Didn’t Believe Amazon Was Customer Centric Before? You Will Now.


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Amazon has been making some groundbreaking moves in customer experience design in the past few months that are truly remarkable. Even though they were already top rated for their customer experience, they are not content to stop where they are. They are always continuing to find the next way to surprise and delight customers and prove over and over again that they are a customer-centric organization.

In my post, “A Message to Wall Street,” I talk about Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon’s letter to shareholders last year that detailed how his focus was to put customer experience as their highest priority. This approach has attracted criticism in the past because analysts have long believed that Amazon should be making more money by now.

But while making money is important, it is not the driving force behind the longest living entities in the new millennium. Bezos and Amazon’s team have long had a tradition of focusing on a customer centric company. Here are three of their latest moves that prove that they mean business when it comes to customer experience.

#1: Prime Music is Music to Customer’s Ears

Amazon has a hit with Prime music. Chances are that if you are a Prime member and haven’t already checked out the new service, you will likely lose a couple hours of your day exploring what you can add to your music library for no additional charge.

In the latest headlines about Amazon.com is their new music streaming service. If you logged onto their site on Thursday, you saw a letter to customers from Bezos introducing Prime Music, the newest benefit of membership to Amazon Prime members.

Amazon is famous for being focused on the customer experience. Prime Music is no exception to the tradition of customer centricity that Bezos and his team are known for. In the letter on Amazon’s page it states:

“In designing Prime Music, we wanted to remove the barriers between you and the music you love. We removed cost. You can listen to the entire Prime Music Catalog for free – it’s included in your Prime membership. We removed interruptions. Don’t worry about have your music constantly disrupted by ads…you won’t hear any. We removed listening restrictions. Choose exactly what song to listen to, repeat your favorite song over and over again, or download music to your phone or table to listen offline.”

It’s funny but each of those examples that are given in the letter are almost exactly what drives me mad about some of the other music streaming options. Amazon has once again shown that they are putting the customer first when they design their experience.

#2: A Mayday Button for Customers

Speculation is that the popular Mayday button that is currently part of the Kindle FIRE HDX Tablets suite of services will likely be replicated by imitators . Currently, the response time is 9.75 seconds. That’s right, in under 10 seconds you can have a tech support specialist helping you right from your Tablet to get you out of whatever sticky situation in which you find yourself.

Salesforce is likely to replicate this Mayday button concept with the SOS button. But what are they going to discover? ZDNet.com’s article says they will likely learn that it takes a lot or time, money and staff to get the response time to less than 10 seconds. And like Amazon discovered, they will see that the SOS button will get a little abused. According to the article, some of the pressing FIRE HDX “mayday” problems have been to sing Happy Birthday or to help a person make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

While this type of service may not seem very natural to the salesforce.com team, the Amazon team knows that this is just another extension of being customer centric. Every time they field a marriage proposal over the Mayday button, they know that they are building engagement…and not just between the bride and groom.

#3: Getting HBO programming on Instant Video

Another move by Amazon in April made the Prime membership the only way to get access to some of HBO’s content without subscribing to HBO. The first rounds of shows are its older catalog and shows that are now concluded (read: no Veep, Girls or Game of Thrones, to name a few).

But the new shows will be added in time. To see what available on Amazon’s video steaming service, see this list in here. This is a big step for HBO and Amazon, and a partnership that will definitely be a good deal for subscribers.

A Long Tradition of Customer Centricity

In my first book, I talked to Robin Terrell who was at that time the VP and Managing Director for Amazon.co.uk. He was describing how they were using customer information to create a more personalized experience, providing suggestions based on your most recent purchases or saving a series of items you had looked at recently. That’s old news now, of course, but that’s because they were doing it all the way back in 2000.

He also talked about how when one of the Harry Potter books was about to be released, how they took preorders creating the anticipation and excitement that accompanied the book’s release, comparing it to an online version of waiting outside the shop the day the book was released. Even better, however, was that the 65,000 amazon customers who pre-ordered got their books delivered on their doorstep before the shops were ever open. Talk about surprise and delight!

Terrell explained to us that they looked for ways to enhance the online experience. In addition, they worked to create a culture of putting the customer first in their employees. He described to us one way that they do this:

“Everybody who works at Amazon will spend time in one of our frontline operational areas, either packing boxes at the distribution center or answering email queries from customers in the busy run up to Christmas. It’s important because it gets everybody to realize how important everyone else’s jobs are. It also shows people where the customer experience comes from.”

Amazon is always upping the ante in the game of customer experience. Other companies want to imitate them. But I would caution them to remember that Amazon puts the customer first in everything they do. By imitating Amazon’s service without being committed to the philosophy behind the service, the organization is not as likely to yield the same results.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Colin Shaw
Colin is an original pioneer of Customer Experience. LinkedIn has recognized Colin as one of the ‘World's Top 150 Business Influencers’ Colin is an official LinkedIn "Top Voice", with over 280,000 followers & 80,000 subscribed to his newsletter 'Why Customers Buy'. Colin's consulting company Beyond Philosophy, was recognized by the Financial Times as ‘one of the leading consultancies’. Colin is the co-host of the highly successful Intuitive Customer podcast, which is rated in the top 2% of podcasts.


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