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The Customer Obsessed Organization

How to Lead with the Customer First

Shep Hyken interviews Shirley Macbeth, Chief Marketing Officer at Forrester, responsible for elevating the company’s thought leadership profile and generating demand for its portfolio of research, consulting, and events. They discuss how customer-obsessed organizations must put their customers at the center of their leadership, strategy, and operations.


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Top Takeaways:

  • Many companies think that they are customer-obsessed while unaware of the customer-focused gaps within their organization. These gaps can be felt by the customers through their digital channels, interactions with people, and a variety of things in their organization.
  • Gaps in being a customer-obsessed organization happen when companies do not deliver their brand promise.
  • The brand promise falls into three categories:
  1. ‘Unlike the others’ – Being different, quirky, or unusual.
  2. ‘At your service’ – Differentiating the experience through amazing customer service.
  3. ‘On your side, by your side’ – Being the customer’s advocate.
  • A customer-obsessed organization listens to their clients and takes actions based on the information that they receive.
  • In 2017, it would have taken 17 interactions with a brand to close a typical B2B transaction. Now, it takes 27 with 4 or more people involved before customers can make a buying decision.
  • Throughout the pandemic, the racial tensions that we are in, and the environmental issues that we are facing, customers are taking a closer look at the brands that they want to trust and do business with.
  • What happens inside an organization is felt on the outside by the customers.
  • Many companies underestimate the importance of how employees feel about how service is delivered to their customers.
  • Alignment in business is knowing who your customer is, how you want them to feel, and shaping your product around customer obsession.
  • Aligned organizations have 19% faster growth and 15% higher profitability.


“Lead with the customer first. Keep the customer in mind with every decision that your company makes.”

“Customer obsession must involve the leaders of the company, its processes, its strategy, its marketing, and the employees.”

“When done right, customer obsession can generate twice the profitability, revenue, and employee retention.”

“Customers now expect brands to take a stance on the issues that they care about.”

“Every company has a product or a solution, but its people are the most important part of the brand.”


Shirley Macbeth is the Chief Marketing Officer at Forrester. Macbeth has 25+ years of experience as a marketing executive with a proven track record in increasing revenues and building brand awareness for global B2B companies.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, New York Times bestselling author, award-winning keynote speaker, and your host of Amazing Business Radio.

This episode of Amazing Business Radio with Shep Hyken answers the following questions … and more:

  1. What is customer obsession?
  2. How do you create a customer-obsessed organization?
  3. What is the difference between customer service and customer obsession?
  4. How has the pandemic changed customer expectations and interactions?
  5. Why is delivering your brand promise important?

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