Fortune Favours the Obsessed
Businesses may think they have a strong customer service mindset, but do they really?
We live in a time where consumer choice has skyrocketed through the roof. The option to switch, cancel or leave a provider is not only easy, but sometimes encouraged.
This explosion of choice and demand means an entirely new level of focus on the customer is needed. It requires more than just a customer-led attitude. It requires what we’re referring to as an obsessive customer mindset.
While the importance of customer service seems obvious, many companies don’t realise how the benefits of obsession go much further. Success in this arena requires listening, observing and directing constant personal attention on the customer so that their needs and wants are deeply understood. In other words, it’s more than just service, it’s a fixation.
Being service-led in this way can make you stand out from the crowd. The biggest threat is not another disruptor business, but a company with obsessive customer service.
America, the Land of Customer Obsession
To see what obsession looks like, one only has to look across the pond to America where top companies like Amazon and Apple are leading the way with their customer-service mantras.
Jeff Bezos has repeatedly said in interviews that the reason Amazon exists as it does is because of their obsession with customer service. Amazon has built its enormous success on a continuous and intense customer-centric approach which is about delivering efficiency, low prices and ease of use.
Apple, on the other hand, has also created its own empire by being obsessed with customers, but with a slightly different focus on improving the customer experience. Apple tapped into this method early on by observing customers’ experience after they used their products. This sole focus on delivering the best experience has resulted in their famously beautiful products and sleek, streamlined service.
While these two companies differ slightly in the way they obsess over their customers, what they share is a philosophy that says everything begins with the customer.
As Steve Jobs says, “you’ve got to start with the customer experience first and work back to the technology, not with ‘let’s sit down with the engineers and figure out what awesome technology we have to offer’”. Similarly, Jeff Bezos maintains that “customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf”.
What’s abundantly clear about these companies is their pillar of success is built on the foundation of customers, not their products. This obsession filters through to every customer touchpoint and ensures the highest quality of service is delivered, every time.
How Can You Become Obsessive Too?
So how do you develop this mindset? A good place to start is to imagine yourself in the shoes of your customer. Develop an empathy of what it’s like to be them or what they might be thinking and feeling.
Second, be curious. Demonstrate a genuine inquisitiveness about what your customers want. Ask questions. Find out why they’re acting in a certain way. Listen deeply.
And lastly, spend less time talking about what you can do or deliver and more time asking how you can help. In other words, be there for your customer.
How? Take the ‘Mayday’ button on the Amazon Kindle device, for example, where a pop-up technician provides 24/7 support. Or, in-store and online at Apple, where you can solve a tech problem almost immediately because staff are trained to ask the right questions and get to the heart of customer needs.
Whatever the method, constantly reaching to the customer with curiosity and establishing a mindset of obsessive service is not only important, it’s vital. We need to adopt this approach towards service or expect to lose ground to those businesses that put the customer at the heart of everything.
Simply put, without an obsessive customer service mindset, you’re dead.