Written by Sonal Jaiswal | Evangelist, Customer Guru
This week we have the e-commerce pioneer Jeff Bezos in the spotlight. Bezos is the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, the largest online retailer in the United States. The company has been accumulating a lot of feathers in its cap: it recently surpassed Walmart as the most valuable retailer in U.S by market capitalisation. From starting off in Bezos’ garage way back in the 90’s, to being the largest retailer in the world, the company has grown tremendously. And none of it could have been possible without the business acumen of Jeff Bezos. What strikes one most about this company and its leader is the relentless focus on customer-centricity. Bezos has been extremely vocal about the values he holds – that the customer comes first always. Little wonder then that the organisation is where it is today.
We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they’re the reason we’re successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.
The massive success Amazon has experienced lies in the simple idea of putting the customer first. Bezos has championed the ideology of truly caring for the customer and Amazon is the quintessential example of a customer focused company.
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.
At Amazon, the customer is sacrosanct. More importantly, the customer is a person, not an entity. They are looking at acquiring customers, not making sales.
It is also famously known that Bezos has no qualms about giving out his business email ID to customers. Another way in which the organisation is so different!
If you’re competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.
The Amazon Kindle is a typical example of a product that is a customer-demand. Not surprising coming from a man who is famous for leaving an empty chair at the conference table and letting attendees know it’s occupied by the “the most important person in the room” – the customer.
If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.
Bezos is one of those business leaders who truly understands the fact that today’s customer is not gullible and uninformed. That he has access to the internet and the social media. And he can, at the click of a button, avail the same product/service from multiple sellers. In such a competitive market, the only factor that differentiates is ‘customer experience’.
Bezos was criticised severely for allowing customer reviews to show up on the Amazon website. His response:
“We don’t make money when we sell things. We make money when we help customers make purchase decisions.”
Another one of his gems, “The balance of power is shifting toward consumers and away from companies… The right way to respond to this if you are a company is to put the vast majority of your energy, attention and dollars into building a great product or service and put a smaller amount into shouting about it, marketing it.”
Are there any other such business leaders who have inspired you to exceed your customers’ expectations? Do let us know and we will be glad to publish some CEx tips from them!