The old adage “the customer is always right” has been thrown around for years in the areas of business and marketing, and the statement is not entirely untrue. The customer may not be always right, but they are the heart and soul of every business and one of the main drivers of performance. Customer experience plays a large part in attracting and retaining customers, so the main focus when building a business is the provision of the best customer experience possible.
It could be a challenge to change the mindset of marketers and entrepreneurs when it comes to customer experience because they understandably focus on other aspects of the business they perceive to have bigger ROI. However, the Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report from Dimension Data shows that 84% of companies that focus on improving customer experience saw an increase in revenue, and 92% increased customer loyalty. The customer might be one of the only aspects where businesses can make a difference, and customer obsession will often seal the deal and transform a customer into a loyal patron. Without finding a competitive edge, businesses today all fall prey to the commodity trap, wherein a company can no longer command a premium price due to other products in the market that are similar or offer almost the same value.
Getting reliable consumer insights and acting upon them immediately is vital if an organization is to become truly customer-obsessed. Every specific consumer segment is different—and Revuze allows you instant access to all of them. By understanding your customers better you can deliver a better customer experience and avoid customer churn. Understanding customers will also help you build stronger and lasting relationships with them, which will both help with retention and acquisition in the long run.
What is Customer Obsession?
Customer obsession, despite the name, doesn’t mean companies should blindly adhere to the belief that “the customer is always right”; rather, it’s an approach that looks from the outside in and uses data-driven insights to increase the lifetime value of customers. This is done by providing customers with pleasant and meaningful experiences all the time. In today’s competitive digital landscape, it’s hard to make a dent in the market without standing out in the eyes of the people that really matter—the customers. By 2020, Gartner predicts that 30% of digital business projects will be destroyed by poor customer experiences.
Why is Customer Obsession Important?
Customer obsession doesn’t just mean identifying customer pain points, it should come with an understanding of the context of those pain points. By understanding the perceptions of customers, a business can grasp the reasons why certain customers have certain expectations and know how to deliver a product or service to meet those specific expectations. It’s also vital that all interactions with customers are a “success,” which means that customer engagement should be a key focus of the business so that long-term relationships with customers are built and nurtured.
Ultimately, ROI will depend on a company’s ability to attract new customers and retain old ones. This puts emphasis on the importance of even the smallest interaction with customers because, regardless of the product offering, customers come back because of excellent customer experiences. A SmartInsights report shows that businesses that focused more on providing an excellent customer experience earned between 4% and 8% more than their competitors. In today’s data-driven market, customer obsession is what will tip the scales toward a company’s success. Customers have a wealth of information available to them nowadays, and this has shifted the power of the sale into their hands.
Even big names like Slack know the value of customer obsession and put the concept into practice when dealing with both old and new customers. The messaging giant takes care of new customers by providing a personalized onboarding experience that greets users with a customized message that introduces software features and suggests channels preselected by their organization. It also offers relevant features to different companies to help them reach their goals quickly and make communication and workflows more efficient. In internet marketing company HubSpot’s case, Slack provides the company a personalized feature that sends a notification to their marketing representatives the moment a lead is generated. Immediate access to this information allows the company to act immediately on them so no time is wasted.
HubSpot itself is no stranger to customer obsession, providing its customers something similar to Slack’s onboarding experience. HubSpot has comprehensive onboarding and academy programs that will turn product beginners into power users in no time. The company’s customer success team works with users on a regular basis not only to educate them about the product, but also to build strong and long-lasting relationships. This obsession with customer obsession comes all the way from the top, with HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan regularly sending emails to employees about users who can’t stop saying good words about the HubSpot customer experience—a constant reminder of who benefits from the good work HubSpot does.
Tech giant Amazon makes customer obsession one of its leadership principles. Instead of creating products and selling them to customers, the company works the other way around. It starts with the customers and engineers the product according to customer expectations. The company’s leaders place great value on customer trust and work hard to earn and keep it.
How Can Customer Obsession Be Achieved?
Focusing on the customer will help a business go from being reactive to predictive; it will help provide perspective on what customers are really thinking, feeling, and saying at any given time. The following tips will help make customer obsession for any business.
- Customer data is life.
Truly knowing customers means gathering data-driven insights into who and where they are, what they like, and what their motivations are. Define customer personas, listen to voice of customer (VOC) data, and map customer journeys to help provide the business a foundation up[on which all products should be built.
- Look from the outside in.
To identify with your customers, businesses must look from the outside and walk a mile in their customer’s shoes. Customer perception about your brand is vital to get accurate customer sentiment that will help you tweak your product or marketing strategy.
- Build relationships not products.
If you’re looking for repeat customers, building long-term customer relationships should be the focus of your marketing campaigns. This means that the focus shouldn’t only be on acquiring customers but also retaining them through excellent customer service.
If you aren’t already applying customer obsession into your business strategy, it’s a transformation that’s well worth the effort. Customer obsession is the golden ticket to identifying and unlocking the power of customer value. Know your customers, put yourself in their shoes, and make it easy for them to understand and appreciate your product. These three simple principles will prove mutually beneficial for you and your customers.
Simone Somekh is a New York-based writer and editor who specializes in marketing and communications for B2B SaaS companies. He teaches Communications at Touro College and he is the author of an award-winning novel published in four languages.