Amazon.com has built a reputation for customer service. Yes, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, has built a customer service-focused machine by looking at e-tailing through customer-colored glasses. Salesforce’s Desk.com put together seven statements from Bezos, with explanation, in a blog post entitled, “7 Lessons You Can Learn from Jeff Bezos About Serving the Customer.”
“Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos has taken the philosophy of truly caring for the customer.” writes Kevin Baldacci. “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 a 164 million Amazon customers, few would argue Bezos as the key architect of building an authentic, customer-centric company.”
As you train your staff on the customer service front, be sure to keep these proven tactics in mind.
1. Listen—and Understand—Your Customers
Jeff Bezos has said, “Everyone has to be able to work in a call center.”. Balcacci points out that Bezos asks thousands of Amazon managers to attend two days of call center training a year. Even he attends two days of call center training a year! Baldacci writes, “It’s easy to listen to customers. However, the first step of every employee must be to understand them and their needs in order to successfully better the organization.”
2. Meet Customer Needs
“We’re not competitor obsessed,” Bezos has said. “We start with what the customer needs and we work backwards.” 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.”
3. 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.
4. Never Settle for 99%
“We’re not satisfied until it’s 100%,” Bezos has said in relation to Amazon hitting the goal of getting 99.9% 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.
5. Respect Today’s Customer
“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends,” Bezos has said. “If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000.”. Above all else, Baldacci writes, no matter how frustrated you may be with a customer who takes a complaint to the Internet, never fail to respond and always say thank you.
6. Strive to Create a Customer-Centric Company
“If we can arrange things in such a way that our interests are aligned with our customers, then in the long term that will work out really well for customers and it will work out really well for Amazon,” Bezos has said. That, Baldacci suggested, is the secret sauce to Amazon’s success was Bezos’ ability to create a customer-centric company.
“All of his departments are completely data-driven based upon the success and failures of the customer experience,” he writes. “It allows him to take risks to innovate and make difficult decisions because he has the concrete evidence to decide what is best for the customer and ultimately, what is best for the company.”
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Say ‘Sorry’
“We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission,” Bezos has said. Bezos has had to say sorry in the past and may again. And he’s not afraid to do it.
“Apologizing is embarrassing and frustrating — it’s an open surrender that you screwed up once out of the thousands of positive contributions you have made to your customers,” Baldacci writes. “However, a solid, heartfelt apology is true representation that your organization cares about the needs of the customer. That itself speaks louder than any multi million-dollar advertising message.”