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5 steps to kickstart your customer obsession journey

5 Minute Read

Anthony ChiulliDirector of Product Marketing

Are you ready to take your enterprise to the next level? The key is to center customers at the heart of everything you do. In my recent webinar “A Practical Way to Customer Obsession,” I had the privilege of chatting with guest Shar VanBoskirk, Forrester VP, Principal Analyst, to explore the transformative power of customer obsession and share actionable steps for making it the driving force behind your organization’s success. From understanding the key benefits and hallmarks of customer-obsessed companies to implementing practical steps to kickstart your journey, I’ll provide a roadmap for harnessing the power of customer obsession to drive growth, foster loyalty, and create lasting customer connections.

The benefits of embracing customer obsession

Before we dive into the practical steps, let’s talk about why customer obsession matters. Companies that truly embrace customer obsession enjoy a multitude of benefits, including:

  • Accelerated revenue growth: Customer-obsessed companies grow their revenue 1.6 times faster than their counterparts.
  • Improved customer retention: By putting the customer at the center of everything they do, these companies foster loyalty and keep customers coming back. Delta Airlines, for example, made operational changes like backing planes out at a 45-degree angle and stocking repair parts to improve on-time arrivals, ultimately boosting customer satisfaction and retention.
  • Boosted employee engagement: When a company is customer-obsessed, employees feel more connected to the mission and are more motivated to deliver exceptional experiences.

On the other hand, companies that fail to prioritize customer obsession risk falling behind. They may lose market share to more customer-centric competitors and see their revenue decline over time. A billion-dollar retailer could lose up to $37 million over 12 years by not investing in customer obsession. That’s a mistake no enterprise can afford to make.

The four hallmarks of customer-obsessed companies

So, what does it mean to be customer-obsessed? Here are four key characteristics that set customer-obsessed companies apart:

  1. They are customer-led, not just customer aware. They don’t just know who their customers are; they use a deep understanding of customer needs, wants, and motivations to guide every aspect of their strategy. Revolve, for example, uses social media data to determine sourcing, inventory, and product strategies based on customer trends.
  2. They are insights-driven, not just data-rich. They don’t just collect data; they derive meaningful insights from it and use those insights to inform decision-making.
  3. They are fast, not perfect. They prioritize speed and iteration over perfection, allowing them to respond quickly to changing customer needs.
  4. They are connected, not siloed. They break down internal barriers and foster collaboration across departments to create seamless, cohesive customer experiences.

5 steps to start implementing your customer obsession strategy

Now that we understand the benefits and hallmarks of customer obsession, let’s talk about how to start putting it into practice. Here are five actionable steps you can take to begin your customer obsession journey:

  1. Use email as a strategic tool: Email is more than just a promotional channel. With the help of an advanced email marketing platform, it can be a powerful tool for identifying customers across platforms, conducting market research, and building long-lasting relationships. Cordial client Adore Me uses a shopper’s email address to identify users across mobile push and SMS and deliver personalized product recommendations based on a unified customer view, resulting in a 4x increase in click rates.
  2. Create interactive email experiences: Engage customers within the email itself by incorporating interactive elements. Cordial client Orveon, a leading beauty company, continued website quiz conversations via email to capture valuable first-party customer data and increase conversions by 3x. 
  3. Empower your email team: Your email team is key to customer obsession. Equip them with the technology to nurture their creativity, foster collaboration, and leverage data-driven insights. By empowering your email team, you can create more meaningful, personalized experiences for your customers. For example, Cordial client L.L.Bean uses email to strengthen brand relationships by tailoring content to individual customer tastes, sending a mix of educational guides to some and editorial features to others based on their preferences.
  4. Practice empathy: Empathy is at the heart of customer obsession. Listen, interpret, act, and monitor to practice empathy and create human connections with customers through email and other touchpoints. Continuously listen to feedback, interpret it for actionable insights, act on those insights, and monitor results.
  5. Start small, but start now: Becoming customer-obsessed is a journey. Don’t wait for the perfect moment to start putting the customer at the center of your strategy. And don’t think of it as a trade-off with other priorities. Begin by establishing mechanisms to listen to, collect, and act on customer feedback. Take small steps each day to integrate customer insights into your decision-making, and watch your customer obsession grow.

By implementing these practical strategies and focusing on the customer at every turn, you can start your journey toward becoming truly customer-obsessed. The road ahead may be challenging, but the rewards – in terms of revenue growth, customer loyalty, and employee engagement – are well worth the effort. So take that first step today, and watch your organization transform as you put the customer at the heart of everything you do.