Many ecommerce marketers have taken a particular Jeff Bezos quote to heart: “There are many ways to center a business. You can be competitor-focused, you can be product focused, you can be technology-focused, you can be business model-focused, and there are more. But in my view, obsessive customer focus is by far the most protective of Day 1 vitality.” In those few words, Bezos captured the essence of customer obsession and modern ecommerce’s prevailing focus on serving and supporting shoppers above all else.
This customer-centric passion is a core reason Amazon has such astronomical retention numbers — 94% for first-year users and 98% for the second year. But does customer obsession have any downsides? Sometimes, when ecommerce retailers hyperfocus on solving shopper problems at all costs, the human costs become all too real as support agents bear the brunt of an overzealous brand that prioritizes customer needs over employee health.
Although customer obsession drives Amazon’s high profits, the online retailer deals with a whopping 150% employee turnover rate annually among hourly employees, which most other companies can’t afford. Other companies that prioritize employee happiness see their efforts trickle down to equally pleased customers. For example, CarMax famously rolled out a staff program amid the 2008 recession that resulted in higher performance and a 116% sales increase over eight years.
Clearly, customer obsession and positive service work environments don’t have to be mutually exclusive. With the right organizational structure and technology, any ecommerce retailer can successfully implement both — all while securing long-term returns through customer loyalty.
Customer obsession and practical expectations of your agents can work in tandem. To achieve both, you’ll need your organization to incorporate an open communication policy, allow easy access to historical data, and provide the tools for your agents to do the best job they can.
These actions require more than just keeping your staff into shape. It’s up to you to fill the gaps between the support volume they’re capable of handling and the expectations of meeting customer needs. If not, they will struggle with the demands of customer obsession.
Check your support platform against the following list to ensure you’ve accounted for every aspect of a customer obsessive environment:
Ultimately, technology’s role is to prioritize agent happiness by empowering them to handle service tasks effectively and giving them room to grow in their role. The result will be more productive employees who are naturally successful at creating positive customer relationships.
Andie Swimwear was already striving for a customer-obsessed workplace even before they brought on Gladly. Their agents, known as Fit Experts, strove to create safe spaces for customers to shop comfortably. But even with this sentiment, their technology didn’t match that goal of concierge-level service. The ticket-reliant customer experience was disjointed, forcing agents to overexert themselves to demonstrate the level of care Andie wanted to show.
With Gladly, Andie upgraded to a conversation-driven system that allowed Fit Experts to provide more personalized service to each customer at a fraction of the effort. The support team got through their work faster, and customers saw a 35% drop in average wait time across all channels, assuring Andie’s support center could accurately meet its internal customer obsession and give agents a chance to succeed.
Pushing your brand to serve the customer is not a bad thing on its own, but it can’t come at the cost of your employees’ ability to do their jobs effectively. With Gladly, you can tap into the technology that allows you to simultaneously foster a healthy workplace and customer obsession while building a brand you can be proud of both.
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