The only way to survive in today’s ever-changing market place, is to innovate according to customers wants and needs.
Arguably, no other company has been as successful at building its brand around the customer, than Amazon has. The following quote from the company's CEO, comes to show how important being customer-centric is to them and underlines their accomplishments to this day.
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”
Jeff Bezos, Founder & CEO of Amazon
How has Amazon become the “Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company”?
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has been at the helm of change since his early days as a pioneer in online book sales. According to Bezos, the key to the company’s success has been truly listening to their customers and continuously pushing the boundaries to provide them with what they are looking for.
Since 1995, Amazon has expanded at a breakneck speed, thanks to Bezos's unconventional leadership style.
What started out as a relatively simple online service – book sales – has developed into an all-encompassing e-retail empire, selling a variety of high and low-end products and providing a host of services.
For example, in recent years, the company has launched Amazon Prime, initially a membership-only delivery service which has since morphed into a service enabling users to download music, stream movies, access unlimited cloud storage, order food delivery to home or office, and – coming soon – receive deliveries via aerial drones.
All of this, in addition to the company’s other services which include Amazon Art (in partnership with selected galleries), Amazon Video (providing on-demand services), and Amazon Destinations (a travel service).
Bezo’s bold leadership and understanding of consumer buying habits has led to his creation of a new and breakthrough business model, all the while maintaining his company’s position as a customer satisfaction leader.
In 2015, Amazon ranked as a top online retailer for customer satisfaction and voted as the best company in America. Millennials are particularly loyal to Amazon.
Read more about Millennials: The Customer-Centric Generation.
Amazon is a multibillion dollar brand which has had many years to create, test, and perfect its customer service model.
Although its capabilities may be out of reach for the average business, Amazon’s customer-centric model provides inspiration which any business could benefit and learn a lesson from.
Customer Service Lessons from Amazon
1- Customer Focus
In 2013, Bezos told Charlie Rose that the customer comes before business innovation: “I would define Amazon by our big ideas, which are customer centricity, putting the customer at the center of everything we do.”
Indeed, the company has made an art of finding new and better ways to improve customer experience, some of which include:
- Offering fast, hassle-free ordering and delivery.
- Using data to personalize, helping shoppers in real time with product selections based on browsing and buying history.
- Going out of its way to help customers get the best deal.
Unfortunately, companies tend not to pay enough attention to their customers, whom they are providing products and services to. They get so caught up with everything else in company, that they end up overlooking the most important aspect of a business: happy customers.
2- Customer Empowerment
Bezos declared early on, that Amazon would not simply sell stuff but “help customers make purchase decisions.”
This attitude led to the key differentiator of allowing customers to post book reviews and, eventually, reviews of the entire range of products offered on the web site.
Feedback is placed directly on the product’s page and users are provided with multiples ways to parse the information to their liking.
While customer reviews are seen everywhere today – Yelp, Uber, TripAdvisor – Amazon was the first to display such reviews, creating a more transparent e-retail space with two key benefits for the consumer:
- Prior to customer reviews, internet shoppers were essentially shopping in the dark, but thanks to Amazon the customer has readily available knowledge with which to make purchase decisions.
- Manufacturers are now held even more accountable for the quality of their products, knowing that customers are sharing everything with one another.
People like to know they are not being pushed into a decision, rather they are happy when provided will all informations so they can make their own decision and it's your job as a company to help them with that, as Amazon did.
It's understandable to get cold sweats to the idea of detractors spoiling the image of your product or service through their reviews. But you're also empowering your customers and increasing their trust in you, by giving free way to transparency and opinion. Don't forget promotors are also out there if you make them satisfied.
3- Customer Loyalty
Amazon focuses on one simple measure of customer service quality: helpfulness.
They regularly interacts with customers through non-intrusive and easy-to-use satisfaction surveys. The surveys are an effective tool for building sales and turning customers into loyal enthusiasts.
Analytics are at the heart of the company’s success with surveys acting as a critical tool for understanding the customer experience.
For example, asking about customers habits: “How often do you browse an online store on your cell phone/mobile phone device?”.
The question does two important jobs:
- It provides a single, one-dimensional metric.
- The simplicity of the question ensures a high response rate, providing Amazon with feedback it can use to make necessary adjustments.
Customer service at Amazon isn’t designed to simply field complains and queries, but is an opportunity to improve the company’s relationship to its customers.
Using surveys will allow you to know and especially understand, the nitty gritty of why customers are interacting the ways they are. What is bringing them in? What is pushing them away?
You can opt for a smooth way of proposing your survey to your customers as Amazon does through an email, as below.
There are many ways for you to build a survey depending on what type of information you'd like to collect. More so, they can be triggered at a strategic moment of the customers visit on the website.
MyFeelBack offers the possibility to do so through ultra-customized surveys, that will help you know more about the what, why and when of your customers behavior.
All in all, Amazon is proof that being customer-centric is key towards the path of success. Of course this requires strategies leading to good customer knowledge, which will enable the best possible customer experience and satisfaction for your visitors. No matter how small you are, you can use customer feedback to thrive.