It's no question Amazon is the ruler of online retail. Because of its tremendous success in multiple niches, the company has taken down big-name brick and mortar stores and other online competitors in its path. In tandem with its virtual monopoly on the retail industry is its reputation for customer satisfaction. Second only to Costco, Amazon was rated #2 company for customer satisfaction by the ASCI in 2019.
What's the company's secret? It adheres to these six tenets:
1. “Relentlessly advocate for customers.”
While some companies rely on a strong product, Amazon relies heavily on prioritizing customers' needs to ensure their experiences are smooth and overwhelmingly positive. For many businesses, customer service often feels like a tug of war between the business's needs and the customers'. With Amazon, customers aren't battling agents. Instead, they're both pulling the rope in the same direction in order to solve a problem. Working alongside customers—rather than opposite them—is key to their winning strategy.
2. “Trust our customers and rely on associates to use good judgement.”
Amazon believes the best way to win a customer's trust is to instill trust in them first. That means believing a customer rather than questioning their motives. While this does leave a small space for dishonesty, in the end, Amazon believes it's the right thing to do. On a similar note, the symbiotic trust between Amazon and its employees is just as important. Rather than implementing rigid rules and scripts to follow, the retailer trusts its associates to act in good faith and to make decisions that will benefit both the customer and the company.
3. “Anticipate customer needs and treat their time and attention as sacred.”
One of the best ways to keep new customers is to treat them right the first time. One way Amazon shows deference to its customers is by valuing their time and effort; this means reviewing customer journeys and analyzing where things break down. By optimizing the journey from start to finish, you minimize the need for customers to reach out for help.
4. “Deliver personalized, peculiar experiences that customers love.”
If you want your business to stand out, then make sure your service stands out too. For some businesses, that could mean tailoring the support experience to the customer (Help.com's customer profiles makes this easy to do). For others, this could mean going above and beyond to deliver a happy solution for the customer. Going beyond satisfaction to deliver joy is at the root of this customer service principle.
5. “Make it simple to detect and systematically escalate problems.”
If your customer can't easily report an issue, there's no way for businesses to know it requires improvement. Instead of making it difficult for customers to get in touch, it's better to create CTAs to actively intercept issues. This could mean asking for feedback through multiple points of the customer journey, enabling live chat, and keeping all lines of communication open when possible.
6. “Eliminate customer effort through this sequential and systematic approach: defect elimination, self-service, automation, and support from an expert associate.”
Offer a product that requires minimal overall maintenance, so that when problems DO arise, they can be addressed quickly and effectively. Once you minimize defects, customers will feel empowered to look for help on their own via self-service and automation. If a problem is more complex, Amazon routes them to an associate prepared to support their journey rather than add friction to it.