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Business Intelligence


How Customer-Obsessed Are You?

Business Intelligence / 8.30.19 / By Diana Osgood

If your answer is a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale, you’re in good company with Amazon and Netflix, two businesses that have transformed whole industries by learning from (not just listening to) the customer.

And let’s not forget Disney, which is constantly co-creating with customers, and P&G, which uses an observation lab to learn about consumer habits and embraces customers as true partners. When you adapt this learning mindset, you become a problem finder rather than a problem solver. You begin to deliver on unanticipated future needs rather than simply understanding current wants.

The word “obsession” is infused with emotion. It imbues “passion.” It’s the perfect word to describe something you're over-the-top committed to or completely behind. When we attach this powerful word to a customer, it takes it well beyond customer centricity and light-years ahead of customer satisfaction. Customer obsession infuses an emotional component to customer centricity.

Being customer-obsessed means your customers are in the driver’s seat.
You could argue that customers should have as much say in conversations as board members have. Jeff Bezos says that what has made Amazon successful BY FAR is “an obsessive-compulsive focus on the customer as opposed to obsession over the competition.” He believes “it is the best and only path to success that remains hidden to many companies.”

10 tips to creating a customer-obsessed culture

  1. Make your customers the NORTH STAR
  2. Start with the customer and WORK BACKWARD
  3. Know WHY they act/make decisions a certain way
  4. Become a truly INSIGHT-driven business
  5. HUNT for counterintuitive patterns in metrics
  6. OBSERVE your customers' quirks (beyond what the data says)
  7. Pay attention to their IRRATIONAL BEHAVIOR and what makes customers unique
  8. WALK in your customers' shoes
  9. PREDICT the unpredictable and ANTICIPATE your customers’ needs before they know them
  10. Make it every department’s MISSION within your company

At the heart of customer obsession lies your brand

Obsessing over your customers means obsessing over a brand that can exceed your customers’ every need. When your customer feels something when experiencing your brand, they become emotionally attached to your company and your employees, and are more likely to recommend you to others (three times more, in fact). And when that happens, it’s much harder to break that bond.

So what IS your brand promise? How do you deliver on that? And why should this matter to the consumers or businesses you want to attract?


Diana Osgood

Diana Osgood is DS+CO’s vice president of strategy and customer insights, helping our clients understand their audiences and the right positioning to drive action.