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Article Loyalty Execution

Amazon's Loyalty Win With Mayday Button Response

Customer centricity isn’t a just a principle. It makes tremendous sense at the business model level. It serves as an accelerator in some of the most difficult aspects of growing managing a business.

The great brands already know what others are starting to grasp. Customer centricity and a focus on exceptional CX are the most powerful tools for transforming and accelerating a business.  Commitment is a big part of what makes winners who they are. On the surface, it can seem like that is just an indication of focused hard work but it actually goes beyond that — in sports, in life and in business.

The real power of commitment is the unearthing of unseen opportunities. Only commitment can do that, whether it’s an athlete who practices and experiments with his ‘shots’ exhaustively or a business which established a strategy of excellence and innovation. It’s the act of push forward with ‘every degree of mind and spirit’ that brings unexpected opportunities to build competitive advantage to light.

Most executive teams start from their financials when designing their customer support infrastructure. They are always wary of costs and take ‘reign in’ approach to building out their different support functions and by extension the customer experience.

But this week, Amazon showed why their commitment to a customer centric path has created new and unexpected opportunities for them. The Kindle tablet is known for many things, not the least of which is it’s may-day button — a real-time ability (with a single push of a button on the device) to get a real person’s help (from Amazon tech support).

On the surface, it makes no business sense to answer an ‘accidental’ push of the mayday button by an excited child on Christmas day, but that’s exactly what happened in many places. What is remarkable is how that story got picked up by the press and was written and talked about extensively on social media.

Understanding the real game in customer loyalty — TRUST

When customers interact with a company, their perspective oscillates between the immediate need and the long term relationship decision. In the perpetual effort to simplify our lives, business or consumer, we’re always looking for brands we can rely on to meet multiple needs — the real driver of customer loyalty.

We’ve written before (Zappos example) that revenue is valuable but trust building opportunities with customers are more rare. Taking advantage of them is a path to building brand and loyalty. The great customer centric brands understand that and the exceptional ones push innovation to find new and untapped opportunities to build trust-centric brand position.
The best kind of PR

PR efforts have a lot of different core business goals including:

1. Visibility
2. Understanding
3. Competitive position
4. Trust
5. Emotional connect

Rarely, do ‘naturally occurring’ PR opportunities offer more than 2 of these at a time and almost never do they all come together in one single PR effort. There maybe a charity sponsorship that generates visibility and an emotional connection but the understanding, competitive positioning and trust will have to wait for another day. Similarly, a customer success story may build understanding and competitive positioning but fails to generate an emotional response from audiences.

5 for 5 by Amazon

Amazon managed to pull off all of them with its Christmas day response times to ‘mayday’ button calls from Kindle customers. By beating its own 15 second response time target, it sealed in the minds of its customers and a broader media audience that it was beyond customer centric to ‘customer fanatical’.
The story had all the angles — including the hardest ones to get from a PR effort. Visibility thanks to the press coverage. Understanding of what Amazon’s business focus is and its obsession with customer service. Competitive positioning as the most customer centric company in the e-tailing space.

Trustworthiness by demonstrating to current and future customers that their loyalty will be rewarded with a consistent focus on a high level of service and superior CX. Emotional connection around the great stories coming from homes around the world about that 9 second response time on Christmas day.

Dec 27, 2013  

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