There is so much to be learned from the purpose, values and customer-centric business approach of Amazon. Amazon’s Purpose is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company for four primary customer sets: consumers, sellers, enterprises and content creators. Jeff Bezos’ annual letter to shareholders is always filled with insights that can be applied to starting a new business or improving an existing business. Amazon has a clear sense of who they are and that their customer drives their business. Many companies say they are customer driven but few deliver on that promise. Here are some of Jeff Bezos’ insights on being a customer centric organization.
“Our advantage – perhaps a somewhat subtle one – of a customer-driven focus is that it aids a certain type of proactivity. When we’re at our best, we don’t wait for external pressures. We are internally driven to improve our services, adding benefits and features before we have to. We lower prices and increase value for customers before we have to. We invent before we have to. These investments are motivated by customer focus rather than reaction to competition. We think this approach earns more trust with customers and drives rapid improvements in customer experience.”
This emphasis on being proactive and understanding the needs of their customers drives innovation and differentiation at Amazon. Amazon simply refuses to conduct business as usual if there is a better way to do something. Here is another great example from Jeff Bezo’s letter.
“We also have authors as customers. Amazon Publishing has just announced it will start paying authors there royalty monthly, sixty days in arrears. The industry standard is twice a year, and that has been the standard for a long time. Yet when we interview authors as customers, infrequent payment is a major dissatisfier. Imagine how you’d like it if you were paid twice a year. There isn’t a competitive pressure to pay authors more than once every six months, but we’re proactively doing so.
Amazon is a customer obsessed organization. They focus on the customer first and competitors second. Many companies react to the competition and fail to listen to what their customer really needs. Amazon’s first leadership value is customer obsession. The behavior of all Amazon employees are guided by their leaderships values. The value reads as follows:
Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers.
Can you think of another brand that is as customer-centric as Amazon?