I’ve been thinking about customer delight. In part because I just spent 52 minutes on hold with my broadband provider, during which I was told at least 26 times that my call was important and that I was their “highest priority”.
I can only imagine my experience with them if they held me in lower esteem. It seems that while most companies will assure you that “you are #1”, very few actually make the investments to make this happen.
At Amazon, where I delivered some of its largest partnerships and alliances over nearly nine years, we were obsessed with the customer.
One of the aspects of my job that I enjoyed the most was helping to facilitate New Hire Orientation classes. My role was to communicate the Amazon Leadership Principles to new employees. The first, and most important of these, was Customer Obsession. So, during these intensive sessions, I would always start by asking for a show of hands. “Who here is working on Alexa? Who’s on AWS? Who’s in Operations?” and so on. Lastly, I would ask, “Who’s in Customer Service?” No one ever raised their hands, because the Customer Service group is oriented separately. But it was a trick question. “Everyone at Amazon is in customer service.”
That principle is key to Amazon’s success. Every process, investment, and initiative is focused on delighting customers. Customer obsession means analyzing every aspect of their experience, with a commitment to making it positive. Every product or service actually starts with a press release, outlining the customer benefits. Then the team works backwards, arriving last at product development, and how that promise will be delivered.
You might think that as Amazon’s ‘deal guy’ I wasn’t involved in customer delight, but that was the impetus behind every deal. Either for technology that would deliver something delightful for our customers, or to reduce our costs so that we could give our customers more.
To focus on the customer is to position yourself for success. Delighted customers invite others, positively mention your company on social media, forgive when you don’t meet their needs, and spend more when you do. All companies can make their customers #1 if they orient themselves to customer delight as their primary focus.
At XLIO, we build made-to-order startups that give you a shortcut to customer delight. Like at Amazon, my aim is to enhance your customers’ experience through technology solutions. Some example projects:
Reducing wait and handling times for broadband providers, using virtual voice/IVR tech
Enhanced onboarding for fintech businesses, using AI
Making customer self-support work, using smarter chatbots that offer downloadable customized resources
Early detection of adverse events in electronic records and social media
Improving first-time/on-time delivery success, using smart last-mile technologies
Smart acquisitions in customer experience have exponential benefits in revenue retention, brand enhancement, cost reduction, and even your own employees’ satisfaction. But the typical approach to achieving this – small company acquihiring – can be slow, complex, expensive and inefficient. All too often, the original goals are never achieved.
The XLIO model allows you to purchase only the technology and team you really need to augment your current infrastructure and human resources. It’s faster and more efficient, because the solutions we deliver are tailored to your business, and start working on Day 1.
So, just like Amazon, our model is customer-centric: working backward from what it takes to delight your customers. Our goal is a win-win: to delight your customers and to delight you too, by delivering a perfect-fit startup with unparalleled economics.
Ron Kornfeld Chief Executive Officer, XLIO https://www.xl.io/team