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Customer Service, Amazon-Style

August 30, 2016

Amazon is the largest internet-based retailer in the world. Hard to believe it began life as an online bookstore. Nowadays, it sells just about everything.

One of the keys to Amazon’s success: its obsession with customer service. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is famous for having an empty chair at company meetings. It represents The Customer: the most important person in the room.

I did some research, and identified 10 key elements of Amazon’s customer service. I used them to create this infographic:blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
Customer Service Amazon Style infographic CEO Jeff Bezos holding little chair symbolizing The Customer as most important person in room

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highHere’s a larger detail image:blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
detail image Customer Service Amazon Style infographic CEO Jeff Bezos holding little chair symbolizing The Customer as most important person in room

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highA few thoughts on each element. Most of them overlap:BlankVertSpace.8pixels

  1. Make it easy: if a customer has to struggle to place an online order, you’ve lost that person.
  2. Understand the customer: Amazon managers, including Bezos himself, attend 2 days of call center training every year. It’s a dramatic reminder that company success is tied to understanding customers and their needs.
  3. Respect the customer’s authority: today’s customers vent their frustrations on social media. Bezos, quote: “If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.”
  4. Serve the customer: ask how you can make that person more successful. Why obsess with good service? Auto maker Henry Ford put it this way, quote: “It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money… It is the customer who pays the wages.”
  5. Involve every employee– not just those on the front lines of customer service. Everyone in the company needs to be committed to the needs of the customer.
  6. Align your goals with the customer’s: Bezos on customer focus: “We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon… and they’re the reason we’re successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.”
  7. Be accessible: if customers can’t contact you when they have a problem, you’re sending them a clear message: don’t bother us, we don’t care.
  8. Be accountable: Amazon tracks every customer exchange to make sure issues
    are addressed. Department heads get a WOCAS report: “What Our Customers Are Saying.”
  9. Apologize for mistakes: nothing diffuses a situation like a heartfelt apology– like this one that Bezos himself posted back in 2009.
  10. Have a plan: Bad reviews and complaints will happen— be ready for them. Never fail to respond, and always thank customers for their feedback.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Oh– one more thing: always carry a little chair with you so you can offer people a seat.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
photo compare to caricature Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos holding little chair symbolizing The Customer as most important person in room

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highYou might also enjoy these infographics on content marketing and how to choose the right visual artist for your brand.

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Do you worry about customers posting negative comments online? Are you prepared to respond?

Ever had to apologize to a customer for a serious lapse? How did they react?

I think customer service becomes part of your brand: good service => referrals => new customers. Would you agree?

Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

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