The benefits of developing a ‘customer obsession’

Obsessing over customers leads organisations to place clients at the centre of the business – boosting revenue, increasing efficiencies and gaining a competitive advantage.

Johannesburg, 06 Nov 2023
Andries Pretorius, Head: Information Technology & Customer Relationship Management, Altron Managed Solutions.
Andries Pretorius, Head: Information Technology & Customer Relationship Management, Altron Managed Solutions.

In modern business, customer acquisition and retention are absolutely one of the keys to success. Moreover, it should be recognised that those organisations that focus on not simply meeting, but exceeding, customer expectations are the ones most likely to succeed.

It is for this reason that Altron Managed Solutions places such strong emphasis on a culture and strategic mindset that prioritises meeting and exceeding customer expectations at every single touchpoint, explains Andries Pretorius, Head: Information Technology & Customer Relationship Management at Altron Managed Solutions.

“It is a mindset that focuses on anticipating their needs and proactively meeting these, by placing the customer at the centre of everything. For us, this customer obsession is a strategic lever Altron uses to grow its business,” he says.

“It is something we view as a critical element in achieving future success. By placing them at the centre, we are positioned to understand their needs more clearly and deeply, and to deliver value more consistently to them.”

He indicates that the company has committed to the continuous enhancement of the customer experience. This, he adds, is impelled by data-driven decisions, with the organisation improving its services through analysis, the monitoring of feedback from customers and constantly adjusting its behaviours to continue to drive improvements in its service delivery capabilities.

“For example, we build key performance indicators (KPIs) into our employees’ job descriptions, which are designed to ensure their focus remains on the customer. While selling is the ultimate end goal, we achieve this by delivering exactly what solution the customer requires, along with excellent service. We know that if we do this, the customers will come back and purchase even more from us.”

“By using a centralised platform – in this case, Microsoft Dynamics CRM – the company is able to know individual customers' detailed information upfront, such as what products and services they have already purchased, and what is in the pipeline to sell to them.”

Altron then uses its IT service management (ITSM) platform to obtain data on queries and incidents that have been logged. Analysing this, he notes, allows the organisation to understand trends – such as there being an unusual number of calls during certain times of the year, for example, in preparation for Black Friday – which helps it understand in depth what the customer's pain points or requirements are.

“Being customer obsessed also helps to enhance the quality of services provided, while a focus on delivering services perfectly aligned to their needs also talks to this. Prioritising quality, reliability and responsiveness allows the customer to experience reduced downtime, faster issue resolution and an improvement in their overall quality of service, which leads to increased productivity and a better bottom line,” continues Pretorius.

“Prompt issue resolution is one of the hallmarks of this type of obsession. Proactive resolution of challenges reduces client frustration and downtime, freeing them up to focus on their core business instead.”

He points out that there are obvious advantages to being an organisation that focuses closely on customer obsession. These include regular, repeat business and the customer loyalty that comes from delivering exceptional service. In addition, he says, such obsession leads to strong word-of-mouth recommendations, creating additional potential business. Lastly, of course, such an approach reduces customer churn, which helps the provider to retain existing market share.

“Customer obsession, ultimately, is not merely about making the customer happy. It is about doing so via a sustainable and profitable business model. Placing your customers at the centre of the business is a strategy that will result in increased revenue, improved operational efficiencies, stronger competitive advantage and improved customer advocacy.

“Moreover, it should be remembered that ‘customer obsession’ is far more than just another industry buzzword – it is a genuine imperative for those businesses seeking to deliver unparalleled service to customers in the IT service management space, and thus is a strategic mindset that needs to be inculcated,” concludes Pretorius.