Progressive Business leaders and Marketers around the world are transforming their approach to be customer-obsessed.

Now for some leaders, customer-obsession is purely a buzzword being bandied around in management meetings. And for others, they’re making the transformation a reality.

However, it’s not easy.

Older retailers with physical store presence have found it massively difficult to integrate legacy systems and technology with new customer-centric technology.

They have struggled to offer real-time automation, optimization and a higher level of customer intelligence gathering. Leading to limited delivery on the promise of personalisation and real relevance.

They’ve found it difficult to evolve from silo data capture and profiling, to a true single-customer-view.

They’ve found it difficult to change their capability and processes and build a real culture of customer-obsession throughout the organisation.

Whereas companies born in the digital era, such as Amazon, Zappos and Alibaba have scaled and reverse engineered solutions much quicker.

Amazon rolled out it’s internal contact centre solution, Amazon Connect, to the market mid-way through 2017. It’s a cloud-based service and can be up and running almost immediately.  

It can be integrated with the Amazon Lex Chatbot service to solve customer problems quicker without the use of a call centre agent. Plus it can recognise the intent of a caller, using the same technology that powers Amazon Alexa.

Amazon, chat bot, customer-obsessed

However, are Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions really a sign of being customer-obsessed?

Jack Ma, the CEO of Alibaba Group, spoke recently at the World Economic Forum about the threat if AI to humanity. He feels strongly, as do I, and many others, that AI should support human beings, not kill their jobs.

I love his quote, “technology should always do something that enables people, not disable people.”

And I also loved the part of his Q&A where he focussed on the need to change the way that we teach kids. He proposes that we need to be unique and teach differently in order to be smarter than machines. To teach the softer skills that machines can’t learn: values, believing, independent thinking, teamwork, and care for others. Which can be learned through sport, music and art. You can listen to more of his views here

From my perspective, it’s customer enablement throuh technology and the understanding of the power of softer skills, that help you become truly customer-obsessed.

Zappos have always understood this, even before they became Amazon-owned.

Their call centre isn’t measured on call time reduction It has always been about making customer service the company’s main product. Rrather than their actual product – shoes and apparel.

Zappos allows reps to talk for as long as they want. With one employee, Steven Weinstein, setting a new record for the longest customer call. 10 hours, 43 minutes. Now that’s customer-obsessed! Well maybe a little too obsessed some would say.

contact centre, record, customer-obsessed


Trump – obsessive?

And if link to Donald Trump, then I could pose that by focussing back on ‘Making America Great Again’ that he is being more American-obsessed.

Now I don’t want to spark a world war of hate-Trump comments, nor link to any personal political views, but it makes sense given the state that America is in, that he has focussed inward rather than spread himself too thin with globalisation and expansionist ideas.

However, has he got the delicate balance of internal and external focus wrong? Is he going too far with his ‘America First’ agenda? I’ll leave you to ponder those questions.

Or is he simply being loyal to his base of Americans who voted him in?

So, back to the question: who is more customer-obsessed: Amazon, Trump, Zappos or Jack Ma? 

I wonder what your answer is?