Analysis of the design and implementation of a customer service strategy in Amazon.com
Task: Introduce the company and critically assess the alignment between the business goals and strategy of the organisation and value placed on the customer within the organisation. Evaluate how the customer service strategy is delivered, resourced and managed within this organisation and if any gaps exist. Briefly reflect on the changing trends in the marketplace that will impact on this organisation’s existing customer service strategies.
Amazon.com is an American based multinational service-based company that is globally among the most influential and annually high grossing companies. It mostly focuses on e-commerce, online advertising and cloud computing for generating their revenue. Being one of the most globally valuable companies of the world, Amazon has not only focused on expanding business but also have laid emphasis on customer service as one of the most crucial aspects of their organization global data
Service strategies that help Amazon diverge from other global e-commerce companies of the world are as follows:
 Commitment to customers: The major service strategy that Amazon follows is that a core commitment is given to every customer of Amazon. Customer service is incorporated in the principles and guidelines for every employee. The unparallel service and customer value is what has made this company reach the crust of the e-commerce business. Valuing customer issues and committing to provide effective solutions within no span is what makes a company being recognized. The vision, mission of Amazon also states that “to be earth’s most customer-centric company”. Hence it is no myth that CEO & Founder Jeff Bezos has put special attention on service offered to the customers Hinshaw, (2019).
 Building a corporate culture that values listening: One among the fundamental guidelines for Amazon employees is internalizing the company vision. Employees without an effective goal and a proper vision are of no use. As the CEO’s decisions are not only what builds a company, it’s the collective effort of all the people who add value to the company. Hence, every employee at Amazon goes through an internal training of a minimum of two weeks, to get trained in listening Gingiss, (n.d.). The program provides classes on different skills like resume building, interview skills, time management and more. Employee development is vital to Amazon and the development of soft skills helps Amazon to build the business.
 Making personal interactions easy: In today’s modern-day technology promotes the easy access for the customers globally. Chatting process, FAQs are some of the major ways through which customers can solve the basic issues they face. Voice process is also another way through which customer’s can solve their critical issues. 24/7 support over voice is one of the most used services of customers Gingiss, (n.d.).
 Making customer needs driving for innovation: Amazon reviews their customer feedback and puts value on their customer. When Jeff Bezos started with selling books online, building trust among the customers was among the primary things he focused upon which he still has incorporated in the organization. Amazon has expanded its business from books to other divergent products. Several products has been developed overtime based on customer needs Hinshaw, (2019).
Business Strategy & Customer Strategy
Amazon’s customer service strategy is one of the most unique and value-adding service that differentiates them from other players in the business. The effective customer centric business is what has made possible for Amazon to be the top among all other e-commerce companies globally. Their customer service strategy is most dynamic and fulfills the basic necessity that is 24/7 support that makes customer chose them time and again.
Amazon.com is considered to be the most customer-friendly organization as several customer-connected business strategies have been adopted by this organization. But how much the strategies of customer service are effective within Amazon will be discussed here. The organization has user-centric and customer-friendly programs, and a 24/7 helpline to support customers. Amazon also has a return policy where customers can change their products within 30 days. This organization also does surveys to get feedback. By accumulating all the reviews available on the internet it can be said that customer service at Amazon is at the highest point in the world. This company provides services to its customers from anywhere at any time. Amazon tries to satisfy its customers and uses technology to control retail operations. It tries not to leave a single gap. Amazon considers its operational efficiency as its strength and it takes its competition with other companies as an advantage so that it can improve corporate performance. Amazon is committed highly to its users in terms of delivering its products. According to the changing demands of customers, this organization always tries to change and modify its business strategies (Manchaiah et. al., 2019). One of the most important strategies is to save time and cost. To save time and cost, it has taken the initiative to open and control its warehouses in various countries (Hassel et al., 2022).
Apart from all of these positive points, drawbacks also exist there.
Amazon has obtained much criticism also in terms of its customer service strategies. It shows monopolistic behaviors which are proven to be anti-competitive. Because of this, it lacks competitive attitudes. Consumers and sellers often place objections to not having the products available. Many of its products are not always available on its platforms. Because of the size of this company Amazon is tagged as a monopoly. In the year 2008, Amazon UK was criticized because it tried to inhibit the publishers from selling directly at low prices from the website of Amazon.
In 2015, Amazon removed the products like Apple TV and Google Chromecast from its website because these products are produced by competitors of Amazon. In 2018, there was an agreement between Amazon and Apple inc to sell some selected products via some resellers who were selected by Apple Authorization using Amazon's service (Mergen et. al., 2021). Another wants to be both the owner as well as the participant in the marketplace. It tries to dominate the marketplace as the owner simultaneously sells in the marketplace as a retail seller (Sindhu et. al., 2022).
There are also objections regarding the treatment given to its workers.
• It tends to fire employees during their medical leave. For several months both its blue-collar as well as white-collar employees remain underpaid. Employment laws are violated often as they deny non-paid leaves deliberately.
• There is huge competition among the sellers of Amazon. Some sellers do not find their products at the top of the list presented on Amazon’s website.
• Amazon declared that it did not oppose the union, they were also not neutral. They did not believe that unions were useful for their consumers, shareholders, and their associates.
Delivering customer Service
They are committed to their customers from the core of their company. They are considered to be the most customer-friendly and customer-centric organization in the world. It is said that the strategy of customer service belongs to the DNA of the organization (Theirry et. al., 2009). Listening to its customers is an important strategy for Amazon. Employees of Amazon are allowed to attend training in a call center for two days so that they can develop their skills to listen to their customers rather than just talk. If they listen they will understand the customers and be capable of providing their needs of them.
Amazon provides the experience of shopping through a visually appealing website. It provides online shopping experience that is compelling and this helps in catering to the requirements of the customer. On that website, customers can search based on their chosen category. This opportunity saves the time of the users and makes them feel empowered. Amazon nurtures a community where the customers help each other so that the representatives of Amazon's service can fulfill the needs of the users in a faster way. In the case, the community forum of self-service fails to solve customers' problems, users can reach the real person so that they can establish a personal interaction and the callers get this chance at any time. 'Mayday' is a customer support service of Amazon which is free. Amazon provides opportunities to its representatives to connect with their customers whenever the customers want from anywhere. Search functionality as well as advanced categorization are provided by the website of Amazon. Amazon Exclusives provided by Amazon is a stepping stone for the business personnel who promote the story of Amazon. The company has established a connection between its brands and the shoppers. Amazon Prime, Alexa, and the Kindle are created by Amazon. To satisfy the needs of customers the organization has been driven towards innovations like digital marketing, streaming, etc.
There are more resources and management of customer service strategies, like:
- Amazon admits that the reason behind its existence is its customers. Hence, it gives full credit to the customers
• Amazon has good trust in its associates or representatives when it comes to solving the customers' problems.
- To satisfy the customers it is very essential to anticipate their needs of them. To do that the company hires such employees who have the virtue to be proactive. The employees helps in satisfying the customers through resolving their issue and providing them with the best solution
• Employees of Amazon try to detect the problem first and then escalate the way to solve them (Kargar et. al., 2002).
• Amazon creates a field where customers get a chance to solve their issues easily.
Despite having so many positive points in terms of customer service strategies, there are also some gaps. Those are:
• Sellers of Amazon have to compete with a large number of other sellers. An established business of a seller can be interfered with by new sellers.
• Because of this huge competition within this organization, the risk of a price war is arising.
• Many sellers do not find their products on the top of the list which is searched by the customers (Klaus et. al, 2013).
• The competition among the sellers is not in the policy of Amazon company.
• Sellers of Amazon do not have direct relationships with their customers. Because the customers think they are the customers of Amazon. Amazon also restricts the way of communicating sellers with their customers (Filson et. al., 2004).
To deepen its customer service the company focuses on new technologies. It has emphasized digital streaming and online advertisements for digital marketing along with cloud computing and e-commerce. Recently the company has focused on innovation, artificial intelligence to satisfy its customers.
Changing trends in the market place
In the present scenario business requires an algorithm that is based upon forecasting and recommendation system that helps in attaining optimal level of inventory based on historical inventory as well as sales (Brandl 2022). This will help in saving inventory cost and influence the customer satisfaction while merchant on Amazon are needed to maintain defined level of inventories. Fewer inventories with high turnover mean stock out on a regular basis. High level of inventory indicates high charges and penalties. Both the situation hampers the performance of the seller. Hence, the algorithm pattern is a major cause of concern and the same will be a threat to the existing customer service strategies. The strategies would require new changes and involvement of the algorithm for providing better customer services.
Secondly, the competition is vast and merchant that sells exclusive products are always competing with innumerable players. The excess competition makes it hard for the merchants to be discovered. From the list of 900,000 sellers of Amazon, 38% are situated in China where the manufacturing is cheaper and opportunities are available to penetrate the market with lower prices. Hence, vast competition trend will be a blow to the Amazon because of the presence of high number of sellers. With the product being uniform it would be difficult for the sellers to compete for the same as visibility is a question.
Brandl, R. (2022). Top e-commerce challenges for 2023 and how to overcome them. Retrieved from: https://www.techtarget.com/searchcustomerexperience/post/Top-e-commerce-challenges-for-2023-and-how-to-overcome-them
Gingiss, D. (2020). 6 Customer Service Tenets Used By Amazon To Create Effortless Experiences. Forbes. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/dangingiss/2019/10/07/6-customer-service-tenets-used-by-amazon-to-create-effortless-experiences/?sh=2f8a9f413fc5
Globaldata (2022). ShieldSquare Captcha. Retrieved from: https://www.globaldata.com/company-profile/amazoncom-inc/.
Hassel, A. and Sieker, F. (2022). The platform effect: How Amazon changed work in logistics in Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom. European Journal of Industrial Relations, p.09596801221082456. Retrieved from: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/09596801221082456
Hinshaw, M. (2019). 8 customer service strategies you can steal from Amazon. [online] Mcorpcx.com. Retrieved from: https://www.mcorpcx.com/articles/8-customer-service-strategies-can-steal-amazon.
Manchaiah, V., Amlani, A.M., Bricker, C.M., Whitfield, C.T. and Ratinaud, P. (2019). Benefits and shortcomings of direct-to-consumer hearing devices: Analysis of large secondary data generated from Amazon customer reviews. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 62(5), pp.1506-1516.
Mergen, A. and Ozbilgin, M. (2021). Toxic Illusio in the Global Value Chain: The Case of Amazon. In Destructive Leadership and Management Hypocrisy. Emerald Publishing Limited.
Sindhu, C., Rana, A., Bussennagari, D. and Varma, K.S.S.R. (2022). March. ESC: Extractive Summary Construction for Ranking of Customer Criticism using Artificial Neural Networks. In 2022 International Conference on Smart Technologies and Systems for Next Generation Computing (ICSTSN) (pp. 1-5). IEEE