Businesses exist to serve the customers. This principle forms a key driving force for strategy development. When a business obsesses over customers, it has a laser focus on doing what is best for customers. This laser focus facilitates prioritization of product development, investments, and operational decisions.
There are 3 key elements to customer obsession.
The products and services a business offers aim to solve a problem for the customer. The solution might eliminate a need to tackle an unpleasant task or acquire the ability to complete a time-consuming chore quickly.
Understanding customer needs is a pre-requisite for need fulfillment. What is the true issue? What options are available in the market? What does an ideal solution look like?
The best way to understand needs is to talk to the customers directly. Gather input on what they seek. Without gathering their input, you might be creating something they don’t want.
In the event that you are creating something new, it is still a good idea to test drive a prototype before investing heavily.
In developing the strategy for new offerings, it would be wise to reach out to your customers, including non-customers, and learn about needs.
Meeting expectations is no longer sufficient to keep customers loyal. Exceeding expectations is becoming a norm.
Apart from delivering the basic promise that a solution will function, implicit expectations such as customer support on product usage, defective product replacement, and timely repair cannot be ignored.
These implicit expectations usually relate to customer touchpoints, hence, operations of the business.
Are the contact centre agents proficient in providing product usage instructions and trouble-shooting? Does the customer need to go through hoops to get a replacement product? Does the repair cycle time minimize the time the customer needs to endure without your product?
Your commitment to exceed expectations is manifest through customer experience. Post-sale experience is just as important as the purchase experience, if not more.
The perception on value varies. While some would place price paid for your product a key determinant of value, others might place more emphasis on reliability and support.
As businesses migrate to the self-help model for trouble-shooting for instance, it is important to do frequent temperature checks with customers to see if the model works for them. Some customers have the time and don’t mind spending the time to explore. Others would prefer quick resolution to minimize interruption to their routines.
From the business’s perspective, the self-help model reduces expenses associated with customer support. However, it could be a turnoff to certain customer groups.
So it is important to understand what constitutes value for the customer segments you serve. Making decisions based on trends and presumptions could be a risky proposition.
With unrelenting commitment to customer obsession, there is little second-guessing when questions arise about priority. Alignment across the organization expedites decision-making and delivery of business outcomes.