When you think of amazing customer service, one of the first companies you think of is online retailing giant Amazon.com.
Amazon has taken the world by storm since it was founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994 nearly 23 years ago. The company began selling books before branching out to many other areas of retail, including electronics and homeware.
It was recently valued at $292.6 billion, and ranked 11th in Forbes’s list of most innovative companies.
Throughout all of this, they have kept customer service at their core. They were achieved a 59.4% customer satisfaction score in 2015, and less than 2% of customers said they’d had a bad experience with Amazon.
Unlike many large companies, their customer support phone number is easy to find – just try typing ‘amazon customer service’ into Google. It comes up straight away!
Bezos describes himself as having a “customer obsession”, and this shows in how many people he has managed to attract to the internet retailer.
Amazon have cracked the secret to building loyal customers by offering personalized product recommendations which are actually relevant, making it super easy to buy products, often offering free shipping and quickly – and responding effectively to customer queries.
Thinking Outside the Box
There’s a brilliant story of an Amazon agent who did an impression of a Norse god during an interaction with one customer whose book order hadn’t arrived. The customer played along, and the resulting conversation went viral online.
This is an example of one of their customer support agents being given the freedom to show their personality in their job.
Obviously, not every interaction can be so wacky, but this is a prime example of using humour to great effect in customer service.
The story is reflects how Amazon are truly customer-centric. They allow their agents to have creativity and autonomy when dealing with their customers, instead of simply reading from a script or sticking to an overly rigid process.
Allowing Customers to Help Themselves
One of the most important areas of customer service is allowing customers to use self-service for common, basic tasks. It’s having the insight to know when to direct your customers to your website or connect them with an agent, and Amazon mostly get it right.
Customers are able to perform all but the most complex actions just using the Amazon website by filling in a few details online, whether that’s returning a package or changing your payment options.
Nevertheless, it’s still possible for customers to easily contact the customer service team using the online form where you can choose from a variety of mediums.
Breaking Into New Markets
Amazon have even pioneered in markets which you wouldn’t expect such as their Kindle dominating the ereader market. They’ve even branche out into delivering groceries.
They compete with online video streaming site Netflix by cornering some of the audio and video market with Amazon Video. Now, they’ve also launched the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
They use Big Data to create better customer service by personalizing interactions with their support teams. Sean Madden talks about how an Amazon support rep solved his problem with his Kindle in under two minutes, helped along by access to his details in the company database.
Of course, giving in to every customer demand isn’t good business, but Amazon have successfully made themselves the most popular online retailer to date.
The Bigger Picture
The company has kept sight of the big picture and prioritized customer satisfaction over simply profits and stock market pressure alone.
It’s been reported that they actually lose money by going that extra mile for customers, prioritizing innovation over profits. This is at odds with many companies which normally focus primarily on increasing their bottom line and quick wins for their stock prices.
We’re living in the age of the customer, and only business who are customer-centric are going to keep thriving. This means that customer service is all the more important.
Customer service reps must all be on board with the company ethos and values, take ownership of the products and feel part of the team.