Customer Obsession: What is it and How Will it Help Your Business Grow?

In recent years, the term “customer obsession” has become widespread and often misinterpreted in the business world. While many businesses are adept at focusing on and serving their customers’ requirements, they are missing out on enormous possibilities to develop deeper, more enduring relationships. 

True customer obsession entails converting customers into fans who believe in, promote, and return to our company.

In the article:

What exactly is customer obsession?

Source: LinkedIn.

A state of hyperfocus on improving the customer experience from the customer’s perspective is known as customer obsession. Companies that master customer obsession concentrate on the things they can do on a daily basis to continuously deliver excellent service. Like the Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer obsession is a tool that allows you to win your customer’s loyalty through thorough analysis. 

When it comes to innovation and excellent customer service, Amazon is most likely the best corporation on the planet. Back in 1999, when Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, was discussing the importance of customer service, you could tell he was on his way to being one of the world’s wealthiest entrepreneurs!

How leading brands do customer obsession

The necessity for businesses to be customer-centric is high these days. User research, customer interviews, and surveys are all examples of this.

Product teams, on the other hand, can go a lot further. It’s not enough to talk to your users to be customer-centric; that’s the minimum requirement. To be customer-obsessed, you must thoroughly immerse yourself in the world of your customers.

Over the years, many companies have applied the concept of customer obsession at the very core of their business operations, in fact, whole teams are now even dedicated to customer obsession, such as Microsoft’s “Quality Assurance and Customer Obsession Team” (below). Let’s delve into how other leading brands are pioneering the customer obsession approach.

Amazon’s top-down approach to Customer Obsession

Amazon's Customer Obsession
Source: Amazon’s Leadership principles posted on their job’s board.

Amazon is known for its Leadership Principles (above), a set of ideas that define the business’s overall strategy and decision-making process.

Customer Obsession is the most crucial, as an employee will tell you. This is how they define it:

“Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers.”

Whether you’re an engineer, marketer, or part of another department, every Amazon employee is expected to lead with this value, and it’s a key component of their interview process. 

Much of Amazon’s success, according to Jeff Bezos, can be attributed to its four basic beliefs. The first is a case of customer obsession.

“The first and by far the most important one is customer obsession as opposed to competitor obsession,” Bezos said. “I have seen over and over again companies talk about being customer-focused, but really when I pay close attention to them I believe they are competitor focused, and it’s a completely different mentality, by the way.”

Customer obsession isn’t something that customer service, or any other team, should be responsible for on behalf of the entire company. Customer focus is required in every department. And it all begins at the top. This can be understood through Jeff Bezos’s interview on the subject.  

Disney walks with walk

One of the many clips circulating online, showing how Disney goes above and beyond for their biggest fans at their themeparks.

Disney has a long history of going above and beyond to provide world-class customer service. Everything they do reflects this, from treating all visitors to their parks as VIPs (Very Individual Persons) to expert employee training.

But, before any of that could happen, Disney’s leadership had to make the crucial decision to become a customer-focused organization (though they probably didn’t say it that way).

Walt Disney himself had made the decision to do so. One tale from our audio episode How Disney redesigned the theme park experience wonderfully exemplifies this:

“Another kind of cool little point is he (Walt Disney) wanted to keep his park clean. So, he hired people to stand there and see how many steps a person would take before throwing their trash on the ground and not getting to a trash can, let’s say. And that answer was 30 feet. So if you go to any Disney park, there’s a trash can every 30 feet.”


While Amazon discovered the secret to growth in customer satisfaction through a customer-centric approach, another tech business discovered a similar but distinct path.

Unlike Amazon, Apple was not only focused on the wants and expectations of its customers. Steve Jobs, the late CEO of Apple, made one of the most audacious statements:

“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

One could argue that Steve Jobs was completely justified in his statement:

“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.”

Apple’s strategy has been much different from Amazon’s. They never designed products or services to meet the needs of their customers. However, it is based on what their consumers have said about the products after they have used them. The firm, as well as the product, grew as a result of their approach. Even now, Apple’s primary goal is to provide its customers with the finest possible product experience.

Why is customer obsession the most important factor in the success of your brand?

Successful brands are those who understand their clients and try to improve customer service on a regular basis. Let’s take a look at how customer obsession benefits your business. 

Customer obsession is now vital for a variety of reasons. It not only focuses like a laser on customer retention, but it also attempts to improve the buyer’s trip on a consistent basis. This increases your clients’ reliance on you and your brand.

Customer retention

Customer Service statistics from Zendesk showing the importance of customer obsession
Source: Zendesk’s Whitepaper on Quantifying the business impact of customer service.

Customer loyalty is crucial; thus, focusing on keeping current customers satisfied is critical.

Customer lifetime value, according to Zendesk’s research, is as given below:

  • Based on a single, favorable interaction with a firm, 54% of respondents stated they had bought more products/used more services from that firm.
  • After a single unfavorable experience, 58% of people indicated they stopped doing business with them. And 46% indicated they had stopped doing business with the company for up to two years.

Acquiring new customers

The following is taken from the same study:

  • Based on a single contact, 67% of respondents indicated they were likely to promote a company’s products or services to others.
  • Based on a single unpleasant interaction, 52% stated they would alert others.

Any business relies on word of mouth to grow, and whether you realize it or not, you’re helping to spread the word.

Good use of customer data 

  • Do not linger with any significant consumer data information once you get it. Instead, put that data to good use by beginning to analyze it. Look for patterns, common challenges, and pain points, and then talk to your staff about it.
  • The sales or marketing teams may find this information quite useful. They’ll be able to seize these possibilities right away, making your customers even happier.
  • Amazon is one such illustrious example. In an excerpt from the book, the founder, Jeff Bezos, states that true customer obsession is a means to align and build your business around your consumers.

Jeff Bezos on the importance of customer obsession

Jeff Bezos and his customer obsession
Source: thecxinsights.

Here are some quotes of Jeff Bezos explaining the importance of customer obsession:

“The most important single thing is to focus obsessively on the customer. Our goal is to be earth’s most customer-centric company.”

“If there’s one reason we have done better than our peers in the Internet space over the last six years, it is because we have focused like a laser on customer experience.”

“We’re not competitor obsessed, we’re customer obsessed. We start with what the customer needs and we work backwards.”

“Focusing on the customer makes a company more resilient.”

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000.”

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts.”

“It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”

“If we can arrange things in such a way that our interests are aligned with our customers, then in the long term that will work out really well for customers and it will work out really well for Amazon.”

“If you’re competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.”

“If your customer base is aging with you, then eventually you are going to become obsolete or irrelevant. You need to be constantly figuring out who your new customers are and what you are doing to stay forever young.”

Final thoughts on customer obsession

Customer obsession is more than a phrase in today’s hyper-competitive industry; it’s the modern M.O. (Mode of Operation). Turning your company’s operations upside down and then communicating and reacting is what it takes to put your customers in charge. They’re the new and improved gluten-free bread and butter of business success in the Age of the Customer.