If you don’t like change, your going to like irrelevance even less. If you’re looking for an example of the customer experience revolution, Amazon has shown the way to innovate and dominate by putting the needs of customers first.
Making experience the heart of business strategy, Amazon has shown that customer service and customer experience really do matter and are critical to staying relevant to today’s Internet-savvy, socially connected customers.
The focus has surpassed products, services, and price toward thepurpose-built customer experience and the user experience within it.
-Jeofrey Bean, The Customer Experience Revolution
Delivering exceptional customer service is critical to ongoing success today. Customer needs have changed and those who want to remain relevant will need to continually keep up with the wants of customers.
5 Ways Amazon Has Changed Customer Experience Forever
The revolution of experience will continue to roll on and organizations will quickly find that customer experience is no longer just a strategy, but it’s the new reality of doing business. Amazon has shown the way to do it right.
On the Eptica Experience blog, Pauline Ashenden shared some of her observations on the impact that Amazon has had on customer experience. The Amazon experience model includes:
1. Make what customers want to do simple
As a web-based business Amazon has focused on making the customer journey as straightforward as possible. Ideas like One Click shopping (and now ordering via Twitter) ensure that the checkout process is fast and simple, without consumers having to re-enter credit card details or addresses.
This also applies to customer service. If consumers have a query or want to return an item information is readily available and automated, with the maximum use of self-service, supported by channels such as web chat and email.
2. Share the joy of the experience
Amazon was one of the first to make customer reviews central to the online shopping experience. Amazon reviews are a source of entertainment in my family and also our trusted advisor before making any considerable purchase.
Now, almost every retailer provides an opportunity to review the product that you have just bought – even down to a pack of nails from a DIY site, while most people won’t make a major purchase without checking relevant reviews on both products and the retailer itself.
3. Give what customers need, before they need it
Twenty years ago, customers were limited in what they could buy through the physical size of their local shops. The internet changed all of that, but led to the opposite problem – too much choice.
One of the most subtle, yet forward thinking experience additions Amazon gets right is it’s “Frequently Bought Together” section. If you’ve ever purchased an item, Amazon will show you what other customers also purchased with it. Try searching for a Blu-ray player on Amazon and you’ll see a suggestion to add HDMI cables to your purchase. Amazon makes sure your experience will be complete. This solves the age old frustration of new toys on Christmas morning that can’t be enjoyed because “batteries are not included”.
Due to its size Amazon is able to capture a huge amount of data and uses it to deliver personalized offers and recommendations based on previous purchase history, tailoring information to particular customer needs.
4. Keep innovating based on customer needs
When Amazon started, people saw it solely as an online bookstore. However, this was never the long term goal – it was simply a start point to build customer trust in the then new experience of buying online.
Since then Amazon has expanded far beyond retail – offering streaming services, digital downloads and physical hardware such as the Kindle e-reader, Fire tablet and new Fire Phone.
These not only integrate closely with the retail side of the business, but add innovative new features. For example, the Fire Phone has a near 3D screen and the ability to provide information on anything it sees or hears. Amazon has never rested on its laurels, and is continually moving forward.
5. Obsess about the customer
Compared to competitors with physical stores, Amazon operates on very low margins.
From the beginning Jeff Bezos talked about being focused on customers, rather than competitors, and taking a long term view. It is rumored that its core retail business just breaks even, and overall profits are still small compared to total revenues.
Amazon’s strength is that it aims to think like a customer and provide what they want, building loyalty in a crowded market.
The internet has radically changed consumer behavior over the last twenty years, widening choice and shifting the balance of power between companies and customers. Amazon has been at the heart of this and is helping reshape how we shop, both now and in the future.