Intro by Skip Cohen
I’m a big fan of Shep Hyken’s because he always gets me to think beyond my own business. This short post about Amazon setting the standard has become so true, and I find myself comparing so many companies to the standard Amazon has set.
During this past holiday season, Amazon was the ONLY company I could rely on for on-time deliveries. Unfortunately, even companies like FedEx, while they posted the time for the delivery based on the level of service I chose, rarely made it.
But there’s another side of Amazon I’ve grown to appreciate even more – it’s their sense of Customer Service when something is wrong. I can call them, and within minutes they’ve solved the problem. And if it’s something that I just need to return, I can get my return authorization, drop it off at Kohl’s, and the credit is back in my account almost immediately.
That level of service has made me a loyal customer. With the exception of most food items, and prescription-type products, we’re buying heavily from Amazon.
Yes, their delivery promises are the best, and they have their own fleet of trucks – but to Shep’s point at the end of his post…
The next time you think a client is too demanding, think about your own experiences as a consumer. Amazon is spoiling us, but at the same time, they’re giving you a blueprint for leadership in your community.
Exceed expectations and make yourself habit-forming.
I’ve written about this before. Our customers are smarter than ever when it comes to customer service and receiving a great customer experience. They no longer compare us only to our direct competitors, but instead, to the best service they have received from any company, large or small, global or local. These companies are setting the bar higher. They are forcing everyone in business to up their game, and that’s great for us as customers.
One company that has been continually setting new standards and forcing all companies to step up is Amazon. That’s nothing new. They’ve been doing it for decades. Amazon revolutionized the book industry and eventually the entire retail industry.
The reason I bring this up is that I get pushback from the B2B world. Some of my B2B clients don’t think they have to meet Amazon’s level of service. Some think it’s an unfair comparison. I disagree, and here is the story to prove it.
One of my clients, a healthcare organization, ordered a $500,000 imaging machine. The client commented on how the machinery was delivered ahead of schedule. Now, most people would be happy that something showed up ahead of schedule, but not this time. It was unexpected. The area that would house this piece of equipment wasn’t yet prepared. And this is what my client said:
“I can’t believe we weren’t notified that it was going to be delivered. Even when I order toilet paper from Amazon, they send me an email to tell me it is on its way.”
Yes, my client was comparing the delivery experience of a half-million-dollar medical X-ray machine to toilet paper.
Here is the point. You may not compete with Amazon, but Amazon is molding your customers’ perceptions about what goes into good service and a positive customer experience. It offers convenience, communication, delivery, customer support and more. The sooner you start to recognize this, the better. Unconsciously, your customers already are. Their brains are now wired to expect more.
The big question is this: Regardless of the type of business or industry you are in, have you adapted the way you do business to meet the new expectations of a customer who has been, for lack of a better word, Amazonized?
So, the next time your customer seems a bit more demanding than you think is normal, recognize that there is a new standard being set by one of the most iconic brands in the history of business. I challenge you to accept that fact and to do business accordingly.
Copyright © MMXXI, Shep Hyken – Used with Permission