Obsession is one of those words that can have two meanings. For today’s discussion we’re talking about the positive use of the word, not the Fatal Attraction type of obsession. While most successful companies say they are customer-focused or are built to be customer-centric, it’s easy to spot their flaws. When I think of a company that provides good customer service, I think of Nordstrom and Costco. On the flip side, I once dealt with a company that claimed to be customer-centric but they made things difficult for me when I wanted to return an item. Granted, I didn’t have the receipt but the tags were clearly from that store.
So how do the experts define “customer obsession”? In a recent e-Spirit/Forrester Consulting webinar Forrester analyst Stephen Powers defined it as:
A customer-obsessed company focuses its strategy, its energy, and its budget on processes that enhance knowledge of and engagement with customers and prioritizes these over maintaining traditional competitive barriers.
One example that Powers gave during the webinar was about Tesco. The short version of the story is that in South Korea Tesco gathered information from their customers about how they like to grocery shop. Customers said that busy work and commute schedules meant that getting to the grocery store was difficult. So Tesco deployed kiosks at commuter stops so that customers could order groceries online and have the items delivered to their home for a small fee. Tesco made the kiosks very user-friendly and the ordering process was similar to what you would see on a consumer-friendly website such as Amazon. To me that shows that Tesco is “customer obsessed” since the entire program was designed to make life easier for the customer.
Why am I, a Web content management (WCM) person, talking about customer obsession? The Tesco example shows how technology can help your organization to be more customer-centric, and your web presence is an integral part of that. From a WCM or customer experience management (CXM) perspective, Powers offered these steps as a starting point:
- Focus on increasing your site’s personalization capabilities
- Ensure that customer service channels bubble up to management so that customers feel that they are being heard