Monday, January 7, 2008

Putting Customers First

For the past five years, I've worked in call centers, in what's usually called customer service, although much of that time I've been doing related things like welcome calls for new customers or receivables management. I really want to help the customers, but often the management seems very determined to get in the way with their methods and their mania for statistics. They don't seem to be about customer service; they seem to be about generating statistics and reports about customer service, or more to the point, statistics and reports about the way the people with the headsets do their jobs. Actual customer service comes in a distant second.

So I was interested in a topic in Delphi Forums' Personal Law, News & Consumer forum titled "Put Buyers First? What a Concept." Turns out it links to a story in The New York Times about Amazon. Being an Amazon Associate since I started Have Pun Will Travel, with extensive links to Amazon all over the site, I was pretty pleased with what I read.

According to the story, Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, takes customer satisfaction very seriously, so seriously that sometimes the boys on Wall Street, ever focused on the short-term gain, haven't cared much for Amazon. And that hasn't changed Bezos' mind; he's still very focused on customer satisfaction. Needless to say, I think he has the right idea. And it seems to be paying off for Amazon, too.

I''ve been an Amazon customer a lot longer than I've been an associate, and I've always had good luck with them. Like many people, I've used Amazon for research, even if I have ended up buying elsewhere. I may change that now that I'm an associate, even if my own purchases don't earn me commission. Of course, I haven't been buying much of anything anywhere lately, and that may not change significantly anytime soon.

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