Amazon.com’s rise to a $75 billion/year company did not happen accidentally. At the helm, CEO Jeff Bezos has strategically crafted his customer service practices, business prowess, and attention to metrics into every facet of the company. A recent Bloomberg in-depth article profiles the man who leads Amazon and sheds light on the customer service skills that have made the company legendary. According to the article, three key customer service skills are valued and have helped set Amazon apart from the rest.
Amazon customer service skill #1: The customer’s opinion trumps data
Amazon employs sophisticated algorithms to sort through massive amounts of customer data. The items a customer clicks on the most, the pages that customers favor, and a customer’s buying habits all shape the detailed profiles that are responsible for features such as “Amazon recommendations.” However, within all of this data, the customer’s voice is still not lost. If a customer sends an email to Jeff Bezos with a complaint, chances are, he will read it and forward it on to the appropriate department. Bezos has a public email address, and he often combs through customer grievances. If Bezos forwards an email to a department head, the teams are tasked with dropping their projects until the customer complaint is resolved. As one executive at Amazon notes, “every anecdote from a customer matters … it’s an audit. We treat them as precious sources of information.”
Amazon customer service skill #2: Keep your message simple and customer-focused
Tech behemoth companies are known for their showy product unveilings, packed conferences, and frequent media blitzes. At Amazon, things are less pretentious, and Bezos himself takes a red pen to every press release distributed by the company. He distills the message down to the clear and simple brand platform: You won’t find a cheaper, friendlier place to get everything you need than at Amazon. Bezos’ insistence that this message pervades every brand touchpoint keeps the company’s image unambiguous and customer-focused.
Amazon customer service skill #3: Being the best at customer service means your competitors can’t be better
Amazon keeps its edge by assiduously studying what its competitors are up to. A group within Amazon called Competitive Intelligence is tasked with studying the marketplace by buying large amounts of merchandise from other companies and measuring how these companies employ customer service skills. How easy was it to shop with the company? How speedy was the delivery? How does the company handle customer complaints? The group compiles data on each company and presents the findings to Bezos and his lieutenants. When the team finds threats in the marketplace, they quickly respond by altering any customer service gaps, prices, or shipping logistics that another company is doing a superior job at.
Even when you have 97,000 employees, you need to keep the focus on the customer
Apple is known for its product design and crafting a user experience. Microsoft is known for its ubiquity. Amazon wants to be known for its customer service skills. As a purveyor of basically everything you could ever need to buy online, Bezos and the leadership team at Amazon realize that to stay successful, offering a great customer experience will be the main differentiator that keeps customers from shopping on other websites or in physical stores. No matter how big Amazon gets, and no matter how many employees the ranks swell to, Amazon keeps the basics of listening to the customer, having a clear message, and beating the competition’s customer experience as the driving force behind Amazon’s growth.