Customer Obsession in the Post Covid World

 

February 10, 2022

“I have seen over and over again companies talk about being customer-focused,” Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has said, “but really when I pay close attention to them I believe they are competitor focused, and it’s a completely different mentality, by the way.”

Bezos went on to explain that being competitor focused requires you to “wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.”

“Customer Obsessed”

“Customer-focused,” though, is just a more corporatized way of saying what he actually meant — customer-obsessed. That principal is famously first and foremost among Amazon’s core values and leadership principles. But there’s a wide chasm between focus and obsession and transitioning from one to the other necessitates a whole new level of commitment and innovation.

As we enter year three of a hugely disruptive global pandemic, experts say, a whole new level is what’s required to survive and thrive. Even before the pandemic, Forbes noted, “To evolve as a business, you must be willing to disrupt your own status quo and be a part of the wave of change rather than behind it.” That’s what obsession is about.

As a recent and expansive Accenture survey of 1,550 executives in 21 countries across 22 industries noted, we’re now in the midst of “an experience renaissance… that is galvanizing companies to push beyond the CX philosophy and organize the whole business around the delivery of exceptional experiences. These experiences must respond to customers’ new, often unmet and frequently changing needs and enable them to achieve their desired outcomes. This is the Business of Experience (BX).

“An evolution of CX, BX is a more holistic approach that allows organizations to become customer-obsessed and reignite growth. Whereas CX was limited to the chief marketing officer’s (CMO) or chief operating officer’s (COO) purview, BX is in the boardroom as a CEO priority because it ties back to every aspect of a company’s operations. In fact, 77% of CEOs said their company will fundamentally change the way it engages and interacts with its customers.”

The bottom line, both literally and figuratively: Those companies that fully embraced Accenture’s top BX practices were found to be at least six times more profitable year-over-year than their competitors. If that’s not a good enough reason to up your game, what is?

The Netflix Difference

A good example of BX excellence, Information Week wrote last spring, is the streaming video platform Netflix. Why? The company is constantly redefining itself and its relationship to customers. Rather than being hemmed in by a certain type of technology or product, they’re “defined by the change they continually create in what entertainment experiences can become.”

According to Baiju Shah, Accenture Interactive’s Chief Strategy Officer, a robust recovery from the global pandemic requires much more than simply instituting measures that will speed up recuperation and spur future growth. It necessitates a major overhaul — recalibrating, redesigning, reimagining.

Doing so, he added, should be viewed as a “massive opportunity for those organizations who don’t just observe the shift in expectations, but shape-shift their organization with the ambition of creating new value through new meaningful and authentic experiences for both their customers and their employees. Business leaders already recognize this. In fact, almost 80% of CEOS say they feel the need to deeply reimagine how they engage with and treat their customers…. But this requires companies to push well beyond what we think of as traditional customer experience for CX today.”

Notable Data

Other key findings from Accenture’s study:

  • Around 60% of outperforming companies (double the percentage compared to other respondents) acknowledged that they need to stand for something bigger than the products and services they sell and that they expect to always seek the best outcomes for their customers.
  • Leading companies are twice as likely (55% versus 26%) to say they have the ability to translate customer data into actions. But many of these same leaders say that there are limits to their data and what they can do as a result. To be truly customer obsessed, companies need better ways to dig deep and uncover these needs.
  • Just over half of leading companies (about 53%) say that customers expect them to continuously innovate with more relevant products, services and experiences that adapt to their needs and set new standards, versus just 31% of their peers.
  • Among leading companies today, 61% say their company has a clear view of which technology platforms they need to leverage in order to remain competitive and relevant to customers—compared to only 27% of their peers.

Being empathetic toward your customers and taking a proactive approach to their needs are vitally important business practices, too, but obsession trumps them both. Because if you’re not obsessed, you’re not fully engaged — and customers will sense that. Especially in today’s marketplace, where options abound no matter the product or service, taking your eye off the proverbial ball can have dire consequences.

Factors Impacting Your Customer Experience

“Part of being obsessed with customer experience is continually assessing how your processes are meeting customer needs and, even better, predicting them,” the Forbes Young Entrepreneur Council noted in 2019. “Be obsessed with identifying customer pain points. It will help you reduce the company pain point of customer churn.”

Accenture’s Shah agrees. Much more than merely “optimizing a touch point or launching a new work stream,” he said, customer obsession is “a totally different way of working, and it becomes a top priority across the entire C-Suite.

“And it really pays off.”

There’s more to learn. Talk with one of our experts today about what steps you can take to enhance customer touch points. Sign up for our one-on-one virtual or in-person whiteboard session.

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