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9 Tips to Become a Customer Obsessed Brand

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Edward Gaug

Director of Marketing and Partnerships

Published on:

Step into the world of business titans like Jeff Bezos and Tony Hsieh, and you'll quickly realize that their secret to success isn't buried in complex algorithms or elusive market trends. It's something simpler yet profoundly powerful: an unrelenting obsession with the customer.

In a 1999 interview that could easily be mistaken for a manifesto on customer-centricity, Jeff Bezos shrugged off the notion of being a "pure internet player" with a dismissive, "Internet shminnernet, that doesn’t matter." What did matter to him? Providing the best customer service imaginable. This unwavering commitment to the customer experience became the cornerstone of Amazon's rise to dominance.

But the story doesn't end there. Amazon's acquisition of Zappos, a company equally fanatical about service, added another chapter to the saga of customer obsession. Zappos, with its revolutionary "try before you buy" model and a mission to "deliver happiness," proved that going above and beyond isn't just a strategy—it's a way of life.

So, what exactly is customer obsession?

It's more than a buzzword; it's a cultural shift. It means infusing every aspect of a company with a customer-first mentality, from sales to customer service. It's about understanding and fulfilling customer desires before anything else—before ROI, before outperforming competitors. It's an ongoing, comprehensive commitment that transforms businesses from transactional entities into customer-centric ecosystems.

Why does customer obsession matter?

Because it's not just a strategy; it's a business model. Companies that embrace this model cultivate trust and commitment from their customers, creating a sustainable cycle of loyalty. As Tony Hsieh, the visionary behind Zappos, puts it, "People may not remember exactly what you did or what you said, but they always remember how you made them feel." Making customer service a priority for the entire company, not just a department, is the key.

Amazon's leadership principles echo this sentiment, placing consumer obsession at the forefront. Leaders at Amazon start with the customer and work backward, striving to earn and keep customer trust. They don't just pay attention to competitors; they obsess over customers.

These examples from Amazon and Zappos underscore why customers keep coming back. It's not about products or prices; it's about prioritizing their needs. A focus on the consumer not only builds brand loyalty but also generates the kind of trust that turns customers into loyal advocates, spreading the word and ensuring your business stands out in a crowded marketplace. Welcome to the world of customer obsession—where success isn't just measured in profits, but in the lasting impressions you leave on those you serve.

How do you Measure Customer Obsession?

For effective assessment of customer obsession, it's necessary to combine both qualitative insights and quantitative metrics. Customer testimonials and feedback offer valuable qualitative data, but it's equally important to have measurable indicators that can guide your strategy. Here are some key metrics that can help track your focus on customer obsession:

Net Promoter Score (NPS): This tool gauges customer loyalty, asking how likely they'd recommend your products or services.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): This simple metric reveals how satisfied customers are with your product or service.

Customer Effort Score (CES): This score measures the effort needed by a customer to have an issue resolved or a request fulfilled.

Churn Rate: This is the percentage of customers who cancel or don't renew their subscriptions within a certain period. A high churn rate could suggest potential issues.

Retention Rate: Conversely, this is the percentage of customers retained over a period. A high rate suggests customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): This value represents the total a customer is likely to spend during their lifetime, often indicating customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Social Media Sentiment Analysis: This AI-based analysis assesses the sentiment in social media posts about your brand, providing an insight into public opinion and customer satisfaction.

These metrics can drive your customer obsession strategy, guiding improvements and keeping your brand customer-obsessed.

Qualities of Customer Obsession

To generate a culture of customer obsession, you need to understand what it takes. Companies that put customers first focus on two main qualities above all else.


At its core, true customer obsession is about empathy—understanding your customers through obsessive listening. In his book, Likeable Business, Dave Kerpen says, “Listening to prospects enables you to understand what problems and pain points they have so you can solve them [...] Listening to customer insight helps you understand how you can deliver more to them and what changes you need to make.”

Through listening, you understand your customer’s needs well enough to take appropriate action. Create a culture that encourages listening to and understanding their customers so you know how to build the perfect customer experience.

Customer Communication

Listening to customers alone isn’t enough. Most companies dedicate significant energy to listening to customers, but few are happy with the results. In-depth satisfaction surveys can be inaccurate and slow to yield results, and most customers who defect are the ones who report high satisfaction. Companies need to build effective customer feedback loops to truly understand their customers.

Companies have more success gathering feedback on the frontlines, where direct interactions between employees and customers occur, compared to building centralized customer research arms. For ecommerce businesses where competition is fierce and customer data is readily available, effective customer feedback loops are a necessity. These feedback loops make employees on the frontlines more effective and center the customer experience across the company.

How To Build Customer Obsession

With a thoughtful approach, any business can put the customer first. However, it takes a cross-company focused effort. The following strategies and insights will help you build a customer-obsessed culture in your ecommerce business so your customers keep coming back.

1. Study Customer Data

Ecommerce businesses have an incredible advantage in understanding their customers because they have instant access to the data of every single customer and transaction. Before investing time and energy into building a complete customer feedback loop, study the customer data you already have. Find out who’s buying what and why.

AI companies, like our partners Dynamic Yield, can take your data analytics to the next level. At Linio, the biggest ecommerce platform in Latin America, Dynamic Yield was able to increase click-through rate (CTR) by 300% by identifying the best customer segments to target and then creating personalized homepages.

2. Protect Customer Data Like It’s Your Own

According to recent privacy and personalization research, 86% of respondents said they were concerned about the privacy of their data. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 shoppers abandon a checkout experience because of concerns that the site won’t protect their credit card information.

Therefore, you must ensure your payment system protects against security and fraud issues. To build customer trust, you can display well-known security brands like Norton on your site and provide explanations next to each entry field in checkout for why you’re requesting personal information.

3. Support Customer-Generated Content

Customer voice matters. 77% of people regularly read online reviews when browsing for businesses. Reviews help build customer trust and provide valuable information they can use to make the best shopping decisions. Even negative reviews can help assure customers that the reviews are real. Ecommerce sites can also benefit from other self-service tools, like community forums and knowledge bases. As a result, businesses should focus on encouraging and amplifying customer voice daily.

4. Make the Customer Experience Personal

72% of people said they would only engage with personalized marketing messages. There are countless personalization tools available to ecommerce sites, and one of the biggest challenges is knowing which ones to use. At Guidance, we recommend focusing on one key personalization feature at a time in order to test effectiveness with the most accuracy.

City Chic, a shared Guidance and Nosto client, successfully implemented a personalization platform that learns the preferences of each user through clicks and time spent on each product and then displays them as the user navigates the site. Customers have reported high satisfaction in being presented with products that match their size and fashion style.

5. Design Your Site for Anyone

Keep your site simple and attractive. 73% of customers exit a poorly designed mobile site for a higher-quality site that makes buying easier. A too-long or complicated checkout process accounts for as much as 17% of online cart abandonments, while website errors account for 13%.

Website optimization is a key part of a customer-first strategy. As a Magento website development partner, Guidance was able to simplify the Hearst brands, unifying them in a single platform with unified account management and single sign-on (SSO) on the Magento 2.3 Commerce Cloud. The platform’s solutions are capable of upselling and cross-selling for increased Average Order Value (AOV).

6. Be Transparent

Treat your customers like you would a trusted friend. Only publish content that is accurate and honest, and don’t hide additional fees. In one study, 73% of consumers considered transparency more important than price. As much as 16% of customers abandon carts when they can’t see or calculate the total cost up-front. Putting transparency at the forefront of your ecommerce site goes a long way toward building customer trust.

7. Provide Excellent Customer Service

Invest in customer service: it will pay off. Customer retention can be five to 25 times cheaper than acquiring new customers. On a given day, Zappos answered calls in 25 seconds, chats in 31 seconds, and emails in 4 hours and 15 minutes on average. Calls accounted for more than 70% of the total customer interactions.

Founder Tony Hsieh points to the telephone as the differentiator of Zappos’ customer experience. Zappos collects this data every day in a “Daily Breakdown Report,” values the quality of customer interactions over the cost, and uses these metrics to track its performance as an entire organization.

Remember that employee engagement is crucial here. Engaged and satisfied employees are more driven and provide better customer service. Part of your company culture should be supporting employees with proper training and rewarding strong customer service.

8. Survey Customers for Feedback

To close the customer feedback loop, survey customers after they buy a product or service from your ecommerce store. Allianz automatically sends customers a brief survey after every transaction. The survey results are immediately sent to the employee who facilitated the transaction and published on local intranet dashboards for review.

Then, frontline employees call a sample of customers who answered the survey to listen to and correct issues. Soon after implementing this customer feedback system, Allianz saw a double-digit increase in its Net Promoter Score (NPS) and increased policy renewal rates.

9. Prepare for New Customer Technologies

Stay up to date on how technology and your customers’ behavior are changing. Local searches lead 78% of mobile users to visit stores within one day—meaning that optimizing your SEO for local search is increasingly necessary.

Voice search, which has the power to change ecommerce, is more likely to be local. Customers have increasingly used voice search to buy something online, which will only continue as technology improves. Keep up with your customers by staying updated on voice and other new technologies.

Examples of Customer-Obsessed Companies

At Guidance, we have seen firsthand how customer obsession transformed company success, including with our own clients, Anastasia Beverly Hills and Drybar. These two customer-obsessed examples prove that focusing on customer needs leads directly to business success.

Anastasia Beverly Hills

Anastasia Beverly Hills obsesses over its customers, and the feeling is mutual. Founded in 1997, the cosmetics brand is adored most for its eyebrow line, which was way ahead of its time.

Instead of assuming what its loyal customer base wants, Anastasia Beverley Hills relies on customer insight and intensive user testing, including in-person interviews, try-on sessions, product tutorials, and deep-dive questionnaires. But most critically, the company's customer-centric data mining isn't limited to products.

Anastasia Beverly Hills also invited users to test its existing website, which was the basis for switching to Magento Commerce. Guidance web developers helped the customer-obsessed company create an immersive web interface with best-in-class performance and long-term cloud-based scalability to maximize customer experience.


The first Drybar opened in 2010, and in just a few years, the beloved blowout salon expanded to over 150 locations. The company is now a coveted haircare brand with more than 100 product offerings, including hot hair tools, treatments, and styling products.

Built on true customer obsession, Drybar sells products on its website and through larger retailers like Sephora, Nordstrom, and Ulta. The brand's 2013 product launch was ultimately a marketing strategy to help customers recreate the unique experience they get at a blow-dry bar, and its website needed to reflect this.

In just three months, Guidance transformed Drybar's website into a comprehensive resource that resonated with customers’ desire for a high-quality at-home experience with Magento Commerce. No longer a dark and moody interface, the site is now on par with the customer journey of walking into a Drybar location—it’s bright, bubbly, fresh, and highlighted by the brand's signature vibrant yellow hues.

Build Your Customer-Obsessed Culture

Customer obsession is more than just a concept—it is a practice that, when done right, can transform your business into one that keeps consumers coming back. Your ultimate goal is to identify opportunities to increase customer retention and even help lay out a two-year customer obsession transformation plan to increase NPS and overall customer satisfaction.

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About the author
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Edward Gaug

Director of Marketing and Partnerships

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