Part Two: Customer OBSESSION is NOT the same as Customer CENTRICITY…
Yesterday I talked in depth about CUSTOMER CENTRICITY and how important it is for companies today…especially in the highly commoditized world we live in today. And while Customer Centricity is a critical to your success in the future, there is a “higher level” I would like to take you to…CUSTOMER OBSESSION. Customer Obsession is above and beyond being Customer Centric.
You know how passionate I am about OBSESSING OVER YOUR CUSTOMERS and how this is at the core of creating a REMARKABLE COMPANY. But what exactly does this mean? And if you wanted to tell your customers, “Hey, we’ve made a decision to be a ‘Customer Obsessed’ company and I want to let you know what that specifically means to you, our customer,” what would you actually tell them? This is the key question I would want a company’s leadership team to tackle and be very specific about. If you can’t be specific about your answer, I’m pretty sure your customer won’t get it either. So let me give you a simple, straightforward way to talk about this and make it happen!
The word “OBSESSION” is a powerful word to me…it is one is infused with emotion. When you say the word ‘obsession’ you immediately feel some kind of emotional connection to the word. This is a “passion” word for most people and one they can immediately relate to in a conversation. It’s a word that doesn’t need much explanation (unlike most the words academia and large consulting firms use/create). This is very important when you are trying to explain what you are talking about and what you will be delivering that is completely differentiating. To me…it’s the perfect word to describe something you are “over the top” committed to, completely behind, and can use to get your employees, customers, and others excited about. I love this word!
When we attach this powerful word to CUSTOMER, it takes on a very special meaning…well beyond CUSTOMER CENTRICITY (and light years ahead of ‘customer satisfaction’). Customer Centricity is about “aligning all your business processes and operations to put the customer first and in the center of everything.” Customer Centricity is critical as a foundation for one primary reason…when there are decisions to be made about which direction to go or what changes to make, you ask yourself whether this will improve the customers experience and life or will it detract from it. Being Customer Centric makes this decision much easier for leadership and management…and ultimately your employees. It is a critical foundation to have inside your company to begin to differentiate.
CUSTOMER OBSESSION takes you beyond where Customer Centricity leaves off…it INFUSES THE EMOTIONAL COMPONENT TO CUSTOMER CENTRICITY.
Customer Obsession adds in the element of “how does this make our customer feel” after any interaction with our company. It not only focuses on helping make their lives easier but also focuses on how it makes them feel when we are helping them in some way. Words that are more in alignment with Customer Obsession would be, DID WE MAKE THEM FEEL…
When your customer has these emotions attached to their experience with your organization and when they interact with all your employees, they become “emotionally attached” to the company and your people. And when someone is emotionally attached, it is much harder to break that bond…meaning it’s much harder for the competition to tear them away from their relationship with your company. This added “emotional connection” is the superglue to customer centricity and what takes you to an entirely new level. This is at the core of what CUSTOMER OBSESSION. It is also why it is so important for an organization to aspire to if they want to build LOYALTY AND ADVOCACY with their customers.
And when an organization has been able to achieve Loyalty and Advocacy, the competition becomes more irrelevant with every interaction they have with you. It is also what builds in “price elasticity” where you can command a certain premium because of the way you obsess over your customers. In other words, the customer is willing to pay you more when they are emotionally connected to your organization because of the way you make them feel. It can also give you a greater “share of wallet” per customer because they are typically willing to spend more of their dollars with a company that makes them FEEL AWESOME!!
One final, yet critically important element you get with Customer Obsession and what ultimately pushes this even further over the edge…beyond Customer Centricity…WORD-OF-MOUTH! When a customer feels you truly are obsessing over them, feels special and important, and knows that your company is all about helping improve their life…they talk about you. And in the Internet Revolution and the mass adoption of social media, they talk about you a lot…and to very large audiences. From our research, over 70% of the conversations that happen on social media are “experiential”…meaning they are talking about some type of experience as opposed to products and services. With this volume of conversation about the experience they have had (or are having) they have become a mouthpiece for your company.
When a customer is a mouthpiece, they become your ADVOCATE and are not shy about sharing how awesome, incredible, and REMARKABLE you are as an organization…and how amazing you make them feel. THIS IS ZERO COST MARKETING when your audience is doing the marketing for you. Tony Hsieh of Zappos figured this out early on and built a company to over a billion dollars in sales in less than 10 years on this core belief. When your customers know you are obsessed with helping them improve their life and give them a REMARKABLE EXPERIENCE, they tell others. This is (and always has been) the most credible form of marketing.
I hope this has inspired you, as the head or leader of your organization, to rethink where you are with your customers and to give you more insights into what it looks like to have both a CUSTOMER CENTRIC FOUNDATION with a strategy for becoming a CUSTOMER OBSESSED ORGANIZATION.
Thanks for reading…If you found this helpful, please hit the share ‘like’ and ‘share’ buttons below. It not only means a lot to me but it helps other people see the story. And if this resonated with you, please visit my WOM10 site and read more posts like this one…have an awesome day!