In just over 25 years, Amazon has become the world’s top online retailer. During that time, it has transformed many aspects of retail and customer service that we now take for granted. The company’s dedication to innovation and the customer experience has raised the bar for everyone.
Essentially consumers now expect the same level of service and ease of doing business when dealing with every organisation, whatever the sector.
What can we learn from Amazon’s meteoric rise? And how can its customer service best practice help drive success for other organisations?
1. A Relentless Focus on the Customer
Right from the beginning, customer-centricity has been at the core of Amazon’s DNA. Founder Jeff Bezos even insisted that every senior management meeting should have an empty chair, representing the customer. A reminder of why people were there and who they were serving.
Amazon works with six tenets of customer service to guide its activities:
- Relentlessly advocate for customers
- Trust customers and rely on staff to use good judgment to solve problems quickly
- Anticipate customer needs, treating their time and attention as sacred
- Deliver specific personalized experiences that customers love
- Detect and solve the customers’ problems early, ensuring a clear path of escalation
- Eliminate customer effort using self-service, automation, support from expert associates and defect elimination
So, while most companies talk about customer-centricity, the lesson that Amazon teaches us is that you must go beyond paying lip service to the term. Ensure it is embedded across your organisation. The phrase the company uses is “work backward from the customer”.
In other words: don’t start with new product ideas or improvements, start with what the customer is looking for and wants from their experience.
2. Be Easy to Do Business With
Amazon understands that it’s essential to value your customers’ time. This leads to offering features such as one-click shopping as well as learning from customer behaviour to drive effortless experiences. For example, using purchasing and browsing histories to recommend relevant products.
And in the same way Amazon has aimed to make the experience easy for partners such as B2B sellers to sell through its platform, helping to attract and retain them.
3. Continually Innovate
While it began life as an online bookstore, Amazon has expanded to sell an enormous range of products, building its success through constant innovation. From introducing new types of services (Prime and Kindle) and interaction methods (Alexa) to transitioning into a platform for other companies to sell on, its transformation has been continual and far-reaching.
Some innovations such as Prime have been enormously successful, while others such as the Fire phone have failed. But Amazon’s methodology of “test, experiment, learn and improve” has been applied to everything it does, from adjusting page layouts to designing new checkout processes. The key learning from all this is: don’t be afraid to fail. If something doesn’t come off, apologise, and quickly move on.
4. Harness Customer Feedback
Amazon is a master at using customer feedback and the customer community to extract insights and improve the experience it delivers, something that every business can adopt.
For example, the company was one of the first to introduce online customer reviews, now an intrinsic part of the online shopping experience. In the same way it has been committed to making it easy for customers and sellers to ask questions (and get support from) other customers and sellers.
5. Ensure Customer Service Scales
The best customer experience is undoubtedly when the customer doesn’t need to make contact as the whole process is straightforward and trouble-free. And that’s exactly what Amazon focuses on delivering.
If a customer does have a query, it makes the process for solving it as quick and easy as possible, minimising human interaction and prioritising self-service and automation through a comprehensive knowledge base.
As well as recognising that the customer’s time is valuable, this commitment to self-service and automation at scale reduces cost. (Think of the enormous customer service team Amazon would need without it.)
Amazon’s impact across the ecommerce and wider business landscape has been far-reaching. Particularly as it has set new standards in making life easier for customers.
And of course, this commitment to the customer has created a virtuous circle for the brand. Engaged customers use it more, attracting more merchants/products and thus more consumers/buyers.
Whatever your industry, examining Amazon’s success will provide insights for improving your own customer service, now and in the future.
This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Enghouse Interactive – View the original post
To find out more about Enghouse Interactive, visit their website.
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