I love Amazon as a company. I know, I know, I know – they are huge, and there may be many of you going “but, but, but” reading that sentence, as you form objections in your mind. Or perhaps you agree.
They really wow me with their service. How many huge companies can you call – and I love how you contact them – you enter your phone into their website and then they call you instantly. The wait times for a live person to assist you are really short – 30 seconds, maybe a minute.
I have called Amazon 5 times in 3 days (don’t ask), including Saturday evening, and the response times were the same – 30 seconds to a minute.
Tone is Everything
And, the tone, oh my gosh, the tone. Not just scripted answers – tone. Do you know what I mean?
Tone is just the quality of connection they exude. Polite and professional, yet so human and personal.
And from such a mammoth-sized company. Is there a secret here? Could this be what made them so big?
Yes, I know it is not everything, yet, it is the glue, the secret sauce that binds it all together,
No Technology Tricks Trump Tone
Because with all the technology in the world, even with drones delivering packages (anything to release the death grip that Canada Post has on our economy).
Add in fancy websites, great products, and Prime membership, and videos….
Even with all that, without fabulous service from real people it would all come tumbling down.
One lady who talked to me Saturday night about my delivery (what would have been 3 days with Prime membership is now more than 3 weeks, thanks to Canada Post) was such a delightful human being. She was belly laughing with me on the phone.
She was trying so hard to explain something to me, got tongue tied, felt like she was “falling”, and maybe expected me to be a jerk (they likely have to deal with a lot of irate customers given their sheer size). I laughed. She laughed. Then we couldn’t stop laughing – what surprised me was how free she was to be real inside a culture that clearly supported it. You just knew she wasn’t going to get in trouble for laughing her head off with a customer.
A Real Human Connection Can Really Make Your Day (Week/Month)
A human connection was born. I wasn’t taking to a machine-like sales rep. She was funny, and engaging, yet still professional.
She really made my day, and I am now writing a blog, in part, because of this experience. Think about that – how many times when you experience awesome service like this, you can’t help talking about it to friends and family, even days later!
Now, here is the point – that encounter was repeated 4 more times in 3 days. Super short wait times, friendly, professional, real service with fully present human beings.
Marie (the lady mentioned above) was exceptional, and all of the sales reps were terrific.
Does all this come easy?
No. It doesn’t.
So many companies speak about great service. Their mission statements are filled with motherhood statements about their amazing service and how much they value their customers. Yet, the reality does not match the words.
The Owner Must Be Committed
It first takes a commitment from the top – from the owners. They must model awesome customer service. They must build their entire culture around it.
They must practice internally – with each other. In other words, the internal Team must treat each other with respect, care, kindness, dare I say love. That is where it all starts – inside.
Then systems must be built to ensure consistency.
Do you think that just happens willy-nilly? That Amazon answers their phone calls on a Saturday night within 30 seconds? Just a fluke? Not a chance.
Perhaps you are thinking that they just “hire good people”. How often do I hear that one from business owners? I just need to hire better people. No, actually you just need to build a more awesome environment. One that doesn’t tolerate a certain “tone”. And, lo and behold, you will attract great people (and weed out the ones that slip through quickly).
More critically, you will train ordinary people to be great – to excel. I would love being around Amazon people from just my past few days experience with them on the phone.
They Do it With Systems
Those are deeply embedded, detailed systems at play. They had to plan the phone system, and the number of people needed.
They must have incredible training. You cannot achieve such consistent service with a massive corporation without lots of pre-training. My guess is they get lots of training for how to BE on the phones with customers.
You see, it is not just what they are saying – you can give a chimpanzee, or a robot, a script to repeat, you cannot easily train presence and beingness.
To be present, engaging, and human mixed with competence that takes something.
Amazon clearly has made this a priority – it is the slogan under the signatures on all their emails – “to build the most customer-centric company on Earth”.
Most People Don’t Like Acknowledging Giants
Many of you reading this might take exception to me praising a huge company like Amazon. After all, haven’t they been responsible for putting many small businesses out of business?
Sorry, if you’re big because you’re good, I’m good with that. Business is competitive. And rather than be upset with Amazon, smaller businesses can practice what they do to grow bigger themselves or to just have more fun.
It must be fun to work at Amazon, even if they likely don’t earn above-average incomes as sales reps.
Much more fun than working at Canada Post inside a victim-focused environment.
Here is to all the businesses everywhere that practice and live awesome customer service! My tip of the hat to you all!
Thanks for reading…