The Art of Customer Obsession: 9 Key Strategies

Home/Insights/The Art of Customer Obsession: 9 Key Strategies

In a 1999 interview, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, responded to a question about not being a “pure internet player” by saying, “Internet shminnernet, that doesn’t matter. What matters to me is to provide the best customer service.” In the same interview, Bezos went on to say, “If there’s one thing that is about, it’s obsessive attention to the customer experience end to end.”

Amazon’s acquisition of Zappos, known for its customer-obsessed service, further highlights the success of this approach. Zappos' “try before you buy” model and exceptional service practices exemplify a customer-obsessed culture. Such an obsession with customers is key for any business aspiring to achieve similar results.

What Is Customer Obsession?

Customer obsession means building an improved customer experience in every facet of a company. In doing so, businesses employ a customer-first approach everywhere from sales to the customer service department. Obsession means understanding what customers want and delivering on those desires before all else, including ROI and outperforming competitors.

It is important to remember that customer obsession is not a one-time demonstration of good customer service–it is a comprehensive methodology that requires a business’s full commitment to be successful. Customer-obsessed companies build a culture around highlighting the customer experience in all their daily operations with constant reinforcement.

Why Is Customer Obsession Important?

Customer obsession is more than just a strategy– it is a business model. Companies that put this model into practice are more successful in generating customer trust and commitment. A customer-obsessed culture captures the attention and loyalty of consumers, building a sustainable business model that keeps them coming back.

Companies with a customer-obsessed approach, like Amazon and Zappos, succeed in building customer trust and loyalty, proving the customer obsession meaning in practical terms. Tony Hsieh of Zappos emphasized this in his book, suggesting a company-wide focus on customer service, not just as a department.

Amazon's principle of starting with the customer and working backward illustrates the essence of being consumer obsessed. This approach builds brand loyalty and trust, encouraging customers to return and promote the business.

New call-to-action

New call-to-action

How to 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

Companies should focus on understanding customer needs through consumer obsessed merchandising and building robust customer feedback loops, especially in ecommerce. To cultivate a customer-obsessed culture, 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.

Building a Customer-Obsessed Culture

Ecommerce businesses, with their wealth of customer data, are uniquely positioned to build a customer-obsessed culture. Here are multiple strategies to achieve this:

  1. Study Customer Data: Leverage the extensive data available from every transaction to understand customer preferences and behaviors. Tools like AI can significantly enhance this analysis, as seen in the success of Dynamic Yield with Linio.

  2. Protect Customer Data: Given the high concern for data privacy, ensure your payment systems are secure and transparent. Displaying security certifications and explaining the need for personal data at checkout builds trust.

  3. Support Customer-Generated Content: Encourage and amplify customer reviews and feedback. Tools like community forums and knowledge bases empower customers and provide valuable insights for businesses.

  4. Make the Customer Experience Personal: Personalization is key. Focus on one feature at a time to test its effectiveness, as demonstrated by City Chic's success with Nosto in tailoring customer experiences.

  5. Design Your Site for Everyone: A simple, attractive, and mobile-friendly site design is essential. Optimize the checkout process and overall website usability to reduce cart abandonment and enhance user experience.

  6. Be Transparent: Honesty and clarity in all your content and transactions are crucial. Ensure that costs are upfront and content is accurate to maintain customer trust and reduce cart abandonment.

  7. Provide Excellent Customer Service: Invest in customer service as it plays a significant role in customer retention. Engaged employees who are well-trained in customer service will enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.

  8. Survey Customers for Feedback: Implement a system to gather customer feedback post-purchase. This direct insight is invaluable for understanding customer satisfaction and areas for improvement.

  9. Prepare for New Customer Technologies: Stay updated with emerging technologies like voice search and optimize your ecommerce strategies accordingly to meet changing customer behaviors and preferences.

Examples of Customer-Obsessed Companies

Our experience at Guidance has provided us with firsthand insights into the power of customer obsession. Two standout examples are our clients Anastasia Beverly Hills and Drybar, both of which have achieved significant success by prioritizing customer needs.

Anastasia Beverly Hills

Renowned in the cosmetics industry, Anastasia Beverly Hills has become a symbol of customer obsession. This brand's journey began in 1997 and quickly gained fame, particularly for its innovative eyebrow products. Rather than assuming customer preferences, the company engages in intensive customer research. This includes in-person interviews, product try-on sessions, tutorials, and detailed questionnaires. Their commitment to understanding and responding to customer feedback led them to revamp their online presence. With Guidance's help, they migrated to Magento Commerce, creating an immersive web experience that mirrors their commitment to customer satisfaction. This approach not only refined their product offerings but also revolutionized their online customer experience, contributing significantly to their brand loyalty and success.

View the full Anastasia Beverly Hills case study here.


A pioneer in the blowout salon industry, Drybar has expanded from a single salon in 2010 to over 150 locations, evolving into a full-scale haircare brand. The essence of Drybar's success is its customer-centric approach. Recognizing customers' desire to replicate the salon experience at home, Drybar extended its offerings beyond services to include a wide range of haircare products. This strategy was deeply rooted in customer feedback and aimed at fulfilling their unique needs. 

Guidance played a pivotal role in transforming Drybar’s digital presence, revamping their website to reflect the brand’s lively and customer-friendly ethos. This shift not only made the online shopping experience more engaging but also aligned it closely with the in-salon experience, thereby enhancing overall customer satisfaction and loyalty.

View the full Drybar case study here.

These examples demonstrate how a deep understanding of customer needs, combined with a willingness to adapt and innovate, can lead to remarkable success in ecommerce. Both Anastasia Beverly Hills and Drybar exemplify the essence of customer obsession, showing how it can transform not just customer relations, but an entire brand’s trajectory.

Build Your Customer-Obsessed Culture with Guidance

At Guidance, we specialize in nurturing this customer-obsessed approach. Our team is dedicated to helping businesses like yours enhance customer engagement, increase retention, and develop strategies that resonate deeply with your audience. Contact us to start your journey towards becoming a customer-obsessed brand.

Written by Guidance
Contact Guidance Today