So Amazon is starting a program in which they will deliver the stuff you ordered on Sundays. I think it's really awesome.
Because it means they're leading by example once again when it comes to serving their customers.
To superb customer service, they are adding superb availability.
The kind of availability that doesn't depend on regular business hours.
Because business hours end up becoming an illusion when you say you're "customer-centric".
When the customer is at the center of your business, your business should operate when your customer does.
This of course doesn't mean we should work 24/7.
But instead it means that we should focus the business operation on the right time frame.
Work smart, not more.
So instead of operating 9 to 5 like everyone else.
Maybe some services should operate mostly when most people are available to make use of them.
Like a bank who would focus a great part of their operations at lunch time.
Or after work hours.
Or on Sundays.
You know, when people actually stop and have time to go to the bank.
This of course is hard.
Because behind great service lie great people.
And great people also need to stop, have lunch, take a break.
Which is more than fine, it's necessary for their own productivity and well-being.
So the point is not to fill your people with more work so that they fit the customer's routine.
But instead to learn about the customer's routine and realize when we're just not that necessary.
I once tried applying to yoga classes.
When I realized that most yoga classes were on weekdays by 11am.
So, yoga classes are supposed to help us relax.
Many people who need to relax have stressful jobs.
Jobs they are usually doing on weekdays by 11am.
Leaving them no time for yoga class.
Increasing their own levels of stress.
And consequently increasing the need for a yoga class.
Which is just not available for them.
This means the service (yoga) does not fit the customer (the stressed worker).
We shouldn't stop the business routine because of the customer routine.
But we should really understand the customer routine in order to adapt the business routine.
And I believe there lies the key idea.
The ability to adapt to a customer routine in order to provide the best possible service.
Service made by hand.
Service that doesn't necessarily fit the models of effectiveness we're used to.
Service which effectively helps the customer get what he needs in the best suited circumstances.
Amazon gets this.
But it isn't based on system.
Rather, it's based on sensitivity.
It's no longer about just solving whatever problems your customers have.
It's also about knowing when in time these problems are best tackled.
Amazon is not the first to actually do this.
But then again, there are still many businesses who don't try it at all.
So to me they once again lead by example.
Setting the A to Z of what premium service is all about.
They understand that problem-solving alone is not enough.
Because problem-solving is time-sensitive.
So when it comes to good customer service, it's not just about solving a problem.
It's also about knowing when in time it's best solved.
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