Yesterday, Amazon updated its Kindle Fire line of tablets with the launch of the Fire HDX. Alongside the tablet, Amazon announced an exciting and revolutionary customer support tool called Mayday. The Fire HDX has some interesting features, but few are going to buy it over a Nexus 7 or iPad Mini (its closest competitors) for those alone. What’s going to differentiate it, however, is that it’s the only device in the market that comes with free 24/7 tech support.
Mayday is a “virtual genius bar” built into every single Fire HDX. The concept is simple, you click on the Mayday button and within 15 seconds you’re connected to a real person who will can answer any question you have about the Fire. Live video support, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That’s right, Amazon has taken the concept of live chat to a whole new level.
Amazon “Gets” Customer Service
Unlike most other hardware manufacturers, Amazon really gets customer service. Apple is also known for its clinical, even scientific, approach to employee training and customer support, but Amazon has built its reputation on ensuring that the customer always gets the best products at the cheapest prices.
So, while other companies are making it harder and harder for customers to talk to a real person, Amazon has not only lowered the bar to customer service, it’s completely removed it.
Imagine on Christmas morning, when millions of kids, grandparents, uncles, and aunts get a Fire HDX, one of the first things they’ll do is press the prominently displayed “Mayday” button (Amazon says it has specifically planned for this). Support at this level would overwhelm most companies, but Amazon has always been known for providing that extra level of Customer WOW.
Customer Service Done Right Can Increase Your Revenue
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s goal with Mayday is to revolutionize tech support and I’m confident he’s going to be successful.
Traditional email or telephonic support usually involves a frustrating back and forth, with you trying to explain the problem and the customer service agent trying to find a solution. Mayday solves this by letting the agent see your screen and talk you through the problem or fix it themselves.
Mayday makes it easier than ever for customers to receive customer service, and this in turn will lead them to use the Fire to its full potential. Imagine how much revenue Apple is missing out on because a segment of its iOS users don’t even know how to download or pay for apps. If Amazon has subsidized the price of the Fire HDX, something it’s been comfortable doing with previous iterations of the device, I’m confident they’re going to recoup their losses through strong content sales.
What does that mean? Although customer service can cost money, if done right it can be key to increasing sales and revenue.
Crafting a Narrative is Key to Building a Powerful Brand
In the television advertisements, below, you can see that Amazon has clearly taken a page out of Apple’s playbook. Instead of focusing on the specifications of the Fire HDX, it shows how Mayday and the tablet can enhance your experience.
This is one of the ways in which Apple has differentiated itself from competitors, and something Amazon looks to be working towards. Instead of competing feature for feature, the Fire HDX and the accompanying ads are creating a narrative that capture the audience’s attention.
Creating a story or narrative is one of the most effective ways of building a powerful brand. For example, Amazon could exploit off-topic questions as a marketing opportunity much like Apple did with Siri. Indeed Virgin Mobile did something similar, using cultural and emotional marketing to capture audience sentiment.
Mayday sounds like such a brilliant concept, I’m already eager to try it out.
Well played Amazon.
Foreign Language Support – A Back Door into New Markets
According to Computerworld, Mayday will be available in every country where the Fire HDX is sold (I was unable to pre-order the Fire HDX in Singapore), with full language support. The importance of providing support in a customer’s native language cannot be overstated. We realized this early on at Zopim and decided to crowd source the translation of our live chat product. That decision has helped us grow into markets we previously thought inaccessible.
With the Fire HDX, Amazon will also be looking to expand into regions outside of US and Europe, something it has had difficulty doing in the past because of distribution issues. Should the Fire prove successful, Amazon will have created a platform to sell more items to its customers.
Will the Fire HDX Succeed?
Despite the popularity of video chat, let’s not kid ourselves, it’s still a little creepy to have an unknown person suddenly in your face. It’s like Chatroulette all over again. We can only guess whether Mayday (and the Fire HDX) will succeed, but ultimately, customer service is shifting to in your face support (pardon the pun).
With social media, customers have become used to immediate support, so email and similar channels won’t cut it for long. Similarly, making the trip down to a Genius Bar is far too time consuming, as compared to live chat. With Mayday Amazon is ushering in a new paradigm of tech support, one that sits in the palm of your hand.
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