Excellent article in a recent edition of CIO entitled, “Four Attributes of Customer Obsession.”
Forrester believes the only source of competitive advantage in the next decade will be customer obsession.
A customer-obsessed company focuses its strategy, energy and budget on processes that enhance knowledge of and engagement with customers and prioritizes these over maintaining traditional competitive barriers.
This is consistent with John Wooden and Dean Smith’s philosophy of running your offense and defense so well, you really don’t need to be concerned with what your competition is doing.
It is no longer sufficient to simply be customer-centric or customer-focused.
To succeed, companies must become customer-obsessed.
This is not just a matter of dealing with the tactical touch points of the web, contact center or sales person. You must have an integrated approach which applies to all relevant stakeholders.
In the era of customer obsession, organizations with intimate knowledge of their customers will succeed, white the organization that keeps focusing on the competition will be left behind.
Forrester defined four key attributes for customer-obsessed companies:
- Nimble — Emphasize speed over strength. Customer-obsessed companies embrace the rapid pursuit of customers in new markets and new channels as well as the importance of responding to customers quickly, seamlessly and in the customer’s interest.
- Flexible — Value versatility over lock-in. Lock-in mechanisms like mobile phone contracts, proprietary technology and frequent flyer programs don’t create loyalty, they create barriers to leaving. Customer obsession gives customers a reason to stay rather than a reason not to leave.
- Global — Embrace worldwide supplies, demand and markets. Current and emerging competitors are finding new markets and more efficient sourcing models. Sourcing and selling from a single country is a losing proposition. Look for opportunities to leverage the global talent pool and build competency and efficiency across services.
- Smart — Provide information-rich services rather than dumb products or transactions. The new consumer uses channels, especially mobile channels, to seek information everywhere, instantly. Your customers can scan bar codes in your store and know your competitors prices. However, they’re in your store, so provide them with an outstanding experience so they will not even consider going to your competitor.
What are you doing to go beyond being customer-focused to being customer-obsessed?