Everybody’s favorite customer-centric idol

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When I ask corporate leaders, marketers and IT executives about their aspirations for customer-facing technology, the responses are universally consistent: “We want to be like Amazon!”

While retail customer satisfaction surveys vary, Amazon is typically among the top five and is frequently listed as No. 1. So, it’s no surprise to hear that other businesses across all industries aim to emulate Amazon, their hero of customer service. Amazon is both customer-centric and very successful. Who wouldn’t want that?

Amazon-like customer service seems like a noble goal. Accordingly, many companies are looking for the holy grail of improved customer journey, web and mobile computing. And these are all helpful in realizing superlative customer service. But let’s look at the brass tacks of Amazon’s customer service success:

1. Amazon has been successful because they focus on the customer first. You have a problem? They´ll quickly fix it. Amazon doesn’t rely on chat bots but instead has real customer service agents empowered to resolve customer complaints.

2. They don’t rely on a mapped customer journey. Rather, they consider the context of any given situation and respond appropriately. For instance, they can delete billing items if that’s what it takes to make things right for an individual customer.

3. Amazon avoids common digital marketing mistakes such as never-ending streams of emails, unlimited recommendations, too many annoying notifications in a mobile app, or sponsored “posts” in social media like Facebook. These are all things people complain about online.

Providing high-quality customer service and offering good value at a low price is the foundation of Amazon’s leading satisfaction ratings. Yes, companies should see Amazon as an example of how to provide a great customer experience and then consider how to digitize for additional satisfaction.

My advice to businesses wanting to be like Amazon is simple: communications should be relevant, thoughtful and consistent across all touch points. AI, machine learning, big data and other technologies can help organizations to better understand their customer, but at the core it must have a customer-focused culture or all the technology in the world won’t help.

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