Maisie Furneaux Explores the Dangers of Customer Obsession for GreenBook
On 16th December 2019, GreenBook published an article written by FlexMR’s Senior Research Associate, Maisie Furneaux. In The Dangers of turning Customer Centricity into Obsession Maisie lists four key risks that businesses taken whenever they step over the line of customer centricity and focus too much on what the customer wants.
This is an area that isn’t talked about often enough. With the myriad of articles online talking up the benefits of customer centricity, there aren’t any talking about the risks businesses pose to themselves if the concentration on customer satisfaction becomes absolute.
The Dangers of turning Customer Centricity into Obsession
Customer centricity is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects when it comes to creating a strong customer-base, but it’s good to know where the line is that marks the difference between customer-centric efforts and customer-obsessed actions. But organisations will only pay attention to the line when they realise the risks that come with becoming customer-obsessed.
1. Customers Don’t Always Know what they Want
When an organisation is customer-obsessed, every decision is dictated by the customers (through insights and customer communications), for the customers. But the customer is not always right, they don’t actually know what they want – if they did, they would already have it.
And while this laser focus is pointed at the customers, there are many opportunities for business development and evolution moving straight past you without you noticing; so, your business is losing out on valuable opportunities, because you’re focussed too much on what the customer says they need from you.
2. Lack of Innovation
One of these opportunities that becomes a real risk, is a lack of innovation. While your business is focussing on customers, your competitors will be taking the opportunity to innovate, developing and embedding themselves into a strategic advantage in the market.
This isn’t to say that innovation doesn’t happen within customer-obsessed businesses (re: Amazon), just that it is focussed on developing new ways to keep the customer happy rather than business development and gaining competitive advantage.
3. Not all Customers are Equal
The bigger picture is another aspect that businesses miss through customer obsession. It’s always important to remember that not every customer is equal, and what will work for one person will not work for another. Focussing too closely on one group of customers may alienate other prospective groups, and eliminate opportunities for exponential growth and success.
4. Customer Loyalty is Overestimated
The concept of customer loyalty has been debated for decades, with most of the concentration on whether or not it actually exists. The loyalty a customer feels to a business is very much dependent on a variety of aspects, with customer service being one of the least influential factors! So really, if the aim (or one of the aims) of a customer obsession strategy is to gain more customer loyalty, you may be barking up the wrong tree.
Want to read more? Check out the full article here.
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