Customer obsession.

11 09 2009


I was recently given a tip to watch the video from Jeff Bezos about Amazon and Zappos. In the video, Mr. Bezos talked directly to Zappos employees about the company’s transition to Amazon, but also discussed his core values from a business perspective. The first of these values included “obsess over customers.” It’s a simple concept, but one that can easily slip into the background when challenges arise otherwise. Might this obsession solve those challenges?

What does customer focus really mean? And does it have a different meaning for different people? Oddly enough, my search for this blog post’s photo led me to The Tatham Group, who sought to answer these questions. According to them, it matters more as to whether you’re considering this obsession as a part of your systematic business strategy. Does your obsession over customer values lead you to guide their behavior? Here were some examples:

  • Ensure customers play a role in your product/service development process (enhances loyalty and engagement)
  • While listening to customers needs, separate what they ask for from what they really need to get done (differentiation and speed to market)
  • Recognize that customers are essential in value creation but may need “tough love” (establishes more partnership vs. provider/consumer relationship)
  • Understand the customer’s customer so that there can be true alignment of capabilities and value (sustains and enhances revenue/profits and lets business model evolve with markets)

But doesn’t “guiding their behavior” really just mean connecting with customers to a point where you’re able to anticipate how to solve their problems before they arise? Which, actually, leads to Mr. Bezos’ second core value, “invent.” With a close relationship with your customers, you’ll be better prepared to invent new solutions for them – faster. And the benefits could be huge.

It really is a simple concept – and with great relations, come great rewards. Enjoy getting to know more about your customers.

Photo courtesy of the Tatham Group.



2 responses

16 10 2009
Business website success strategies. « The Company Line: BLOG

[…] new customers, leaving out any benefit for maintaining relationships with existing customers. Customer obsession is an evolving strategy of promoting solutions, for both new and old […]

28 05 2010
Adding Business Value. « The Company Line: BLOG

[…] struggle with the concept of adding value all the time and it comes down to one simple concept, obsess over your customers to the point where you can solve their problems before they arise. In doing so, using an […]

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