In tough times, businesses often cut the exact investments that they need in order to push through and come out ahead of competitors. The reflex to squirrel away cash under the corporate mattress contradicts what history has proven: Companies that continue to invest in innovation lead their markets better and for longer. So if you hear other analyst firms saying that customer obsession isn’t necessary, call their bluff! Forty business leaders who we interviewed for new research told us that customer obsession is not only doable but imperative for getting through economic turbulence.

You already know that customer-obsessed companies have far higher revenue growth, customer retention, and profitability than non-customer-obsessed ones. But my new report with colleague Corey McNair, The Cost Of Not Being Customer Obsessed, shows that stopping investment in customer obsession will cost you hundreds of millions of dollars. In other words, standing still doesn’t just lose you potential upside — it actually provokes losses due to declining customer goodwill, increased waste, data loss, and employee theft.

Our findings:

  • A large manufacturer that stops investing in customer obsession today will lose $771 million over the next 12 years.
  • A large financial services firm will lose $862 million.
  • A large retailer will lose $37 million.

Customize the upside and downside that your business should expect through The Forrester Customer Obsession Risk Calculator. This calculator tallies the impact of any investments that you have made, or have stopped making, and calculates their cumulative impact on your gains and losses over the amount of time that we expect it to take a business to become customer-obsessed.

Your riskiest move right now is to pause efforts toward customer obsession. Forgoing investments now makes future investments less effective because their foundation is thin. And the longer that you do not spend on customer obsession, the worse your losses become.

Drop me a line to talk more about these findings and to create a customized business case for customer obsession at your firm.