Amazon’s Russell Baker gave conference attendees advice on how to be customer obsessed like the large, but nimble, company he works for as general manager of Amazon restaurants.
“Obsession is all in, it preoccupies or intrudes on your mind,” he said. “Customers always want more, so this forces you to invent things they don’t even know they need yet. So pay attention to details.”
For instance, “We noticed people are reordering the same thing from the same restaurant, so we put that at top (of the page), and programmed it into Alexis so you can say: “Alexis reorder,’” he said.
Amazon, he pointed out, was the first to do its own customer reviews online. “When we first did it, vendors hated it,” he said. “(Vendors asked) why would you put negative reviews on the product page? We said that if a customer has all the information they can make informed decisions.”
Plus, he added, reviews often have a “fun side” and allow customers to interact with the brand, the site and with each other.
Another decision vendors didn’t understand at the time, but that has been a huge win for Amazon is free delivery.
“Be bold and take calculated risks, you will make mistakes and learn from them,” Baker said. And if you go through a previously unopened door, know if you can go back through it, he said.
Has Amazon ever made a mistake? Baker talked briefly about their decision to allow third-party sellers to sell on their site. They created individual stores for each client, but customers didn’t want to go to each seller’s page, they wanted single-product pages with multiple offerings from several different stores so they could compare prices and shipping costs.
“Read your customers’ reviews and social media posts, he suggested, adding that Amazon’s CEO reads them and then forwards negative ones on with question mark—“an email you don’t want to get.”
In other words, pay attention to the competition, but obsess over customers.
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