Good friend and all-around smart guy Sean Madden, in a recent Fast Company Co.Design article:
Last month, I talked to Amazon customer service about my malfunctioning Kindle, and it was great. Thirty seconds after putting in a service request on Amazon’s website, my phone rang, and the woman on the other end–let’s call her Barbara–greeted me by name and said, “I understand that you have a problem with your Kindle.” We resolved my problem in under two minutes, we got to skip the part where I carefully spell out my last name and address, and she didn’t try to upsell me on anything. After nearly a decade of ordering stuff from Amazon, I never loved the company as much as I did at that moment.
He goes on to describe exactly what makes Amazon so great with customer service–they collect useful information about you and know when and just how much of it is appropriate to use when giving you support:
When I meet an old acquaintance at a party, she remembers my name and asks one or two questions about things we discussed last time we spoke. The fact that she remembers establishes rapport; the fact that she doesn’t list out every bit of information she possesses makes me feel comfortable. Without even thinking about it, humans are very good at conveying just the right amount of information in personal conversation.
Companies need to do the same.
Every interaction I’ve had with Amazon support has been terrific. Fast, smart and completely satisfactory. My least favorite kind of customer support interactions begin with being asked 100 questions, including my address, phone number, recent purchases, full name, security question, et cetera. In a majority of support cases, none of those questions need to be asked or help solve the problem. The beauty of Amazon’s call-back support option is that security is built in–you have to log into the account and then provide a phone number. This allows Amazon to cut through some of the nonsense and get right to helping you, only asking you for security information if it’s required to solve your problem later in the call.
Other companies should be taking lessons from Amazon in this regard.