Great service in one-off situations is wonderful… for the customer who happens upon it.  But it’s not enough to move the needle on general customer feelings about a company or to establish service as being part of brand identity.  Rather, it’s imperative that a company deliver the unexpected time after time after time to a wide swath of customers.  Only this high level of reliably helping customers when glitches occur will raise a company to cult customer service status.  Amazon understands this.

Nikki had ordered tons of Christmas presents from Amazon and had them all shipped to her so that she could wrap them.  However, two gifts went missing during the shipping process.  She called Amazon about them and “the lady immediately agreed that they must have been lost in transit.  She offered to ship replacement orders immediately.”  The replacements would not arrive in time for Nikki’s travel plans, so the representative arranged for them “to be wrapped, free of charge, and shipped” to their separate recipients.  What could have been a small holiday disaster turned into an easy solution.  “I’d heard Amazon has great service, but I’d never needed to contact them before.  Apparently it really is true, because it was the quickest, easiest call I think I’ve ever made to customer service.”  This consistency across customer experiences shows that it’s not just luck that determines what level of service customers can expect.

Photo by Álvaro Ibáñez

Photo by Álvaro Ibáñez

Ryan’s kids are obsessed with birds, so he had plans for Santa to bring a “flock” of little puppets to surprise them.  All arrived safely save for one, who appeared to have fallen victim to a “porch pirate” who nabbed the package from the front porch.  “I was so angry about someone stealing one of my kids’ Santa gifts.  I asked Amazon to call me to see if I could have a super rush delivery put on another one.  My phone rang in under a minute from my call request and the lady that helped me offered to express deliver a new one, for free!  It wasn’t Amazon’s fault, so I was really surprised.”  Little acts like this really solidify Amazon’s commitment to its customers.

April has had a crazy start to the holiday season and the days got away from her.  She realized at the last minute that she did not have anything for her daughter for the first night of Hanukah.  In a panic, she hit up Amazon, only to realize that the shipping time frames weren’t going to work with her lack of planning.  She called Amazon to find out “if there was any kind of magical, secret shipping speed I could request that would make delivery truly overnight.”  The representative that helped her did one better than connecting her with a speedy delivery with a surcharge.  Instead, “he asked me if I also needed to do any grocery shopping.  I was kind of thrown off, but said yes.  So he told me about Amazon Prime Now and that I could meet the minimum by ordering groceries I needed and also order lots of actual items that would work for gift giving.”  This representative saw an opportunity to educate a customer about their offerings while solving her problem.  But then he pulled out all the stops.  “I was so excited to find out I could order stuff that night and get it first thing in the morning.  It really fixed things for me.  I wasn’t expecting him to give me a $10 credit in my account to put towards my purchase, too.  That was so kind.  I really couldn’t believe it.”  Keeping an eye out for opportunities to not only help, but be compassionate, can quickly set a service experience apart.

If you talk to any group of people, it’s incredibly likely that at least a few will have positive stories from their interactions with Amazon.  That continuity of service, the same commitment to making each and every customer happy, is an excellent example of a company putting its customers first.  Bringing that same mindset to our own customer interactions is necessary if we want our customers to also develop story after story of how we have helped them out and exceeded their expectations.

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