The Current of Amazon’s Customer Service

Deep in the Heart of Amazon

Intrepid explorer Jeff Bezos guides you through the sopping groves filled with gangly jumbles of trees. The mist of this foreign land saddles your clothes with droplets thick as morning dew, but you press on, deeper and deeper into the pulsating heart of the jungle… Suddenly, with a quick two-step side-turn, you’ve wound up in a different kind of jungle altogether—the Internet shopping hub know as Amazon.com.

Founded in 1994 by our dear explorer Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com is the largest Internet-based retailer in the United States, as well as one of the largest in the world. It continues to push both the retail and the tech market forward with great heave-hos, revolutionizing not only how customers shop online, but also how they shop in the real world. An Internet mogul of such prowess should thus have some kind of representation on social media, right? Especially when it comes to customer service.

Not All Jungles Are Created Equally

According to a customer satisfaction survey conducted by Temkin in 2014, Amazon.com comes in second place for overall customer satisfaction with customer service of companies in the US. That’s not too shabby, especially for being as big of a company as Amazon just happens to be. But how does that translate to their presence on social media?

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Here’s one convo of @AmazonHelp with a curious customer on Twitter. As you may observe with your visual receptors, Amazon responded to the customer’s Tweet within 30 minutes, and then continued the conversation until the customer was finished with their questions. You may also notice that Amazon does indeed have a Twitter handle created specifically to answer customer questions and solve customer problems. I would wager they encounter questions on their other pages as well, but if you want to receive customer service, they will direct you to this Twitter account where you can find aid promptly.

What strikes me here is that multiple employees at Amazon.com handled this conversation, both of whom responded with helpful and sincere answers. If I were to make another wager, I’d say that multiple employees handled this account not because of confusion, but because of how intently they were responded to other customers’ questions. In the time it took this customer to respond to ^CD’s answer, ^CD was already working with another customer, so ^JF marched right up and continued the action.

Teeming with Life and Replies

Because screenshots are the veritable bomb, here’s another one:

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Now, what is this thing doing here? Well, it’s here to illustrate how Amazon.com is the veritable bomb when it comes to customer service. Look at the recency of those replies! They answer customer questions and general Tweets almost every minute, if not sometimes more often. Observing their track record, while @AmazonHelp had only responded to 6 out of the 10 most recent Tweets (60%) when I was writing this article, those Tweets had happened in the last 13 minutes. Before that time, they had responded to each and every Tweet asking for genuine help. That’s being on the ball.

Perhaps you don’t shop at Amazon.com all that often, or maybe you’ve even had a bad experience with them one way or another. When I’ve contacted Amazon customer service, they have always been more than helpful. I’ve never done this via social media, but who knows? There’s always a fist time for everything. And as @AmazonHelp clearly shows, that first time will be answered in time at all.

CNET to Go

Satisfy Your Taste for Tech

Like tech, tech news, and all things tech? Then head over to CNET if you have yet to experience its glory and wonder. What is CNET? Well, according to their very own electronic lips:

CNET tracks all the latest consumer technology breakthroughs and shows you what’s new, what matters, and how technology can enrich your life. We give you the information, tools, and advice that will help you decide what to buy and how to get the most out of the tech in your life.

For me, CNET is a part of my daily routine. (And by daily routine, I mean hourly routine. And by hourly routine, I mean hourly addiction.) CNET is filled with reviews, news and almost anything and everything you could want to ingest on the latest and the greatest in the world of what is awesome and innovative. But for a site all about tech, how do they measure up on social media?

BOGO Mobile

And by social media,  I mean Facebook and Twitter mobile. Take a gander at CNET’s pages:

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The consistency across platforms was greatly appreciated. The cover and avatar photos matched, and they appeared optimized for the small screen. Given the fact the CNET is in the business of purveying content, one would hope that they present said content in a reasonable (and by reasonable, I mean mobile-friendly) fashion. And they don’t disappoint.

Carefully Crafted Content 

As you can see from the three CNET articles below, CNET is catering not only to those browsing on their computers, but to those perusing on their mobiles devices as well. The content intelligently scaled to fit my screen, and the text was easy to read. Links to other articles were well placed and readily accessible, and nothing felt cramped or misplaced.

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Food for Thought

Based on CNET’s content, I would say that they pay careful attention to an audience that is migrating to mobile. While the majority of those in the tech community still own laptops or even desktop computers, there are many who conduct much of their day to day activities on smartphones and tablets. CNET lets you have your tech cake and eat it to, whether sipping coffee at your computer or standing in line to purchase said coffee (and by coffee, I mean ambrosia of the gods).

Apple Watch Times Two: A Follow-Up Campaign on Instagram

Apples to Apples

Verily, I am blogging about the world-renowned tech company Apple once again. If you’d like to bite into more info on this company, as well as the first part of this mock social media marketing campaign, you can find my previous blog post here (or scroll down on the homepage of my blog).

Things have changed since my last blog post, though. Spring is in the air, and the Apple Watch has been sprung upon the public. If you wish to see what Apple has introduced to the world, then feel free to pluck the fruit of their labors from their online store starting on April 10—though it won’t actually be shipping until April 24.

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While the Apple Watch has yet to hit consumers’ wrists, Apple’s product itself is no longer a tantalizing mystery waiting to be served up. With this fact in mind, I’ll be using the current knowledge available about the Apple Watch to craft a second portion to my campaign using the social media platform Instagram.

Wait: Who Wants an Apple Watch?

No, really. The abundance of wearables from the Pebble to Samsung Galaxy Gear to Android Wear have demonstrated that there is indeed a large market for wearable tech, but who is going to be clamoring after what Apple has to sell? According to Mike Elgan of the news site eWeek, millions of people will be! As he puts it:

My prediction is that the Apple Watch will sell better than all previous smartwatches combined within a few days of its release . . . If the Apple Watch were merely something people need it would be a lot cheaper. But like all the over-priced things in our lives, the Apple Watch is something that makes us feel good, and that’s why we’ll buy it.

Elgan makes quite the claim. Should it come true, then we could expect Apple to try to market the Apple Watch to the masses at large, as they have done with many of their products (see last week’s blog again for more on Apple’s previous marketing efforts). But Apple isn’t just aiming for the standard consumer this time. They are seeking higher clientele as well.

The Apple Watch will be released in three iterations that each come with their own complimentary price tags: the Apple Watch Sport, ranging from $349-$399, the Apple Watch, ranging from $549-$1,099, and the Apple Watch Edition, ranging from a mere $10,000-$17,000. This Apple Watch Edition is clearly meant to appeal to those with bounteous billfolds, and according to Tim Moynihan of Wired, it will.

So who will my target market be? To be as unspecific as possible, I’d say anyone and everyone. At least, when it comes to socioeconomic status and wealth. By using Instagram, I will be able to target a desirable generally younger audience (those ages 18-29) while still keeping my horizons open for everyone from the Apple inductee who ops for the Apple Watch Sport to the wealthy celebrity who flaunts a rose gold Apple Watch Edition.

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A Campaign to Watch

In first chunk of my campaign, I was seeking to get a younger target audience of adults 18-24 interested in and excited about the Apple Watch. For this campaign, the goal is similar, but also looks to take things a step further. I want to give the Apple Watch as much exposure as it can have while also continuing to associate it with its most inherent feature: keeping track of time. But how can this be done?

Beginning on April 10 when preorders for the Apple Watch commence, and ending six months after the Apple Watch goes on sale, the campaign will encourage Instagram users to post pictures of themselves and their Apple Watches every Wednesday, using the hashtag #AppleWatchWed. Every Thursday, several Apple employees will pick their favorite pics and send five winners a $100 iTunes gift card. This contest will not only ensure that photos of the Apple Watch appear frequently on Instagram users timelines (you will be able to post as many pictures/enter the contest as many times as you would like), but also cause those using Instagram to associate Wednesdays with the Apple Watch.

The ultimate goal of this association and exposure is, of course, that those on Instagram will see the Apple Watch in action and be persuaded to investigate it further and hopefully purchase it. When users see how many of those they follow have Apple Watches, they too may wish to join the crowd and procure their own Apple Watch. The association of Apple Watches with Wednesdays will also create a longevity for the identity of the product itself, as even after the campaign is finished Instagram users will think of the Apple Watch for many a Wednesday to come.

Making the Most of Posts

At the beginning of the campaign, from the time pre-ordering begins until the Apple Watch actually ships, Apple will post each Wednesday one to two pics of Apple employees wearing the Apple Watch. The posts will mention the upcoming contest, giving more information as the campaign continues. For example, an earlier post could merely promote the product and the hashtag:

  • [Picture of wrist with Apple Watch near microwave] Counting down the seconds until my mac and cheese is ready #AppleWatchWed

While a post closer to launch date could say:

  • [Picture of thumbs up with Apple Watch on wrist and other hand holding $100 iTunes gift card] Want to win $100 iTunes gift card? Post a pic of your Apple Watch on #AppleWatchWed [Link to contest webpage]

Once the Apple Watch begins shipping, Apple could post either on Tuesday, looking forward to the next day, or Wednesday, giving even more specific info on the contest itself. Here’s how it could look:

  • [Picture of five $100 iTunes gift cards and hand with Apple Watch beckoning towards them] You could win one of five $100 iTunes gift cards by posting a pic of your Apple Watch on #AppleWatchWed. See link for complete contest details and rules. [Link to contest webpage]

This campaign would work well with my previous campaign as it would hit a similar but different target audience, and as both campaigns could reference each other. If Apple wished, they could incorporate the #AppleWatchWed into their other marketing platforms (whether on social media or not), but I don’t think that it would be necessary to carry this campaign.

Making the Campaign a Success

In order to succeed with the campaign, Apple would need to account for several factors. First, they would have to have sufficient employees to monitor and update the Instagram page. As they currently do not have an Instagram account, they most likely would have to hire several individuals in order to create and cultivate their page as well as their content. These employees would also be responsible for awarding the gift cards each week.

Second, Apple would need to arrange funds necessary not only to employ these individuals, but to pay for the $100 iTunes gift cards as well. At $500 a week for 24 weeks, that $12,000 worth of iTunes content. Finally, Apple would need to have the appropriate tools in place in order to create their content and monitor the results of their contest.

And how would Apple monitor the results of their contest? Well, first off, they could use a tool such as Talkwalker, RebelMouse, or Tagboard to measure the responses to the contest as well as observe conversations happening in relation to #AppleWatchWed. After this, they could keep track of the actual sales of the Apple Watch in order to see if there were any correlation between this social media marketing campaign and the overall sales performance of the Apple Watch. They would be able to measure these sales against predicted sales as well as wearable sales of competitors such as Google, Samsung, and Pebble.

Now comes the big question: Would the campaign be a success? And if it were, how would one know? While I could not say for sure if a campaign such as this would directly increase sales of the Apple Watch, I am certain that it would increase the exposure of Apple’s freshest product as well as the social media conversations happening around it. While an outcome such as this may not have an initial impact on the success of Apple as a company, it would be a worthwhile investment into their future. But you never know. If I saw that a number of my friends owned an Apple Watch, wouldn’t I at least be interested to see what all of the fuss was about? You know, I might even sink my teeth into it if it looked sweet enough.