Even with 244 million unique customers, Jeff Bezos knows better than to see his customers as a series of transactions.
But with so many different customer relationships to maintain, what’s the wisdom that keeps this enterprise running? Surprisingly, Amazon’s success isn’t rooted in multi-million dollar advertising campaigns or shortening product life cycles, but rather, the desire to be the “Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company”.
In the mind of Bezos, the success of a business is dependent on the ability to hone in on customer satisfaction. The following excellent customer service quotes exemplify his obsession with putting the customer first:
“It is better to stay focused on customers as they are the ones paying for your services. Competitors are never going to give you any money.” – Times of India Interview
Jeff Bezos has the ultimate ecommerce platform. For many of you, Amazon may even be the ultimate competitor. But if you can focus on cultivating the perfect customer experience, you can laser focus on what your customers actually want or need. (Read more on how to reveal your customers true wants, needs and expectations.)
For example, you may think that you should be reaching your customers through Pinterest because that’s what your competitors are doing. But if you focus on conducting your own research, you may find that you can better reach them through another social media platform, like Instagram or Tumblr (where, perhaps, you have less competition).
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” — 60 Minutes interview with Charlie Rose
If you were at a party and you weren’t having a good time, it would be obvious to you that it was the host’s fault. Don’t let this be the case with your party! Think about how little changes to your customer service plans (tweaks like proactive customer service, scripts and promotions) can optimize their consumer experience.
“Everyone has to be able to work in a call center.” — Harvard Business Review interview
Everyone in your business has to be able to roll up their sleeves and work with customers directly. Jeff Bezos himself works the call center periodically to refresh his customer service skills. In the Harvard Business Review interview when asked if he also had to be able to work the call center, he said, “Oh, yeah. I just got recertified about six months ago. The fact that I did a lot of customer service in the first two years has not exempted me.”
If everyone on your team doesn’t experience customer needs directly, you’re not going to be able to effectively anticipate customer needs or struggles.
“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn a reputation by trying to do hard things well.” — Bloomberg Business interview
If your company can solve a customer’s problem and make it all seem effortless, you’ll create a reputation that sets your brand apart from the rest.
“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.” — Fast Company interview
There are two edges to the social media sword. If you upset a customer, they can now spread their distaste for you on social media and forums. Know that word-of-mouth the Internet can also be turned against you.
“If we think long-term, we can accomplish things that we couldn’t otherwise accomplish.” — Amazon Web Services re:Invent 2012
It’s important to know where you see your business in the future, that way you can set measurable goals and have a solid backup plan in the case that things don’t pan out the way you expected them to. This pertains to all aspects of your business, especially customer service.
Your customer service plan should outline:
“A company shouldn’t get addicted to being shiny, because shiny doesn’t last.” — Wired.com interview
When you develop your customer service plan, remember that the trendiest thing isn’t always the best for your company. According to research by Forrester “US online adults who want to stay in touch with your brand are almost twice as likely to sign up for your emails as to interact with you on Facebook.”
Email might not be as shiny as Facebook, but as the social media site evolves to encourage more paid advertisements, a good old-fashioned newsletter may be just as (if not more) effective when it comes to customer engagement.
“I think frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.” — Bloomberg Business interview
Just because you don’t have the world’s largest customer service budget, or can’t hire an endless supply of customer service agents, that doesn’t mean you can’t come up with creative solutions to your problems. Remember, necessity is the mother of invention.
“I believe you have to be willing to be misunderstood if you’re going to innovate.” — Bloomberg Business interview
Don’t let the status quo to hold you back. In your business, you need to learn how to try new and innovative things, and to take the criticism that comes along with it. When you have a new idea, don’t be afraid to go for it and to take that first step into the unknown.
For example, in 2013 Amazon released a video-based support feature on the Kindle Fire HD called Mayday Customers were suddenly able to speak to customer service representatives via live chat instantly to help them with their issues.
It may be seen as labor intensive and impractical, but Amazon places emphasis on being a leader in customer service. For Bezos, that means taking risks and ignoring the naysayers.
Whether Jeff Bezos is your icon or your ultimate competitor, he has provided a treasure trove of excellent advice to form business decisions around. If you take only one thing from these customer experience quotes, it should be that the customer comes first.
So buckle down and brainstorm some innovative ways to reach your customers, as well as how to experience their pain points first-hand. Be a customer service agent for a day, or read through customer emails and surveys. If you appeal to customers’ emotions instead of their wallets, you’ll come to understand their needs and how to best serve them.
Which of the above quotes makes the most sense to you? Share with us in the comment section below.
Also, please feel free to share more inspiring quotes here.