Routinely Surprises People with Act of Kindness 

    Mahindra Group is a leading automobile brand in India and its chairman Anand Mahindra is quite famous for gifting vehicles to people randomly. This practice of his can be seen as a manifestation of customer obsession of another level altogether. While customers may not directly be Mahindra’s own, the act of surprising individuals with such high-worth gifts creates positive experiences for them and builds emotional connections. 

    Customer Obsessed Companies: Key Stats 

    • Customer-centric companies were 60% more profitable compared to those not focused on the customer. ( Source – Deloitte and Touche
    • 84% of companies that claim to be customer-centric focus on the mobile customer experience. ( Source – Super Office )
    • Businesses that view customer service as a value center achieve revenue growth 3.5 times greater than those that don’t. ( Source – Accenture
    • Companies prioritizing great customer experience report achieving a 42% boost in customer retention and a 33% boost in customer satisfaction. ( Source – Emplifi

    stats_on_customer_centric_companies

    Four Ways to Become Customer Obsessed 

    Becoming a customer-obsessed business is easier said than done. Why so? Because it involves a complete shift in the mindset and approach towards customer happiness and success. But yes, with a strategic approach, your company can also learn how to be obsessed with customers. 

    Let’s look at the four ways to become obsessed with customers – 

    1. Foster a Culture that Prioritizes Customer Satisfaction 

    Customers are the real kings. So, they should be pampered and made to feel royal. This can’t happen unless you foster a culture prioritizing customer satisfaction. In this type of culture, every employee, from top to bottom, needs to understand the value of keeping customers first in every decision. 

    Key Strategies 

    • Encourage employees to share customer insights and feedback 
    • Ask team members to make customers the focus of every decision they make
    • Give employees the freedom to go above and beyond standard procedures 

    2. Gain a Holistic View of Customer Behaviour and Preferences  

    How can your organization be obsessed with customers without understanding them better? To understand customers better, you need to leverage data analytics and insights. The more customer-centric data you gather, the better your knowledge will be regarding what customer needs and prefers. 

    Key Strategies   

    • Collect data from various touchpoints such as marketing, sales, and customer service 
    • Analyze product usage data as well to gain a holistic view of consumer behavior 
    • Use the data to customize experiences at each stage and address issues proactively  

    four_ways_to_become_customer_obsessed

    3. Adapt and Evolve with Changing Customer Needs and Market Dynamics 

    Customer needs and market demands are dynamic concepts. They keep changing over time. It’s therefore important to adopt a mindset of continuous improvement. This will help you stay true to what customers expect and what is standard delivery in the industry. 

    Key Strategies  

    • Actively listen to customer issues and suggestions 
    • Experiment with new ideas and features based on customer feedback 
    • Gather knowledge on customer needs through surveys and focus groups 

    4. Invest in Customer Service Training 

    Only a trained and capable staff can help a business realize the vision of customer happiness. The better your employees are trained on customer issues and needs, the more improved performance they will deliver. So, make sure you emphasize employee training so that can have the tricks to delight customers. 

    Key Strategies 

    • Provide the right tools and resources to your employees  
    • Train your team to handle diverse customer interactions 
    • Inculcate a mindset of customer-first  

    Final Thoughts 

    Delivering exceptional customer experiences has always been a huge differentiator for brands across industries. However, such experiences can only be delivered when a business knows the art of engagement. 

    At REVE Chat, we know how engagement and interactions lay the foundation of great experiences for customers. That’s why we bring a variety of tools to engage and interact with customers better. 

    With us, you can sign up and check how our tools can help you engage better with your target audience. 

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    Praveen Singh
    AUTHOR’S BIO

    Praveen Singh is a content marketer, blogger, and professional with 15 years of passion for ideas, stats, and insights into customers. An MBA Graduate in marketing and a researcher by disposition, he has a knack for everything related to customer engagement and customer happiness.

    As a writer and analyst, he pours the heart out on a blog that is informative, detailed, and often digs deep into the heart of customer psychology. He’s written extensively on a range of topics including, marketing, AI chatbots, omnichannel messaging platforms, and many more.

    Mr. Singh also has a passion for subjects that excite new-age customers, be it social media engagement, artificial intelligence, machine learning. He takes great pride in his learning-filled journey of adding value to the industry through consistent research, analysis, and sharing of customer-driven ideas.

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