Guest post by Matt Harrison, VP of Strategy of FreeUp
You can always leave Amazon customer service to Amazon. But if you’ve been selling on the marketplace for a while now, you know that they don’t really do a good job. Ironic, I know, what with all the emphasis Jeff Bezos puts on prioritizing customer care.
That said, a truly caring customer experience can only come directly from your business. But you need to apply Jeff Bezos’s Amazon customer service principles. You know the value of your customers and you know your products better than anyone – or, at least, you should. But who has the time to keep track of all the numbers all the time?
The best Amazon and ecommerce customer service can only come from a place of personal brand involvement. You don’t have to do it yourself, however. You can outsource it. And you should, because you will get better results than if you squeezed it onto your already overflowing plate.
Why Outsource Amazon Customer Service?
There are many reasons why you should outsource customer service for your Amazon business. There are also many reasons why you should outsource to freelancers. There are caveats, of course, but you can easily avoid these with a solid Amazon virtual assistant hiring process.
So let’s tackle all the reasons for outsourcing:
You can’t grow your business if you spend all your time answering Amazon customer service inquiries and dealing with complaints. You need to focus on growing the business, not running it. Outsourcing allows you to hire specialized freelancers from a global pool of experienced professionals. You can find people to monitor your performance scores, handle customers, take care of returns, refunds and replacements, and respond to feedback and reviews.
Best of all, you can have all this running around the clock without paying overtime or worrying about health benefits and low productivity due to graveyard shifts.
There is a great opportunity cost to your business when you don’t let go of Amazon customer service. You are effectively taking valuable time away from growth projects, and often, even maintenance. By outsourcing, you get these hours back to invest in your business.
Outsourcing is also a lot more cost-effective, even when it isn’t your own time you’re computing. Hiring local staff is extremely expensive. Hiring freelancers from other countries who can give you the same quality output without added benefits is super affordable. You only pay for the hours worked, there’s no overtime charge, and you don’t pay local rates.
Moreover, qualified freelancers know what they’re doing – this is their business niche. This means that you can focus on working with them to learn about your business so they can adapt their Amazon customer service skills to perform at the highest level for your specific business.
So, yeah, supposedly, no one knows your business, your products and your customers better than you do. But let’s face it – business owners don’t have the time or focus to really know all they should know to get Amazon customer service done to the highest level possible (a.k.a. the Jeff Bezos standard of customer care).
You can find dependable and experienced freelancers to handle Amazon customer service to that standard and even do these tasks at a higher level than you can. And here’s what that is, keeping in mind that it has maintained a standing of number one in customer satisfaction for a decade:
4. Focus on the Customer
A customer-centric approach is what Jeff Bezos demands. This begins with your brand doing its part to always put the customer first. This means 100% focus on what customers need and want. For Amazon customer service, this is a must to get 4- and 5-star ratings because they are, well, spoiled by the A-to-Z Guarantee.
Pro Tip: This makes certain populations like India and the Philippines very well-suited to this job because they have a long history of working in the BPO industry, a.k.a. call centers.
5. Pay Less Attention to the Competition
Say, what?! Yes, you need to keep an eye on the competition (and you can outsource account monitoring, too). But you need to keep a closer eye on the customer. Don’t drop the ball where the competition is concerned, but don’t sacrifice top-quality customer care in the process. If you don’t have the time or expertise, outsource it.
So, everything starts with customer needs and wants. Develop your Amazon customer service SOPs around that. Make that the focus of everything from what you sell to how you run your business.
6. Listen Continually and Intently
More than answering questions quickly and resolving complaints to customers’ satisfaction, you need to be proactive about customer care. Don’t wait for inquiries and disputes to come in. Learn about your customers in whatever ways you can so that you can get to know them better. This is how you can serve them properly from the ground up.
Of course, knowing your customers will mean that you can anticipate their needs and wants because you understand them intimately. This is how you can avoid the time-consuming and score-killing effects of delayed sales and customer disappointment. You can’t just say that you’re not a mind-reader and pout when spoiled Amazon customers give you poor seller performance feedback or write nasty product reviews.
This is huge, and Jeff Bezos knew it all along. Truly caring for the customer is what makes business thrive, especially on Amazon.
So how do you do that?
Take initiative. Learn from their comments. Develop ways to address concerns before they happen. Use a tool to help you collect vital customer data if you need extra help. If you sell on other channels (which you really should be doing!) then you can set up a live chat feature to encourage more feedback. Customers love live attention and instant responses.
Outsource data analytics to a freelancer who specializes in understanding customer behavior. Outsource SOP streamlining to an experienced freelancer who can turn data into enhanced performance quickly and seamlessly.
7. Create Relationships
Going further than understanding customers from a distance, you need to create relationships. This means not depending on whatever queries, feedback or reviews you happen to get. Now, you can’t bug Amazon customers, but you can still develop strong relationships with people who have purchased from you by giving your interactions a personal touch.
For your other channels, go out there and reach out to your audience. Make the first move to connect and engage. People generally love it when someone wants to know more about them. Just don’t be creepy when you ask them questions! You certainly need an experienced outreach specialist to take on this task, and yes, you can outsource for that, too.
Relationship-building is almost an industry all by itself. It’s so complex and requires such special knowledge, skills and experience that you can’t expect to do it well yourself. It’s also too dangerous for you to just try your hand at it. Poor performance means upset customers and potential customers, which can kill your business.
8. Motivate Hires
Once you’ve got everyone you need set up to work on Amazon customer service, don’t forget to keep them motivated. Most freelancers are self-motivated because they are running businesses themselves. However, if they aren’t happy working with you, they aren’t likely to have a compelling reason to stay. You need to make sure that you hire the best, and these guys are so in-demand that you need to make sure they’re happy.
To attract and retain a motivated workforce, you need to create a company culture that makes each hire a part of the business. This encourages loyalty and boosts performance because they aren’t just working for a paycheck. And the best freelancers work on what they love, not focusing on what pays the bills. Moreover, when you use your company culture to hire, hiring loyal people in the first place becomes easier.
Related podcast: Transforming Company Culture To Boost Performance With Chris Dyer
You don’t have to offer stocks like Bezos does, but you can voice appreciation where appropriate, give bonuses for great performance and offer opportunities for advancement. When they feel their impact and that sense of ownership, they share the company’s mission and work hard to achieve business goals. You must also empower them to perform with trust in their expertise and access to the tools that they need. To make their work easier.
9. Don’t Waver
You must be prepared to offer the best Amazon customer service 24/7. This means having people available to talk with customers and offer them the best solutions to their concerns. Your goal must be to keep them happy all the time. It may not be possible in reality, but if you set the bar as high as Bezos does, you’re bound to hit closer to the mark.
When you talk with customers, you have to know exactly what to say and how to say it. Even if they’re being vague, you cannot use that as an excuse to not answer their questions. Again, I understand that you aren’t a mind-reader, but this is no excuse where the Amazon customer is concerned. Experienced help will know how to decipher odd communications and provide service in return instead of frustration. Here are a few other things that are must-dos for Amazon customer service:
- You can leave no room for misunderstanding.
- You must educate the customer before they even contact you by posting crystal clear images and product descriptions.
- For lazy customers, you need absolutely all the information ready to immediately send to them what they ask for (even if it’s already on the listing).
- You must always assure customers that you will work to resolve their issues when you can’t close the case after one message.
- Always explain what you need to do and why.
- Always ask for their patience as you take that next step to fix things.
- Never lose your temper or control of the situation.
Now, no one is perfect, and even the experts can slip up now and then. When that happens, they know that they need to own their mistakes, and they know how to do it gracefully. They are Amazon customer service specialists because they know how to turn a bad situation into an even better result than if the situation ever happened. They also make it a point to learn from those mistakes and take steps to ensure they are not repeated.
Look at Amazon customer service from Jeff Bezos’s perspective. Then ask yourself, “Can I do this?” If the answer is, “Not to that level,” or, “Not consistently,” or “Not without sacrificing my business,” then you need to outsource it.
You can achieve your business goals by providing this high standard of Amazon customer service by hiring qualified freelancers to make that serious effort on your behalf. When you think like Bezos and focus on helping customers by giving them what they want, then you’ll know that you really should outsource Amazon customer service to give the highest level of care possible.