Tips On Customer Obsession From Amazon VP Tom Weiland

Contributor: Tom Weiland
Posted: 05/30/2017
Tom Weiland
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“Customer obsession” is one of the key principles at Amazon.

Unsurprisingly, Amazon has earned a reputation for an elite customer experience.  Its brand name has become synonymous with the notion of customer centricity, and many contact center leaders identify Amazon’s experience as the one they most want to replicate.

Tom Weiland, Amazon’s Vice President of Customer Service, plays a valuable role in actualizing this notion of customer obsession.  We’re thrilled to announce that he’ll be sharing his insights as part of a keynote at the 18th Annual CCW, June 26-30, Las Vegas, NVLearn about his session – and the entire event – by downloading the agenda.

Ahead of the event, we also interviewed Tom regarding his history at Amazon and his company’s emphasis on customer obsession:

You joined Amazon in 1997 as a temporary employee.  Can you tell us about your diverse and exciting 20 year career at Amazon?

TW: Amazon’s mission is to be earth’s most customer-centric company, and that has always inspired me. When I joined Amazon over 20 years ago, it was crystal clear that the entire company was rallied around this idea.  And it’s that simple idea – even after 20 years – that gets me excited to come to work every day. We focus on innovating and creating technologies that empower our associates to deliver the best customer experience such as Mayday, the screen-sharing program that enables customers to get immersive support on their Kindle devices. I’m proud to lead the customer service team whose core mission is to be the best in the world at serving customers and while we have still have such a long way to go, we get closer to that goal each day.

A key component of innovation at Amazon is centered on “customer obsession.”  What does that entail?

TW: Everything we do starts with the customer. Whether we are creating a new program or product, we use a process called working backwards and through that we’ll write an internal press release to envision what the customer benefit and impact will be, or we are naming our corporate office buildings after Amazon’s first customer who purchased a book on April 3, 1995. Amazon’s culture is to obsess over our customers and to work tirelessly to earn and keep customer trust.

What recent business accomplishment are you most proud of?

TW: I’m proud the customer service team continues to get recognized by customers for the exemplary service they deliver on a daily basis. Amazon has ranked #1 in many independent ratings including American Customer Service Satisfaction Index, ForeSee Experience Index for six years in a row and Institute of Customer Service in the UK, just to name a few. I’m also excited that we continue to create interesting and diverse roles for employees no matter where they live. We recently announced that we’re creating 5,000 new, part-time, work-from-home jobs over the next year to give associates the flexibility to provide customer service support to customers while working from home. We’re finding that roles with Virtual Customer Service are particularly attractive to military spouses who want to continue working and parenting, even if their spouse is deployed or the family is relocated. Amazon currently employs more than 10,000 military veterans, and last year pledged to hire an additional 25,000 veterans and military spouses during the next five years.

What value do you believe IQPC’s CCW Vegas 2017 will deliver to experienced practitioners like you?

TW: At Amazon, it’s always Day 1 and while we work tirelessly to deliver the best customer service experience, we know there is so much more still to do.  CCW is a great reminder to never be satisfied by our success and instead we strive to maintain a laser-like focus to innovate for our customers.  

Tom Weiland
Contributor: Tom Weiland