“Consumers have elevated expectations based on everything they are doing their everyday world. What they see from Uber, they expect everywhere.”
We’ve entered an era when brands are racing to modernize, re-architect so they can to personalize experiences for their customers. The pace of change and digitalization of our world is accelerating.
Who are the most customer obsessed companies? What are elements of a customer obsessed company? What role does world-class product management play in staying customer obsessed?
Amazon is definitely one of them. Google is another. Both firms are admired for their relentless innovation, experimentation and execution. So I did some research into what makes them unique.
Bezos focus has been the same for 20 years: “Start with the customer and work backwards.”
Google’s #1: Focus on the user and all else will follow. According to their philosophy…
“Since the beginning, we’ve focused on providing the best user experience possible. Whether we’re designing a new Internet browser or a new tweak to the look of the homepage, we take great care to ensure that they will ultimately serve you, rather than our own internal goal or bottom line. Our homepage interface is clear and simple, and pages load instantly. And when we build new tools and applications, we believe they should work so well you don’t have to consider how they might have been designed differently.”
Simple questions like ‘Where exactly is customer’s problem?’ and ‘What actions should we take to create value, convenience, and selection?’ are challenging for every organization. Most firms rely on McKinsey, Bain or BCG for this analysis. Doing this analysis with A/B testing, click-thrus, customer feedback and transaction data is the hallmark of Amazon product managers. I think that the product management structure of Amazon is their secret to success and differentiation.
The overall strategy of Amazon is shown here. It’s not a secret for their competitors but something that is extremely difficult to execute globally at scale across multiple categories.
The diverse customer segments across our many businesses include:
- Books, Music, Movies, Video Games and Consoles, Software, and Digital Downloads
- Electronics and Computers, Home and Garden, Grocery, Health and Beauty, Toys, Kids and Baby, Clothing, Shoes and Jewelry, Sports and Outdoors, Tools, Auto and Industrial, and Digital Devices
- Amazon Web Services
See my complementary post Retailers and the Paradox of Digital for competitor execution challenges.
Customer Obsession @ Amazon
Amazon’s mission is to be the earth’s most customer centric company. Both when scoping a new initiative and in every day decisions, they start with the customer and work backwards.
Amazon is customer obsessed, not competitor obsessed.
Who are we designing for? What are we designing? What outcomes are we targeting? What are the end-to-end user journeys as boundaries blur between consumers, stores and consumer brands?
How do you approach the messaging and the storytelling, especially given the challenges of channel proliferation? How do you break through the clutter? The first step in every digital strategy is to develop personas that segment the audience and serve as the foundation for customer UX and journey mapping analysis.
The best practice firms start with the user. Working from the perspective of the client who consumes a product or service, they focus on personas or “one idealized digital user.”
The goal is to think about the prospect, consumer, user as a human being. What matters in his or her life. Why? Because users do not wake up in the morning and think, “I need a new app today,” for example. People wake up in the morning and worry about getting to work, getting kids to school, where to meet friends for dinner, paying your bills and saving for the future.
Understanding the persona and the daily journey is critical in modern experience design. If marketing is going to interrupt you with something that they think is important to you, they have to find a way to tell the user about it so that it resonates with the user. There has to be a benefit to user. There has to be substance. Hence the need for real-world story-telling and context.
What is a digital persona?
Personas are fictional characters used to represent specific segments that interact with the brand across a variety of touchpoints. Personas characterize attitudes, values and behaviors of customer segments, and draw from various inputs to accurately depict the customer. They are helpful in distilling key information into more succinct stories that can be quickly understood. Personas are developed using qualitative research interviews, ethnographic studies – talking to real people about their real needs, motivations and behaviors.
Why is digital persona development important? The new battlefield is the customer journey and its various touchpoints across the lifecycle: AWARENESS → CONSIDERATION → PURCHASE → LOYALTY → ADVOCACY.
Across every industry, consumerization is changing how People they interact with businesses. Traditionally, most businesses have followed the same marketing and sales playbook to generate leads, close sales and provide support to their customers as they did 10-15 years ago. Businesses need a more effective way to humanize the target audience in order attract, engage and delight customers who have access to an abundance of information and an ability to block traditional marketing and sales tactics. To do this, businesses need to deliver an customized experience, which enables them to be more helpful, more relevant and less interruptive to their customers.
I believe an effective way to illustrate how people have transformed the way they consume information, research products and services, make purchasing decisions and share their views. You get a sense of this by reviewing these general personas – Digital Susan, Social Ashley, Introvert Dave, Modern Meghan and Traditional Ted. Read more