It is widely recognized that a negative customer experience, when handled properly, can result in increased loyalty. However, an improperly handled one can result in a poor review. Companies may often disregard customer complaints due to a complacency with new business, but fail to consider that much of that ‘new business’ is in-fact generated from reviews and referrals the loyal customers provide.
Amazon realizes these facts and is why it invests so heavily in providing an outstanding customer experience and really setting the standard for any company that values business.
#1: It makes returns incredibly easy
A strategy employed by many companies is to make opting-out or returning a complicated process. However, Amazon realizes that the most persistent angry customers are the ones you do not want to upset. If they will go to the extent to maneuver the maze of requirements to receive a refund/return, what is a few extra steps to write a negative review? The lost business from a poor reputation, even a single bad review, is certainly not worth the lost revenue – at least as suggested by Amazon’s return policy.
Related: The Callbox Guide in Handling Bad Reviews
#2: It avoids the automated attendant masquerade
Many consumer facing companies, especially those with high call volumes, often attempt to segment callers into a self-help portal or direct them to specialized representatives. If you have ever had to call the US Postal service or BMV, you quickly realize that even pressing the ubiquitous zero a half-dozen times will not get you speaking to a representative, which is infuriating. These companies can usually manage customers in this fashion because, usually because they’re protected by billions in infrastructure – so good luck going to the next one. Amazon gets customers connected right away with a customer service representative who may speak with them with minimal automated guidance.
#3: It’s representatives are trained to manage angry customers – and stress
If you scour Yelp! or any other review website, you are likely to find at least one reviewer complaining about being ‘hung up on’ by the company. This generally means one of two things, the company cannot hire and train their representatives to maintain self-control – or they have a policy that allows them to ‘excuse themselves’ of angry customers. Either way, this is not tolerated by Amazon, who instead hires staff already capable of managing their stress and trains them to resolve complaints in a professional manner. Hanging up on a customer, is the brick & mortar equivalent, of escorting someone out of your building with security – which would possibly make the evening news.
#4: It doesn’t allow itself to be ‘taken advantage of’
What happens when you have a lenient return policy and comply to every consumer demand? They begin to find exploits and then share them with friends, or possibly the entire Internet. Eventually, you cannot sustain the policy anymore because people deliberately attempt to place deceptive or fraudulent claims. This happened to Amazon when the company Beta tested a policy that allowed customers to keep their money and items. The policy has since shifted, as with a brief Google search, one can easily find articles about how to ‘get free items on Amazon’ or similar tutorials.
#5: It makes calling the company very easy.
What does this mean for your company?
According to Chase Hughes, a founder of Pro Business Plans, companies should consider not only the value of a lost customer and referrals, but the potential damages associated with a negative review.
However, also be aware that if companies put themselves in a position to be abused, they most likely will be. The best way your company can learn how and train staff to properly increase customer loyalty and mitigate negative reviews is by observing the standard for excellence that Amazon has set for the rest of us.
Chase Hughes has six years of experience working in the consulting sector and three years in the private equity sector for large multi-nationals and emerging startups. He is the founding partner of a service that writes business plans for debt and equity capital for startups.
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