There are brands that come and go and then there are brands that remain etched forever in people’s minds. Let’s take a moment to evaluate the brands that have made a mark in the mind of almost every customer.
Amazon would probably be everyone’s first guess. Why? Because Amazon is driven by a relentless customer focus.
In fact, Amazon’s Leadership Principles list customer obsession as their first priority.
In an increasingly pressured and complex world of B2B sales where technology has changed everything, being customer obsessed is just what businesses need to reinvent themselves and thrive.
Many businesses are on a transformation journey, some prompted by the impact of the pandemic. While each will be at a different point, being customer obsessed can equip them with a strategic advantage.
Customer obsession is the key to delivering stronger revenue growth while benefiting from having more satisfied customers and an engaged workforce.
A Forrester research highlights how customer obsessed businesses- who put customers at the heart of leadership, strategy, and operations- retain customers at more than twice the rate of other businesses.
Despite its central role, only 7% of firms are customer obsessed today, according to this survey.
What is Customer Obsession?
Happy customers help make a successful business. But a lot of resources and energy are spent to keep customers satisfied.
The same holds true for B2B ventures where the loss of even a single contract can make or break the business.
Satisfied customers, who keep coming back, not only drive revenue but provide compelling insights to guide product development and business planning. The challenge lies in placing such customer-driven insights at the center of every big decision that you take.
This, in a nutshell, is the essence of customer obsession. It requires a company-wide cultural shift where proper tools and systems are kept in place to ensure that the customer is always the focus.
The 3 Attributes of a Customer-obsessed Brand
It goes without saying that most customer obsessed companies think less of the number of customers they have and more about the type of relationship they are forging with them.
Such companies are:
- Customer-led: They dig into the ‘whats’ and ‘whys’ of a customer doing business with them. This gives them key inputs to further dive into the relationship, identify and address pain points, and pave the way for a stronger partnership in the long-run.
- Insights-driven: In today’s digital world, data is the king. Customer obsessed companies make it a point to analyze this data to make better decisions.
- Customer needs-oriented: The new-age customer wants to try new things. When businesses focus on customer needs, they are not against experimenting in order to deliver impactful customer engagements.
Customer Obsession Checklist: How to Become Customer Obsessed
The “always-on” digital customer places high value on three key areas: customer experience, personalization, and awareness of the brands who deliver on the first two.
Companies should have a ready checklist of items that can help attain success in these areas.
1. Study Customer Data
B2B businesses should have instant access to the data of every customer and transaction. It’s necessary to find out who is buying what and the drivers for such decisions.
Data-driven customer understanding, when shared across teams such as marketing, sales, and customer service, can help organizations move away from departmental silos to a cross-functional work set-up.
It is also vital to carefully analyze first-party data of your customers as well as third-party data to create a tangible picture of how your customer base views your brand.
2. Don’t Forget to Protect Your Customers’ Data
A comprehensive data protection strategy is essential for your B2B business.
Many expanding ventures assume that data protection is largely a concern for the big players. But small businesses are equally at risk from cyber criminals.
Three out of four SMBs in India suffered a cyber incident between 2020 and 2021, resulting in a 85% loss of customer information.
Beyond the time and financial impact such incidents can have, security breaches can put a dent in your relationship with customers.
Your customers expect you to look after the data that they have entrusted you. This means putting the best practices in place, right from the start.
3. Map Out Your Customer’s Journey
The best way to be customer obsessed is by creating a customer journey map.
These maps tell the story of your customer’s brand experience, starting with initial contact, through various processes of engagement, and into a long-term partnership.
Your customer journey map represents different touchpoints that have shaped your interaction with your customers. Every group will have a unique path, and a different view on how they view your product or service.
Such maps can help you deliver a stellar customer experience because even one disjointed interaction can send your customers straight to your competition.
4. Make Way for Customer-generated Content
91% of 18-34 year olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Reviews help build trust with customers and provide them with valuable insights which they can use to make informed shopping decisions.
Reviews are so effective that even negative reviews can assure customers that the reviews are real.
Hearing feedback from customers will equip you with the right insights in order to augment your CX strategy. You can also respond back to the customers and close the loop to ensure that their issues are resolved.
5. Keep a Simplistic Website Interface
Make your website as simplistic as possible.
Because you have less than 15 seconds to grab your customer’s attention and a complex layout might drive them away. The 15-second rule applies to about 55% of web visitors, according to a HubSpot study.
To ensure a pleasant experience for your visitors, keep checking your website’s bounce rate along with other metrics such as session duration, average time on page, interactions, events, and more at regular intervals or every quarter.
Most of the new-age analytics tools will provide you with this information. The best and the most preferred one being Google Analytics.
If you see a spike in these user-behavior metrics, it could mean your visitors are not having a great experience with your website. This could be due to faulty design, slow page responsiveness, tech issues, or content.
6. Customer-driven Product Development
The Product Life Cycle (PLC) is probably one of the oldest and useful business concepts and defines the stages of customer acquisition and retention, stages that all products typically go through.
A lack of alignment between product, marketing, and sales teams means that these units often don’t connect on what customers actually want. The problem is not that they are not listening and catering to customer demands, but the message gets fragmented.
7. Focus on Change Leadership
Being customer obsessed requires an alignment between sales, marketing, and product efforts. But bringing in this change demands a strategic change.
While change management as a business-wide practice is quite well-documented, the most common barriers to success come from the C-suites and not from the people below.
Executives, then, need to focus on “change leadership”.
Through change leadership, companies will be better equipped to drive transformation and secure customer trust. This is because change requires conditions where employees feel ready to adapt and grow.
The Modern-day Imperative
Traditionally, company structures have driven value through transactions.
The digital era is paving the way for unconventional business models like collaborative partnering. Product-rich, experience-poor companies must rethink and strategize.
Customer obsession, when dealt with the right tools and with the involvement of the right people, is just what companies require to cater to the changing customer needs.
The initial rules remain simple- always be there for your customers and provide them with quick help.