Are You Customer Obsessed? Here's Why You Should Be
October 21, 2021
Obsessions aren’t created equal. Some are healthy. Others? Not so much. But if your company wants to cut through all the noise, being obsessed with your customers isn’t just smart. It’s downright necessary.
What does being customer-obsessed mean, though? It begins with the mindset of giving the buyer your full attention. Yes, you’re selling a product or a service (or both). Accordingly, you want what you’re delivering to be the best. However, if you don’t pay attention to your customers and cultivate your relationship with them, you will never move past the initial courtship stage and into a strong, committed partnership.
Of course, obsessing over your customers doesn’t mean you have to give in to whatever they want. Customers are always right—to a point. They’re not always right about how your company can deliver what they need, though. That’s why you must start your relationship with all buyers on a collaborative, friendly, “I’m going to listen to you” note. By basing your initial interactions on sharing and respect, you set the foundation for trust ... and maybe even a two-way street of devotion.
How the Courtship of Customers Mirrors a Typical Courtship
Think back to what happens on a first date. You make discoveries about one another. You see if your interests align. You patiently exchange thoughts, questions, answers, and ideas. When the date ends, you decide how you want to proceed.
When you’re a company obsessed with your customers, you act similarly. You commit to getting to know your customers. You exhibit patience as your buyers make their choices. More than anything else, you meet shoppers where they are and value them no matter where they are on their journey with you.
Let’s face it: Sometimes a customer may not be ready to jump into a commitment with you. Does that make them less valuable? Not at all. You need to have self-awareness to acknowledge that all customers have the right to exercise their minds. They have the right to wait. When you give them the gift of space, you open the door to forging stronger bonds down the road.
Never forget that a customer might be someone who hasn’t bought from you—yet. By treating prospects like customers who matter, you honor them with your deference and kindness. After all, they may be on the cusp of a major purchase. You never know.
Tips to Move Toward a Customer-Obsessed Culture
Making customer obsession a cornerstone of your corporate culture won’t happen immediately. It can happen sooner rather than later when you put a few strategies into motion.
1. Gain (or regain) sight of who your customers are.
It can be easy to forget that your customers fall into myriad buckets. Spend time understanding them so you better identify and serve their needs. For instance, some customers may love everything you do — they love your product, love its packaging, and love being connected with your brand. Other customers may be more connected to science -- they appreciate your technology and want education on the development of your product or the science behind how it works.
The more you can understand the behavior and needs of your customers, the closer you can get to meeting them where they are. From that point, you can build and expand your relationship in a way that makes sense.
2. Treat customers in authentic ways.
Many companies may talk about being authentic but then struggle to be consistent across all customer touchpoints. It’s important to customers, and one bad experience can undermine several good ones. Any contact you or your representatives have with customers should align completely with your organizational DNA, purpose and brand positioning.
Take the topic of empowerment and diversity, for example. These things are not just important to me, but to Nu Skin as well. Our goal is to provide diverse opportunities, and we’re investing time, talent and resources toward achieving that goal. If we were to somehow act against it when connecting with customers, we would cause an imbalance in our relationships with them.
Instead, we demonstrate our inherent companywide beliefs during all customer touchpoints.
3. Focus your efforts on retaining customers.
In the future, customer management is going to become increasingly critical to all businesses. Specifically, this means keeping customers happy. It is always less expensive and more beneficial to retain a customer than to try to win them back. Yes, you can persuade them to come back, often by leveraging incentives like discounts or special offers. But with every re-engagement, it becomes harder and harder to keep their attention. Plus, you may end up spending a lot of money in the process.
How many times can you beg someone to return to you with a special discount, trial offer or free gift? Eventually, the customer comes back for a shorter and shorter period until they’re no longer a customer at all. So doing whatever you can to delight them early and keep them committed often makes more sense all around.
4. Treat customer obsession as an ongoing initiative.
Customer obsession isn’t a one-and-done deal. It’s always growing and evolving because your customer base is always changing. You may be in a growth cycle one quarter and just maintaining momentum the next. Regardless, you can’t afford to put your customer care initiatives on autopilot. Complacency is the first step on the road to a major loss in your customer service focus and quality.
It may sound hard to make customers a top business priority from now until the end of time. It will get easier. As customer obsession becomes a guiding principle in your organization, you and all your team members will start making customer-centric choices by instinct.
I’ve saved the best news for last: You’re not the only entity in the buying relationship to show some obsession. Customers can get just as obsessed with your brand. When the obsession runs both ways, you’ll enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship that will stand the test of time.
Chief Growth and Customer Experience Officer