I just read a Business Week article saying that Amazon is the highest-rated company in any industry when it comes to customer service. As a long-time loyal customer, I couldn’t agree more.
Michael Treacy’s classic business strategy book, “The Discipline of Market Leaders”, holds that an organization must excel in one of three disclplines: product leadership, organizational excellence, or customer intimacy. While Apple is a great example of a company focused on product leadership, and Wal-Mart and Southwest Airlines clearly excel in organizational excellence, Amazon embraces the concept of customer intimacy like no other company I know of. (For what it’s worth, one could make the case that Amazon also excels at organizational excellence. How many companies can you think of that excel at two disciplines? Heck, how many can you think of that excel at one discipline?)
When I think of Amazon, I think of a company that knows me inside-out, which makes me feel like I know them inside-out. They have such a great understanding of what I like that they can predict with impressive accuracy what new musicians and authors will appeal to me. Such personalized treatment actually gives me a real warm, fuzzy feeling about Amazon, and what’s truly amazing is that I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to an Amazon employee. Relying totally on online communications, they have managed to cultivate an extremely intimate relationship with me–and with millions of other loyal customers.
As a result, they have developed extremely powerful brand equity, and they’ve done this with little or no conventional advertising over the years. Because, at the end of the day, your brand image isn’t the result of what you say about yourself, but about what you do. And not many do it better than the amazing Amazon.