Why Obsession Is The Missing Ingredient In Your Customer Experience

Matt Knee, The Customer Experience Podcast, Customer Obsession, Product Obsession



Obsession is the complete micromanagement of the customer experience.”

According to Matt Knee, Founder and President of MyCompanyWorks and author of the book Startups Made Simple, obsession is a superpower.

Apple’s Steve Jobs, Southwest Airlines’ Herb Kelleher, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos are examples of obsessed leaders. There aren’t many great companies whose founder wasn’t obsessed with seeing their vision of the perfect customer experience come to life.

Great founders also have another superpower that Matt says is even more important – and it’s included in the podcast recording and in this blog post.

Matt and his team have helped more than 60,000 companies form and grow. He brings many lessons learned along the way to this practical and productive podcast.




Why Obsession Is The Missing Ingredient In Your Customer Experience

To hear this episode and dozens of other great conversations, subscribe to The Customer Experience Podcast in Apple Podcasts by clicking right here.

If you listen to podcasts elsewhere, we’ve got you covered! Listen to any or every episode in Spotify, Google Podcasts, or Stitcher.

I also embed each recording in its blog post. Click here to see them.

Hear the entire conversation with Matt Knee right here …

Listen to “20. Why Obsession Is the Missing Ingredient in Your Customer Experience w/ Matt Knee” on Spreaker.



Superpower #1: Product Obsession

customer experience, customer obsession, product obsession, micromanagement


Jeff Bezos knows the product page on Amazon like the back of his hand. He doesn’t delegate it out — for better or worse.

Steve Jobs would purchase a new vehicle every few months so he didn’t have to put a California license plate on it. He didn’t like the aesthetics. Now that’s obsession.

Obsession almost always has to come from the founder – or at least from the top. It’s rare that this level passion for and particularity about a great customer experience comes from anyone else.

In this clip, Matt talks product obsession


Systemize Your Customer Experience

So how do you practically put obsession into practice? By having systems for every tiny interaction your customer has with your brand.

You can systemize even things that are supposedly creative and intuitive. There are lots of ways to do it. You can create a road map. You can try some “dogfooding” (you wouldn’t believe how many founders don’t even use their own product).

In order to develop systems for your customer experience, do the following two things at least on an annual basis:

  • Document what the customer goes through step by step ordering your product or service.
  • Go through the process yourself. Experience it end to end. Figure out where the magical touches could be put in.

The second one is especially important. You have to think like the customer and empathize with the customer, so experience what she or he experiences and identify ways to improve that.

As employees, we tend to think only of our own little pieces. Your customer service person thinks you’re a customer service company, while your engineers think you’re an engineering company.

That’s not what the customer sees at all.

They don’t see your day to day. They have no idea what you do. And they don’t care about your problems. They just care about what it’s like for them to deal with your company. That’s why you have to turn it around and make it about them. (Note: we cover this topic in the previous episode, too)

It’s challenging. You have to basically forget how your company works. Matt calls it “scheduled amnesia.” When you do your walkthrough, you have to forget how your backend works on your website. You have to pretend you don’t know any of your procedures.

If you can get to that level, you can look at everything with fresh eyes.

Hear Matt explain this process of reviewing and improving your experience …



Superpower #2: The Agency Mindset

The Agency Mindset is this: If you have something to get done, it will get done. You don’t have to be reminded to get things done: you’re going to impose your will on reality to make sure they do.

“Agency Mindset” is the fancy way to say it. You may be more familiar with an alternative phrase: “Git ‘er done.”

Out of 16 superpowers in the book, Matt said this is easily the most important one for any founder to possess. If you’re a person who can get things done, you’re unstoppable in life.

For those of you who don’t naturally have this mindset, know that you can cultivate it.

“I believe everyone has agency within,” Matt said. “You just have to light the fire.”

agency mindset, mindset, locus of control, customer experience


Consider an illustration:

If my friend owes me $1,000 and I casually mention that I need it back by the end of the day, I’m probably not going to expect to actually get it.

But if I needed $1,000 for a life-saving medication for a loved one I could only acquire by hustling, begging, or stealing, it’s going to get done.

It’s a matter of changing your mindset. You have to ask yourself, “Is it important that I get this done?”

Another important piece of developing an agency mindset is not to overthink it. There’s a very martial mindset to people with agency.

How do you lose weight? You exercise and eat less. A person with agency thinks exactly like that. They don’t break it up into different body types and percentages and end up doing nothing at all.

The bane of intelligent founders is overthinking. A martial, almost military mindset can be the cure.

“Do or do not,” as Yoda says. “There is no ‘try.’”



This post is based on an interview with Matt Knee, Founder and President of MyCompanyWorks and author of the book Startups Made Simple.

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The Best Way to Demonstrate Agency and Obsession? Video!

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Ethan Beute

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