Is your company customer-led or customer-obsessed? With the customer experience now the biggest competitive differentiator, having a customer obsession has become an important driver for continued success. Recently, I hosted the webinar Is Your Contact Center an Asset or Road Block to Digital Transformation, with guest speaker Art Schoeller, Vice President and Principal Analyst for Forrester Research. During the webinar, Art shared a fascinating story of the benefits of being truly customer-obsessed that certainly hits home with Star Wars fans.

Debuting in May 1999, The Phantom Menace was the first Star Wars film to be released in 16 years. With an all-star cast and plenty of big budget special effects, the movie received lackluster reviews and a poor box office showing. Undeniably, The Phantom Menace was poorly timed, following on the heels of the highly acclaimed The Matrix. Yet, this wasn’t the only problem. Rather, Star Wars creator George Lucas, didn’t adequately take his audience into consideration when he made the film. In other words, he was thinking inside out instead of outside in.

In 2012, Lucas sold Lucasfilm, including the Star Wars franchise, to The Walt Disney Company. Arguably one of the most customer-obsessed companies in the world, Disney enlisted J. J. Abrams to direct the sequel to 1983’s Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens. Abrams was chosen specifically because of his heartfelt passion for Star Wars, along with his track record for success. The results were amazing. When it was released in December 2015, The Force Awakens made a whopping $247 million during its opening weekend with rave reviews from both moviegoers and critics. What was Abrams secret? He understood his audience and created the film they wanted.

Is Your Thinking Inside Out or Outside In?

Do you really know what your customers want? Do you know why they want it? The answers can provide valuable insights that can help launch your company’s journey from being customer-led to customer-obsessed. What we do know is that customers increasingly want fast, connected, insights-driven interactions. During the webinar, Art introduced the six elements of the Forrester customer-obsessed operating model that support this level of customer experience. These include:

  • Structure
  • Processes
  • Technology
  • Metrics
  • Culture
  • Talent

Making the Shift to Customer-Obsessed

In a real-time survey conducted during the webinar, our attendees charted their organization’s current course to customer obsession. Here’s how they responded:

  • 13.8% – Considered it a long slow road
  • 31% – Susceptible to disruption
  • 44.8% – Urgent and doable
  • 10.3% – Already consider their company to be customer obsessed

While a significant portion of the attendees identified the need for becoming customer-obsessed, they also indicated that it has become increasingly challenging. When a company determines the need to differentiate themselves above product and price, it has become more important than ever to offer choice, consistency and personalization on digital channels, as well as the voice channel. This has been proven in some key Genesys findings:

  • 75% of customers are already on the web when engaging with a company
  • 16% of companies expect increases in self-service usage in 2017
  • 35% increase in number of customers that use more than four channels
  • 51% of customers prefer voice for more complex issues.

These findings reveal some important customer experience trends that are impacting companies across every industry:

  • The voice channel is becoming a secondary entry point and focuses on more complex queries
  • The increased usage of channels requires “outside-in” omnichannel thinking
  • Self-service is not about deflecting, but about attracting

Getting Started on the Road to Customer Obsession

Along with discussing the six elements of the customer-obsessed operating model, Art also shared some key strategies for achieving them in this age when customers expect seamless, personalized service across every channel. He recommends starting with a collaborative journey map to identify hotspots in customer journeys with the potential to boost customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Score. From there, he encourages companies to:

  • Visualize and share important journeys and touch-points, including digital interaction transitions to contact center agents
  • Monitor and optimize digital interactions and contact center transitions through metrics and insights
  • Link and reveal how technology, processes and people deliver the customer experience

I encourage you to watch the complete on-demand replay of our webinar to learn more about how to navigate your digital transformation to achieve a customer-obsessed operating model. And, don’t forget to check out our upcoming webinars and customer success stories.

Janelle Matthews

Janelle Matthews

Janelle Matthews is the Senior Vice President of Solutions & Product Marketing with over 14 years of experience in customer experience solution strategy. She is certified in Customer Experience Management, formally trained in service design, and is a subject matter...