Amazon.com has built a reputation for customer service. In fact, the American Customer Satisfaction Index ranks Amazon the reigning customer service champ on the retail and e-commerce front. Amazon scores 85 on the ACSI Index, ahead of Nordstrom, Target and Kohl's, among others.
Yes, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, has built a customer service-focused machine by looking at e-tailing through customer-colored glasses. Recognizing his success, Desk.com, a customer-service branch of CRM leader Salesforce.com, recently compiled a great collection of advice for service managers as well as C-suite execs, entitled, "7 Lessons You Can Learn from Jeff Bezos About Serving the Customer."
"Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezos perhaps more than any business leader has taken the philosophy of truly caring for the customer and ushered it into the digital era," writes Kevin Baldacci on the Desk.com blog. "Bezos has built a company from the ground up purely based off of the unbending, unyielding philosophy of serving the customer across all departments. With 164 million Amazon customers, few would argue Bezos is the key architect of building an authentic, customer-centric company."
Listen To -- And Understand -- Your Customers
Bezos has said, "Everyone has to be able to work in a call center." Baldacci points out that Bezos asks thousands of Amazon managers to attend two days of call center training a year and he does the same himself. Baldacci writes, "It's easy to listen to customers. However the first step of every employee must be to understand [the customers] and their needs in order to successfully better the organization."
Meet Customer Needs
"We're not competitor obsessed," Bezos has said. "We start with what the customer needs and we work backward." Baldacci points to the Kindle tablet as a good example of that truth. He writes, "During the next evaluation of a product or service team, stop thinking about how you can make the product or organization better and start thinking about how you can make your customers more successful."
The Empty Chair Philosophy
"Focusing on the customer makes a company more resilient," Bezos has said. Baldacci points out that in the early days of Amazon, the CEO used to set out an empty chair. He told his execs that they should pretend a customer occupied that seat and that they were "the most important person in the room." That allowed for the customer to stay top of mind.
Never Settle for 99 Percent
"We're not satisfied until it's 100 percent," Bezos has said in relation to Amazon hitting the goal of getting 99.9 percent of packages to customers before Christmas. Ninety-nine percent just wasn't good enough -- and it shouldn't be good enough for your team, either. (continued...)