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3 customer service lessons from Amazon and Jeff Bezos

When you think about customer service in the digital age, it’s hard to ignore Amazon and its innovative founder, Jeff Bezos. In fact, if you’re looking for a few lessons that can be applied to your own business, Amazon and Bezos provide a wealth of examples on how to do it the right way. After cutting through the noise and honing in on the multi-billion dollar organization’s key customer service competencies, you’re left with the following overarching lessons.

  1. Make Customer Service a Priority

If you’re going to make customer service a priority, you can’t do it half way. It needs to be so engrained in your business culture that you can’t separate the two. Amazon is a great example of this, as their mission statement includes a desire to be “Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.”

Do you mention customer service in your mission statement? If not, then how serious is your organization about satisfying customers? The bottom line is that, in order to offer good customerservice, your internal business culture must be customer centric. That will look different in each business and industry, but somewhere not so deep down, it needs to be there.

  1. Be as Accessible as Possible

Very few CEOs of billion dollar corporations interact with customers on a daily basis, let alone give out their personal business email address to those customers. However, this is just another example of how truly different Bezos and Amazon are. In an effort to be as accessible and transparent as possible, Bezos allows customers to send a message to his email address, jeff@amazon.com. After receiving an email from a customer (most likely indicating something has gone wrong), Bezos forwards it to the appropriate individual with one simple character: “?”

According to Brad Stone of Business Insider, “such escalations, as these e-mails are known, are Bezos’ way of ensuring that the customer’s voice is constantly heard inside the company.” If you want to allow your customers to be heard, you should make it a priority to be as accessible as possible, otherwise they’ll end up doing business with a company they perceive “cares more.”

  1. Consistently Follow Up with Customers

The third important takeaway involves following up with customers after a purchase. The key here is to avoid being intrusive, yet ensure the customer knows you care about their buying experience. Amazon is very good at this, providing progress updates (detailed tracking and delivery estimates), asking for feedback a few weeks after delivery, and even suggesting future purchases and deals based on previous interests.

Again, you have a lot of freedom in how you want to follow up with customers, but one of the more effective forms is via email. By collecting as much information from your customers as possible and then building an email list, you can increase your chances of staying in touch with customers and nudging them closer to repeat purchases.

Learn from the Best

While no business is profitable from simply copying others, there is much to be gleaned from successful organizations and their founders. This is especially true when you look at something as critical as customer service. How you choose to interact, treat, and communicate with your customers will ultimately decide whether your business is a success or failure. With so much on the line, it would benefit you to take a page from Bezos’ book and apply these five lessons to your own organization.

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