Customer Obsession v. Customer Focused

Jeff Bezos encourages us to become Customer Obsessed (see video snippet) however Netflix’s journey to CX Obsession is less well known.

Here is an extract from a great article (link below):

From Gibson Biddle, former VP at Netflix and CPO at Chegg
In 2005, as I joined Netflix as VP of Product, I asked Reed Hastings, the CEO, what he hoped his legacy would be. His answer: “Consumer science.” He explained, “Leaders like Steve Jobs have a sense of style and what customers seek, but I don’t. We need consumer science to get there.”

Gibson Biddle, Former VP at Netflix

Reed’s aspiration was that the Netflix team would discover what delights customers through the scientific process. Forming hypotheses through existing data, qualitative, and surveys, and then A/B testing these ideas to see what works. His vision was that product leaders at Netflix would develop remarkable consumer insight, fueled by results and learning from thousands of experiments.

During my time at Netflix, and later at my next startup, Chegg, I learned to move from customer focus to customer obsession. In doing so embraced Reed’s notion of consumer science. Here’s how I think about the transition:


The full article here is great testimony to moving away from the soft and fluffy version of Customer Experience.
Let’s get more scientific about Customer Experience.

Contact Gibson here.

Is your Customer Experience initiative working for you?
CX Obsessed or just playing at it?
Upskill you or your team find out more to learn how others have become successful with a Customer Obsession strategy


Steve Towers
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Steve Towers
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BP Group
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There is no excuse for complexity.

There is no excuse for complexity. It is a consequence of muddled thinking and a lack of understanding of the true goal of the organization, which is creating Successful Customer Outcomes.

Complexity has developed as organizations have added new routes to market, new ways of delivering service, new enterprise IT systems and a myriad of improvement approaches. Each internal functional specialism has developed a mindset to optimize their part of the organization, sometimes at the expense of others. The unwieldy complexity that results has caused a reaction primarily aimed at the need to create order out of this chaos, as if accepting that complexity itself as a right to be. This is not so. Let us unravel the muddle of complexity once and for all.

All work in an organization is fundamentally created by the need to provide product or service to the customer. Everything else is a consequence of that need, which creates value for the shareholders and creates a livelihood for the work force. All else follows.

Furthermore all interactions in meeting the needs for customers are the cause of all work within an organization. These interactions, or Moments of Truth[i], create work in so far as we need to attend to a request internally.

In doing so we interact with our colleagues, systems and other internal processes, and create internal Moments of Truth, which can be referred to as Breakpoints[ii]. The way we deal with Moments of Truth and Breakpoints is underpinned by Business Rules[iii] which may be thought of as ‘decision points within processes’.

These three entities determine the shape of our organization, the internal landscape of how we do work. The resulting activities from Moments of Truth, Breakpoints and Business Rules create the very processes themselves. In fact process is simply an effect caused by the way we choose to interact and guide the customer to obtain our products or service.

Think about that – process is an effect. If that is the reality then the vast range of tools and techniques created in the last century, and sometimes before, are fixing an effect. It is like taking painkillers for discomfort and nothing more. If we are not getting to grips with the causes of the pain it will surely get worse and as we discover, stronger pain killers are then required.

That’s the rub. We have been systematically fixing the wrong things and is it any wonder that change doesn’t stick? Have you ever had that feeling that this is the same project challenge as before, just dusted off and here we go again? It is because we are not fixing the causes of work, and while we continue to ignore the causes the complexity worsens, costs increase and service suffers.

Einstein put it well when he said
“We can’t solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”