By Bailey Ames and Carly Cope
We get it. You are grinding, day-in and day-out, to do what is best for your company. You are hyper- focused on your numbers, have a close eye on your competitors and provide good service to your growing customer base. On paper, it seems like you’re doing all the right things. But are you customer-obsessed?
Many companies aren’t placing enough emphasis on the most critical driver of success –their customers (coming in at #2, just behind your employees –your most valuable assets). To do business right, you need to not only be customer-centric, but customer-obsessed.
What does customer-obsession mean?
Every single thing you do, from conception through execution, centers around the customers’ needs and wants – and this mentality is built into your core values (Think: Zappos)
Every person in your organization has a deep understanding of who their customers are and why our solutions matter to them specifically (Think: Patagonia)
Working with you is easy and seamless throughout every step of the customer journey (Think: JetBlue)
Why does customer-obsession matter?
You have competitors and they are currently knocking on your customers’ doors. In this digital age of social networking and content sharing, your customers can find your competitors easily.
Customers have a louder voice than ever before. They are not only sharing their experiences on brands’ websites, Facebook, and other social sites, they are impacting the purchasing decisions their peers make. In fact, in a recent study from Moz.com, shows that online reviews impact close to 70% of people’s purchasing decisions.
Are you customer obsessed?
Be honest. In fact, go ahead and give your company a grade, A through F, on how customer obsessed you really are.
You may think you focus on your customers, but the real question is – are you obsessed with them? Are you making their experiences remarkable? In this highly competitive market, it is critical that you stand out above the rest. Brand loyalty isn’t the same as it used to be. Your customers have more choices than ever before, and they aren’t afraid to try new things if their needs aren’t being met 66% of consumers who switch bands do so because of a poor customer experience.
Here are 5 things you must do to become customer-obsessed.
This is about getting outside of your comfort zone and asking the tough questions. Sit down with your team and ask them the same question that we are asking you – are we customer obsessed?
Also explore these questions:
1 – RESET
What are we doing really well when it comes to the customer experience?
What could we be doing better, across every department, to be more focused on the customer’s experience?
What are our competitors doing better than us?
How do we make our customer’s experience not just great, but remarkable?
This type of reset is critical to gauge where you are and where you need to be – and it starts with slowing down, zooming out, and challenging yourself and your team to be better and be MORE for your customers.
2 – LISTEN
If we were to guess, we would say your company deploys some sort of customer feedback survey Surveys are a good way to gauge customer satisfaction – but it’s not enough. You have to dig deeper and actually LISTEN to what they have to say. This will allow you to better understand who your customers are and have insight on their motivation and what they consider important.
Pick up the phone and call your customers – and commit to being present and actively listening. Engage in a real conversation. Ask them the tough questions: What they like or dislike about working with you? What could your company do better to meet their needs?
“A remarkable customer experience starts with heart, intuition, curiosity, play, guts, taste. You won’t find any of it in a survey.” – Jeff Bezos
3 – IMPLEMENT
Take your customers’ feedback and turn it into action. Commit to learning from them and strive to meet their needs by providing what they are looking for and more. The insight we gather from our customers is our blueprint to success and roadmap for innovation.
4 – MAKE IT REMARKABLE
The standard for most companies is to simply meet customers’ expectations – that is not good enough. To stand out, we have to EXCEED our customers’ expectations – over promise AND over deliver. In order to make our customers’ experiences working with us truly remarkable, we need to set new standards. Here are things you can do:
Show Gratitude: Think about it – your customers are the ones that keep your lights on. They determine whether or not you are going to have a successful year. They help you provide for your family. Without your customers, your business is nothing. It only makes sense for you to show gratitude to them in every interaction you have. Pick up the phone and call them. Thank them for their time and their commitment to your company. Write a hand written thank you note. These seemingly small gestures move mountains in building deeper, stronger connections.
Recommend: Share with your customers your favorite businesses, services, or products you think they would appreciate. Build your community by making connections with your customers and other businesses you work with. This is a small world – make it even smaller.
Participate: Show your customers you value them by giving them your time. Be a part of their world and connect on what is most important to them. Attend a community event that is important to them. Ask them how their family is doing, how their weekend was, what they enjoy doing. Taking the time to participate in their world will undoubtedly go a long way.
Educate: As humans, it is natural for us to want to learn and grow. Share your knowledge and experience with your customers by recommending a book, sharing an article, or inviting them to an industry event.
5 – EVALUATE
How will we know if we are customer-obsessed? What does “good” look like? Yes, you can measure success in some tangible, quantifiable ways (think: NPS score, customer retention, participation, lifetime value) and that is important. Make your gathering of qualitative insights just as important. This means taking the time to measure our progress along the way – gather customers’ thoughts based on actual conversations, distilling those discussions into common trends, and creating an action plan for improvement.
Here are a few key steps to help you navigate this process:
Establish a regular cadence for collecting feedback from across the company (quantitative and qualitative)
Assign a category to each piece of feedback (i.e. product/service quality, customer service, competitive insight, etc.)
Analyze the feedback by category and identify key trends
Prioritize trends across categories
Begin mapping action plans and owners for the top priorities
Remember, no matter how good we think we are, there is always room for better. Make sure you find those moments on your journey to truly slow down, so you can move more purposefully and swiftly to flawlessly execute. Follow these steps, and you will never lose sight of your customer.