Putting customer obsession at the heart of your business is about more than just delivering an exceptional customer experience. If done correctly, it can drive sales and boost your bottom line.
It’s not just tweaking CX and meeting customer needs—it’s about building deep, long-lasting relationships and adjusting to their needs over time. This is what sustains a business in the long term.
Customer obsession is a business philosophy that puts the needs of the customer at the center of everything a company does. A customer-obsessed organization is focused on consumer needs, preferences, and satisfaction above all else.
With this mindset, you’re always striving to put yourself in their shoes and understand their point of view. This can then become a guideline for leaders, informing decision-making in an effort to continuously add value to the customer experience.
Plenty of companies consider themselves customer-obsessed, but Forrester research has found that only 8 percent of enterprises actually are. Putting yourself in that small group of truly customer-obsessed organizations can give you a serious competitive edge.
It’s true that virtually every business is focused on consumer needs, but there’s a difference between ‘focused’ and ‘obsessed’. The level of commitment, effort, and buy-in for a customer-obsessed organization is much greater than that of a customer-focused company.
Most companies recognize the value of good service and refine their existing processes to improve CX and meet client needs. Customer obsession takes this to the next level, placing the consumer at the center of every decision the organization makes. A focused organization tweaks its existing products to better fit consumer needs—an obsessed organization builds a new product entirely.
It’s a strategic pivot where the needs of the customer guide strategy, inform the business structure, and dictate operations. Rather than focusing on ROI or beating the competitors, this mindset prioritizes customer happiness in every decision.
From A (Amazon) to Z (Zappos), global leaders subscribe to this philosophy for a reason—it delivers significant rewards, in terms of brand image and revenue.
When you build strong relationships, go above and beyond to exceed expectations, and consistently deliver exceptional service, customers will keep coming back. Not only does this boost their lifetime value, it also increases word-of-mouth referrals.
The numbers back the approach, with research finding that “customer-obsessed companies report 2.5 times higher revenue growth and 2.2 times better customer retention and employee engagement.”
The value of this strategy is that it supports scalable, repeatable actions. For example, it’s probably not realistic for a big company to personally onboard every customer, but it is possible to design an interactive onboarding program that grows with the customer base.
Though your mileage may vary depending on industry, company size, customer type, and other factors, studies have shown that investing in customer obsession can yield a 700 percent ROI over 12 years.
To do it right, you need to fully embrace the philosophy strategically and operationally, creating the best possible customer experience at every touchpoint. With 88 percent of customers stating that CX is just as important as a product or service, elevating CX will drive sales.
Let’s take a look at what it takes to be a customer-obsessed organization and how it can benefit your long-term business growth.
Knowing what customers need is, perhaps, the most important aspect of customer obsession. It ensures that your offerings are targeted and relevant, driving acquisition and cementing loyalty among existing customers.
Research indicates that 70 percent of customers are more loyal to companies that offer personalized experiences, so it’s vital that you understand challenges, pain points, and goals to tailor the interactions. To do so, you should gather feedback, conduct surveys, and analyze interactions.
This approach demonstrates your commitment to the customer, encouraging repeat purchases. After all, if you know that you’ll get what you want every time you interact with a company—and you’ll enjoy the experience—you’re likely to come back.
Studies show that 78 percent of customers want to engage on their preferred channels. This is important for support interactions, but it can also enable a greater number of sales opportunities across different mediums.
With omnichannel, you can build a 360-degree view of each customer and deliver seamless, consistent CX, enabling personalized offers and 24/7 availability. This level of dedication to consumer needs is a hallmark of the obsession mindset.
This way, you’re meeting customer needs around the clock, giving reps significantly increased opportunities to upsell and cross-sell and boosting conversion rates via enhanced CX.
Trust is essential for cementing long-term loyalty and encouraging repeat purchases among customers. Customer-obsessed organizations gain this trust by call center training and empowering agents to meet customer needs with the data, call center technology, and authority to provide solutions.
Providing quick resolutions is key to CX, with 60 percent of customers citing “not getting issues resolved during first contact” as one of the primary reasons for a frustrating service experience.
By overcoming this pain point and delivering consistent first call resolution, you can build trust and boost customer retention, improving KPIs like CSAT and NPS, while also encouraging consumers to keep doing business with you.
Customer obsession doesn't only delight existing customers, it can also enhance your reputation. When existing customers consistently have positive experiences, they will become brand advocates who drive acquisition through word of mouth.
Ritz-Carlton, for example, empowers staff to fix client issues efficiently. Employees are allowed up to $2,000 to fix a problem, no questions asked. For example, when one customer forgot his charger, he received it the next day via airmail, along with an extra one and a personalized note.
When a customer receives exceptional service like this, they are likely to recommend the brand to family and friends. Not only are you increasing the value of your existing base, you’re also bringing in new opportunities via referrals.
Collecting call center feedback helps inform your strategy and make your customers feel valued. Through surveys, focus groups, interviews, and more, you can leverage customer insights and continually refine their experience.
Feedback is key to customer-obsessed companies. Toyota, for example, uses the “kaizen” principle, a Japanese philosophy meaning “change for the better”. They make small, incremental changes based on feedback from both customers and employees.
If you want to truly embrace customer obsession, you need to make it a part of your hiring process. This way, you can be sure that you’re building a team capable of supporting your customer-first ideals.
It’s always easier and more cost-effective to hire someone who already possesses these qualities than it is to train them at a later point.
Customer obsession requires more than a one-off workshop—it’s a complete shift of priorities and strategies. Everyone, especially the C-suite and contact center management, must be fully committed in order to drive change.
To cultivate this culture, many leaders embrace the idea of starting with the customer’s problem and working backwards toward a solution. Amazon, for example, noted a need for streamlined digital content consumption and created the Kindle with this in mind.
To further establish the importance of customer obsession, you could reward those who have embraced it. This encourages others to follow their example. Additionally, you can embed the mindset in your brand guidelines, mission, and values.
Prioritizing customer obsession adds value at every touchpoint and gives your business a competitive edge, driving sales and long-term growth. In fact, customer-obsessed companies report 1.6x faster revenue growth than their counterparts.
By mapping the customer journey from awareness to post-purchase, you can analyze every step and identify areas for improvement. You can even use AI tools and predictive analytics to forecast future customer behavior and take proactive steps to meet their needs.
From giraffe bread to airport steak deliveries, there are plenty of novel examples of companies taking customer-obsessed actions. However, customer obsession is about more than individual actions, it’s embedded into the company identity. Let’s look at some examples.
Most companies care about their customers, but few truly embrace the philosophy of obsession. For those who do buy into this mindset, the rewards are clear—improved customer retention, elevated brand reputation, and increased sales.
By leveraging customer insights, improving your omnichannel offering, and actioning customer feedback, among other steps, you can accelerate revenue generation and boost your bottom line.
Scorebuddy is a quality assurance solution capable of elevating your customer experience and engaging agents, two key components of a customer-obsessed culture.