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What does it mean to be customer obsessed?

Customer obsession can boost a brand's reputation and profits. But it requires C-suite dedication to CX, high levels of personalization and a positive employee experience.

As customers increasingly expect exceptional CX, organizations are investing more in CX tools and strategies.

In 2023, most companies are increasing spending on customer engagement technology, according to Metrigy's "2023 Technology Spending Forecast" study. Consumers have little tolerance for poor customer service, so organizations that don't invest in customer engagement tools and strategy could lose business. Thriving in this consumer-empowered reality requires customer obsession. To build customer obsession, organizations must form the right team, use personalization, gather feedback, embrace change and consider the employee experience (EX).

People only allow an organization a few bad experiences before they leave it for good. Those consumers may also share their discontent on review websites and social media, which can add reputational damage as well as customer churn. Customer obsession can help organizations minimize this customer churn and protect brand image.

Explore what customer obsession is and how organizations can embed it into their company mission.

What is customer obsession?

Customer-obsessed organizations focus intensely on understanding customers' needs and ways to meet those needs. They rely on data and advanced technologies such as AI, predictive analytics and sentiment analysis to deliver personalized experiences. These organizations gather customer feedback through various mechanisms, such as customer surveys and website tracking data, and analyze it to support continuous improvement.

Virtually every decision a customer-obsessed organization makes centers on its value for customers. These organizations build customer centricity into the corporate mission statement, and everyone from the CEO to frontline workers understands the importance of exceptional CX.

The value of customer obsession

Customer-obsessed organizations can successfully fend off the fickleness of consumers. Organizations that offer exceptional and personalized experiences make customers feel valued, which boosts customer loyalty. As customer loyalty increases, churn decreases, and organizations can spend less on acquisition.

Loyal customers spend money on and recommend their preferred brands, which can increase revenue. Customer rating scores also increase with loyalty, so organizations can attract new customers. Additionally, customer-obsessed organizations aim to understand their customers' needs so well that they create more desirable products and services than their competitors.

As customer-obsessed organizations give all employees a shared goal of creating outstanding CX, they build a culture of connectivity and engagement among employees. This engagement can further enhance CX, because a positive employee experience leads to happy customers.

Building a customer-obsessed team

5 steps to building customer obsession

Organizations need the right leadership, culture and technology to support a customer obsession strategy:

1. Build the right team

Organizations must infuse the idea of customer obsession throughout the workforce. Everyone within the company -- customer-facing or not -- should understand the importance of placing customers at the center of decisions. For example, the CEO could convey this message through the corporate mission statement, and individual employees could learn how to deliver on this mandate and receive recognition for their efforts.

Organizations can hire a chief customer officer (COO) to represent customer obsession at the C-suite-level. This individual needs the budget, staff and decision-making authority to implement changes that can improve CX. Over 70% of companies already have a CCO or plan to hire one in 2023, according to Metrigy's "Customer Experience Optimization: 2023-24" study.

2. Let customers take the lead

To make customers feel comfortable and valued, organizations should enable them to interact with their company on channels of their choice. Channels include traditional methods, such as a phone and email, or more modern means, such as chatbots, text messaging, self-service, social media and video calls.

Customer-obsessed organizations can also use AI, advanced analytics and automation to personalize each interaction. For example, an entertainment streaming service may use analytics to learn if a customer watches TV shows on weeknights. The service's algorithm could then show the customer more TV show recommendations during the week. Customer-obsessed organizations go out of their way to make customers feel special.

A chart that shows various ways organizations can collect customer feedback, such as phone surveys, web surveys and comment cards.
Customer-obsessed organizations gather feedback from many sources.

3. Listen to customers

Customer-obsessed organizations should gather both explicit and implicit feedback from customers. Explicit feedback, which customers willingly provide, can give organizations more accurate and detailed insights into how customers feel about their brand.

Explicit feedback can come from one-on-one interviews, focus groups, live chats and voice of the customer surveys. Organizations can also collect it from social media posts, online review sites, text messaging, snap polls and kiosks.

However, most customers don't take the time to offer explicit feedback, so organizations also collect implicit feedback, which organizations infer from behavioral data. To collect implicit feedback, organizations can analyze website visits and call data.

4. Embrace change

Customer-obsessed organizations must respond to customers' fast-changing needs and preferences. They can use advanced tools, such as AI-powered customer satisfaction surveys, customer data platforms and analytics software, to gain a 360-degree view of their customers in real time.

As organizations gain a comprehensive view of their customers, they can more quickly identify customers' needs and address pain points along the customer journey.

5. Correlate between employee and customer experiences

An organization's EX can significantly affect CX, because happy employees enable more positive and empathetic interactions with customers. Customer-obsessed organizations should look for correlations between the two to understand how EX affects specific customer experiences and overall customer satisfaction.

As organizations find correlations between EX and CX, they can identify aspects of EX to improve. For example, an organization may find customer satisfaction survey scores go up as customer service agents receive more training, higher pay and flexible schedules.

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