Essential steps toward establishing a successful customer centric strategy
I was doing some research for a project we are currently working on, when I came across a quote from Jeff Bezos the Amazon founder. Just as a reminder, Amazon offer a global online shopping facility, which has resulted in them becoming the world’s largest internet driven company, turning over in 2013 – $74.45 billion.
The quotation that struck a chord was: “Be strong on vision but flexible on detail” …
I thought that this was very interesting considering Amazons journey. Bezos started the company in 1994 after he read a report about the growth potential that could be afforded to businesses via the internet. He listed out a number of products that he thought would sell well online and after a little consideration he decided that a virtual bookstore would be the best starting point.
This is where the plan started to develop toward their current Vision Statement which is:
“Our vision is to be the earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
Which turned out to be quite an ambitious vision for a company that initially started selling one product group, albeit very effectively online?
Not unlike many new and growing businesses they had to make some difficult decisions and were often at odds with investors and shareholders. In the early stages they were focused on what their customer wanted, on growth and expansion over profitability.
Although Investors regularly questioned his decisions to not charge product shipping costs. Bezos made business decisions that reflected their vision which was about being customer centric. Being focused on what he considered to be the most important elements of their value proposition has resulted in them becoming the dominant player in the market.
Along with introducing Third party seller platforms, new and innovative products then quickly followed including the Kindle which is currently reputed to be generating $5 billion worth of sales per annum, which its self leads into increasing digital content revenues and now their Amazon Web Services (AWS) offer which gives companies cloud storage and off site database management services.
The learning for other businesses that comes from the Amazon story is that you may not be operating in the future how you are now. Circumstances may require businesses to change direction, but always maintaining options and a strategic flexibility toward the detail, in today’s fast moving business environment is really important.
The Amazon success story shows clearly that whilst:
• Products may change
• The market may change
• Technology may change
• The economy may change
The one thing that won’t change is a very satisfied customer’s strong likelihood to buy from you again and moreover to tell his or her friends about what their good customer experience feels like.