Is your organization focused on your customer or obsessed with your customer? There’s a huge difference. Post 1 of our Seven Steps to CX Nirvana series explores what customer-obsessed organizations do differently and the steps you can take to put customer delight at the very heart of everything you do.
How to Become a Customer-Obsessed Organization
Let me guess. You’ve heard “listen to your customer” somewhere before. Not exactly groundbreaking advice in 2019.
But for most organizations, the goal of listening has always been selling, or creating a more appealing product. And yes, of course you need to sell the right product or service to the right customer. But sales isn’t enough anymore, not nearly enough.
Staying competitive today means positioning customer experience at the center of everything you do. Every part of your organization — not just customer service and support — must become obsessed with customer experience. Make no mistake. It is king, queen, and everything in between.
Customer Obsession Starts with Your Customer
The first step in becoming a customer-obsessed organization is understanding your ideal customer’s story and your role in it. Hint: they are the star, and it’s their show. This will never change.
But today, winning and retaining customers has much more to do with their interaction with your brand at every touch point. It isn’t that your products and services don’t matter. Of course they do. But consumers now expect the white-glove, red carpet treatment, and today’s “over-delivering” becomes tomorrow’s basic expectation.
In fact, customer experience is projected to become the key differentiator of successful organizations. More and more, consumer feelings and attitudes about you are your business, not a part of your business.
Are you obsessed with your customer experience yet? If not, maybe this will motivate you. A study by HotJar sorted companies into mature, competent, novice, and ignore. 37% of mature companies, compared to only 19% of those considered “ignore” prioritize and value customer experience more than any other goal, including increasing sales. Clearly, they understand that the game has changed.
The Hard Part: Buy-In and Alignment
Reorienting your organization around customer experience isn’t easy or simple. Even with a sound strategy, you’ll encounter confusion and pushback. Departments and teams that haven’t traditionally been customer-facing will need time to process this new way of thinking. Your engineers might tell you they didn’t sign on to work in customer service.
So expect resistance. But persist, above all. Without alignment and unity, you’re unlikely to create the necessary change. Instead, you’ll find yourself applying Band-Aids and other temporary fixes, and they won’t be enough to keep up with skyrocketing customer expectations.
It’s also crucial not to assume that everyone will “get it” the first time. Or the second. New paradigms mean an ongoing commitment to seeing it through, and accountability for everyone.
What Customer Experience-Obsessed Companies Do Differently
Again, becoming a customer-obsessed organization demands a clear strategy. Your customers won’t be fooled by a few superficial changes. But in case you’re wondering what best practice looks like today, here are a few things cx-focused organizations are doing differently.
- Commit to hiring people with a customer-obsessed mindset
- Educate and retrain existing staff
- Relentlessly simplify every point of customer contact to remove friction
- Monitor social media mentions and respond fast. Understand that waiting until the “next business day” is a relic of the past
- Get creative and find ways to overdeliver and delight customers
- Personalize experiences everywhere possible
- Reduce jargon everywhere and use a conversational, approachable voice in all communications
- Offer seamless interactions, so customers can transition easily from one channel to the next
- Focus on an omni-channel approach for customer convenience
- Design consistent experiences across all channels
There’s an upside to all the work required to become a customer-obsessed organization, though. Your competitors will need to put in just as much work. And that means an opening for you. Every cultural shift brings both challenge and opportunity.
If you’d like to prioritize customer experience throughout your company but need an outside perspective, feel free to reach out to me. I look forward to discussing challenges, opportunity, and strategy with you.