Amazon, Starbucks, Nike, Apple, Google: they sell different products; they have peculiar storytelling, identity and archetypes; they are true to distinctive business principles and company mantra.
But one thing they have in common. One single element, more and more critical in this era of technology disruption: they all put their customer at the core of their strategy. They are customer-obsessed brands.
Are you positively obsessed with customers?
Too many brands pay lip service to the importance of a customer-centric approach to marketing, but do they really understand its true implication and impact? Digital transformation for the Age of the Customer requires that you are ready to step in and turn your organization upside down.
“We decided that we wanted our brand to not be about shoes, but about delivering the very best customer experience.” With these few words Tony Hsieh, CEO of online shoes and clothing shop Zappos, has summed up the very nature of customer obsession in competitive market environments.
It’s not just the acknowledgement that clients are crucial for success in the short term; it’s a full-time commitment to create genuine engagement in the long term and, ultimately, impact the bottom line by delivering the most amazing customer experience possible. And you can only achieve this goal if you - and your employees - are fully convinced that the customer 'is' your business.
A recent research by Bain & Company reveals the positive effects of customer obsession: a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25% to 95%. That's why the most loved brands prioritize customer experience: according to Forrester’s Customer Index, 39% of outperforming companies have developed a fully integrated omni-channel strategy, connecting the physical and digital experience.
There is a reason Amazon, Google and Apple lead their industries: they don’t just listen to their customers; they give them a seat at the boardroom table and engage them in a two-way communication, as true partners in the development process.
“We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they’re the reason we’re successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.” (Jeff Bezos)
We live in a new era where the decision power has shifted back from brands to the people; an era where one single sale means nothing while loyalty delivers all the value. And numbers tell the whole story. Empowered customers love to be involved:
- 70% of buying experiences are based on how clients feel they are being treated;
- 86% of customers say they are willing to pay more for a product/service if they get a better customer experience;
- 60-70% is the probability of selling to an existing client; just 5-20% is the probability of selling to a new customer;
- 64% of clients think that customer experience is more critical than price when they need to choose between two or more brands.
So, what do customer-obsessed brands do differently than all others?
ALIGN IDENTITY WITH CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
They don’t just talk, they walk. Customer-obsessed companies know that customer experience management and brand strategy are not responsibility of different departments. They live across the entire organization and contribute to shape consistent identity, storytelling and engagement.
INNOVATE TO IMPROVE THE EXPERIENCE
They always listen before they talk. Customer-obsessed companies are well-aware that clients know them more than they know themselves; so they constantly work to innovate and find new ways, new channels and new devices - did you say Apple Watch? - to improve engagement and retain their loyalty. They are never afraid to try.
ADD A HUMAN TOUCH TO THE CONNECTION
They share love. Brands and customers are both absorbed in an increasingly automated ecosystem. Technology sets the schedule of our daily life and the customer journey becomes a melting of digital and analog moments. We are facing the dawn of a human algorithm, where people demand a human connection in their digital customer experience.
ALWAYS PREFER INBOUND TO OUTBOUND
They offer value. Customer-obsessed companies understand that traditional marketing funnels are not efficient anymore. The top-down push strategy may have been perfect with passive consumers; it surely does not work with customers hard to please. Top brands, thereby, are embracing the power of inbound marketing, replacing interruption with attraction.
USE DATA TO GAIN CUSTOMER INSIGHTS
They analyze. Wherever you look, you find a potential source of data, information about competitors, markets and customers. The spread of mobile devices and the Internet of Things will only accelerate the process. Customer-obsessed companies take advantage of Big Data to gain useful insights and improve their output, day after day.
In one sentence (courtesy of Forrester, again): by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. And you will be judged not just by the quality of what you sell, but also - and even more - by the quality of the experience you offer across all touch points and devices.
Start with the customer and work backwards.
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To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.