Listen to “57. Customer Obsession As Your Key Differentiator w/ Ned Arick” on Spreaker.
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How are you differentiating yourself and your business this year? New product features and tech are nice. But in a sea of endless competition, that alone is not enough anymore.
Instead, you need to focus on your customers.
“A culture of customer obsession is what will win in 2020.” This is how Ned Arick kicks off his insightful LinkedIn post that sparked this podcast conversation.
Customer obsession is what will set you apart, because it’s truly about putting the customers’ needs above everything else.
And if you do that – if you really do everything in your power to help them succeed – they will experience the full value of what you have to offer.
Because you’re not only selling a product, you’re giving them an amazing customer experience tailored to them and to their needs in your own unique style. You’re making their metrics and KPIs your metrics and KPIs. It’s an experience they’re not going to get anywhere else.
This episode of The Customer Experience Podcast is all about how customer obsession functions as your key differentiator. Ned analyzes in depth what it embodies in 2020. He stresses the idea of being an educator and the need for rewriting the narrative of business.
Ned is an Account Executive at YourWelcome, a company for vacation rental owners to increase their revenue with an added service layer from booking to check out. He’s very active on LinkedIn with his valuable posts and videos on sales process, customer obsession, customer experience, and more.
His take on customer experience is that it encompasses everything. He explains why in the video below…
“It’s the holistic end-to-end experience that a customer encounters when they engage with your brand, when they engage with you,” he says.
CX is not solely reliant on surface-level interactions with your website, sales team, or marketing. It consists of every single conversation had. From start to finish.
This makes alignment across your organization crucial.
“We’ve done a really good job in business with fragmenting CX and creating situations that aren’t end to end,” Ned says. “The website says one thing, the sales team says another, and the marketing is a little bit off here. There’s not really a route that goes all the way through.”
Customer experience fails when it’s all just bits and pieces. So, you need to ensure it’s streamlined. Because CX is happening – whether you’re controlling it or not.
Take the wheel, and steer your customers in the right direction. One that will help them thrive.
Continue reading, watching, and listening below as as Ned discusses why customer obsession is so successful. We chat about:
• Generating wins with customer obsession in 2020
• Being an educator, instead of an advisor
• Overcoming hyper-competition
• Rewriting the narrative for business
• Acknowledging the power of video in LinkedIn
• Charging admission for conversations with customers
Customer Obsession As Your Key Differentiator
Every episode of The Customer Experience Podcast is available here in our blog posts with write-ups and video clips.
But it’s primarily a podcast! So listen in your favorite podcast player …
Embedded below is the entire conversation with Ned about the benefits of customer obsession and the importance of customer experience …
Listen to “57. Customer Obsession As Your Key Differentiator w/ Ned Arick” on Spreaker.
Embracing Customer Obsession
Ned’s LinkedIn post on customer obsession stemmed from a customer journey mapping exercise he and his team did at YourWelcome. He details this in the following clip:
This biggest takeaway from this was: “In 2020, the businesses that are going to succeed are the ones that are absolutely obsessed with what their product does for the people that use their product.”
Obsession in this context is about focusing on:
• How is what you’re saying now affecting the customer’s business?
• How is it affecting their revenue?
• How is it impacting the way your customers are interacting with their clients?
• And most importantly: How is the experience that we’re providing our customers helping or hindering the experience they are providing to their clientele?
As businesses, we need to be obsessed with the KPIs, metrics, and outcomes of our customers, not just our own.
Offering discounts just for the sake of meeting quota may push people over the edge. But it can also push people away.
You have to act in a way that is going to keep people in your funnel. If you want to accomplish this, Ned says you need to be asking your customers what they need to be successful. “And if it’s a good fit, go ahead,” Ned says.
Don’t think about yourself. Think about the customer.
Be an Educator, Not an Advisor
So many in the industry want to be the trusted advisor to customers. But in Ned’s view, that approach is fading in value. He explains why in the video below…
“The educator is going to be the winner in 2020 as a business,” Ned says. “How are you educating them on what they need to do?”
Because customers don’t care that you have a quota and revenue goal to meet. They want to know how they can meet their own revenue goals.
You educate them in simple ways, via a phone call or virtual coffee date. Or better yet, a 30-second to 2-minute video email in which you share five ideas with them that will change their business.
“That’s where you’re going to succeed,” Ned says. “That’s where customer obsession comes from.”
But you have to actually care.
“People can smell fake from a mile away,” Ned explains.
Don’t tell customers you care about them, and then throw in a sign-up discount. If you do that, the trust will be gone.
Be intentional and really take the time to understand your customers and their objectives.
You have to embrace a mindset like you are almost a member of their team. That takes focus.
Instead of sharing ROIs of other people and success stories from outside their organization, explain what will actually benefit them.
The barriers to entry are lower than ever. Information is free. So competition is exploding.
For example, Ned’s 12-year-old cousin has tech that could change the way business is done. Watch the clip below to learn how…
This goes to show that products and features aren’t enough anymore. Anyone can build a tool you may need (including an exceptional preteen). Competition has become hyper-competition. The result? The way your obsession affects customer experience is your key differentiator.
At YourWelcome, they do an exercise to overcome this with real language that customers recognize. Ned describes it in the video below…
They were challenged with a question. “How do we draw customers in to the point where they’re like, ‘Wow, these people actually care about me because they’re speaking my language?’”
Ask yourself this: What are my customers worried about? What are they looking to gain from the conversation?
“Every company should be doing something where they do start to focus and put themselves in the customer’s shoes,” Ned says.
Rewriting the Narrative of Business
Ned explains that the narrative of business has been the same for the last 10 years. It’s characterized by relationships being treated as means to ends rather than as ends in themselves. Relationships are given good lip service, but they’re treated as the path to transactions.
He describes it as a narrative of cynicism in the clip below…
This is a mindset Ned is trying to combat on LinkedIn. Because he believes there has to be a better way.
He wants to get away from transactional interactions and turn them into relational ones. Ones that have a small-town feel of people working on the same team.
We need to show customers that our goal is to see them succeed. We need to be their cheerleaders.
“It’s creating community not only inside of me and a business. But the rewriting of the narrative also takes into account creating business opportunities with other people inside of your communities,” Ned explains.
Focus on what connects people. Whether it be a philosophy, approach, common interest, or mutual friend. That’s what Ned says will “revolutionize your business.”
“I want everyone to be a big, happy family, as ‘kumbaya’ as that sounds,” he says. “That’s really where rewriting the narrative comes from.”
And video is a powerful way to do that. Ned details the humanizing effects of it in the following clip…
The reality is that you won’t get to know Ned through his black and white LinkedIn profile photo. But you will through his videos because you’ll see him in color and hear that he is real.
And he loves video because it allows him to share about his passions – like customer obsession.
So, he started his “NedTalks” LinkedIn video series to share about his day-to-day experiences on the sales front.
“I literally would sit there and go, ‘Hey, we didn’t hit this KPI this year. Now, let me tell you why,’” he says. “If you’re doing a real video, it can be so powerful. I’ve had a lot of opportunities. I’ve gotten business from it.”
“Charging Admission” for Customer Interactions
How would you act with customers if you charged admission for each conversation you had with them? This was a question from another compelling LinkedIn post from Ned.
He shares what inspired the post in the following video…
If a customer had to pay $500 non-refundable deposit to sit in on your demo, how would the dynamic change?
You’d most definitely make the effort to understand their reality and mindset quickly.
“You wouldn’t just tell them ‘the what.’ You would tell them ‘the how,’” Ned says. “We would ask more questions and dig deeper. We wouldn’t talk so much about ourselves anymore. And we’d get down to the nitty gritty of what’s hurting and how to succeed.”
This is something you need to evoke all the time. You need to think, “Am I giving them enough now to not necessarily to say yes to what I’m offering, but to go and change the game for their business, for their family?” Ned says.
We’re in an information overload society. You can find a billion results online, but almost nobody tells you how to take action.
“There is going to be a massive differentiator when you start providing people ‘the how value,’” Ned says.
So, embrace this customer obsession. Be holistic and genuine. Make their metrics your metrics. And show that you truly care about achieving the customers’ goals.
Get More From The Customer Experience Podcast
Ned spoke directly to the heart of this podcast – creating and delivering a better experience for our customers by becoming intentional, aligned, and holistic about their experience with us as people and as a business.
Subscribe for more episodes like this one right now:
- “Five Ways Internal Alignment Can Elevate Your Customer Experience” with Sangram Vajre, cofounder and Chief Evangelist at Terminus, coauthor of “ABM is B2B,” and host of the #FlipMyFunnel podcast
- “Creating An Amazing Customer Experience By Being ‘Slightly Better Than Average’” with Shep Hyken, Chief Amazement Officer at Shepard Presentations
- “Why Obsession is the Missing Ingredient in You Customer Experience” with Matt Knee, Founder and President of MyCompanyWorks and author of the book “Startups Made Simple”
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Practice Customer Obsession With Video
Customer obsession comes through on video more than any other medium. Because you can’t fake genuine and sincere interest.
Build stronger relationships faster with video to show your customers that you’re focused on their metrics, KPIs, and goals. Educate them and help them succeed.
If you’re ready to get face to face at scale, “Rehumanize Your Business” is a great resource to set you on the right track.
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