Many companies think of themselves as customer-obsessed or customer centric. Their customers don’t though! So what would a truly customer-obsessed business look and feel like? Too often, “customer-obsessed” is banded around without any real meaning or tangible guidance. In this podcast episode, Oliver Banks explores what customer obsession and customer focus will really look like across your organisation.

Listen to this podcast episode to discover:

  • Why customer obsession is deeper than you think it is.
  • How does Amazon look at customer obsession?
  • How your organisation needs to transform to become customer centric.

Aren’t all companies customer obsessed now?

Many companies claim to be “customer obsessed.” Or perhaps, they decided that they are “customer centric.”

But, unfortunately, many just aren’t.

I’m sure you can think of examples as a consumer, of companies who claim it but don’t deliver.

However, this isn’t a new challenge. Back in 2005, the consultancy, Bain and Company, found that 80% of CEOs felt like they delivered exceptional customer service. But when you ask their customers, only 8% would agree. There is a large mismatch between self-assessment of customer service / focus / centricity / obsession (or however you want to refer to this as!).

So, is it that companies are blind? Do they lack self-awareness? Are they misguided? Have they been drinking too much of the corporate cool-aid?

Or, it an aspiration? Are companies looking to repeat the phrase as often as possible, almost as an affirmation in the hope that perhaps it’ll come true.

Perhaps instead, it’s about emulating Amazon – who have had it as a core value since 1998. And now, it’s the first of their leadership rules.

Customer Obsession

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.

Amazon’s Leadership Principles

Why aren’t companies customer obsessed?

Given it’s a term that has become so fashionable, many companies and retailers still aren’t there yet.

Yet, there are big benefits and opportunities when becoming more customer obsessed, centic or just focusing on serving customer better. In fact, there has been so much research and so many stats around how customer service leads to more sales, reputation, loyalty, profit. I’m sure you know what I mean.

So, becoming customer obsessed is recognised as a strategy. There is plenty of insight to support the viability of this strategy. But it still remains a challenge. Why?

I believe it’s because of 2 elements.

  1. There is no culture to support the customer obsession.
  2. Behaviours and operating models aren’t set up for customer obsession.

Part of these is due to the vague reasoning about customer obsession. There isn’t a clear description of what it is or isn’t meant by the term. So, in the absence of any substance, the void means that the term just becomes a positive sentiment. And in turn, the customer obsession or customer centric strategy is just a set of empty words.

So, given this challenge has been going on since 2005, perhaps now is the time. Among the coronavirus challenges and changes, maybe now is right to make changes to adapt how customer centric or obsessed you really are.

Listen to the full episode to discover more.

Plus more episodes as referenced are below.

Get in touch

I’ll look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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Listen to further episodes of the Retail Transformation Show

Episode 68 and episode 69 – How to Win Customers with Richard Hammond and Rocky Howard from Uncrowd. In this episode, Richard and Rocky explore what drives a customer’s choice – and what you can do to make sure that customers choose your retail brand over others.

068: How To Win Customers (part 1) with Richard Hammond and Rocky Howard- The Retail Transformation Show with Oliver Banks

069: How To Win Customers (part 2) with Richard Hammond and Rocky Howard - The Retail Transformation Show with Oliver Banks

Episode 77 – Transformation in Home Improvement with Steve Collinge. Listen to this episode where Steve shares loads of great insight into the home improvement and garden sectors. Plus, he shared the concept around helping your customers complete a particular “project” and supporting them through it all.

Episode 72 – Being Digital vs Doing Digital with Lee Woodard. Lee shares some of the challenges of the digital world that we live in today – and how now really understanding the tools, channels and techniques open to you can lead to confusion and blandness.

072: Being Digital vs Doing Digital with Lee Woodard - The Retail Transformation Show with Oliver Banks

Episode 32 and episode 33 – Learning to Transform Your Workforce with Paul Jocelyn. Paul Jocelyn is a learning strategist that helps companies to transform their L&D / Learning & Development functions to make a change to a learning organisation.

032 - Learning To Transform Your Workforce with Paul Jocelyn - The Retail Transformation Show with Oliver Banks

033 - Learning To Transform Your Workforce with Paul Jocelyn - The Retail Transformation Show with Oliver Banks


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