Has Amazon’s Mayday Redefined the Tech Support Game?

Help Desk SOSNumbers vary but the message is always the same—focusing on customer retention strategies pay huge dividends over time. A favorite statistic thrown around in the customer retention discussion is 5-1; the cost of acquiring a new customer is five times greater than the cost of keeping a current customer. 

Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, must have taken this statistic to heart when he challenged his team to take customer service to a new level (not that Amazon was struggling in this area; they are consistently ranked as one of the best customer service companies in the world). 

Their response was Mayday

Amazon’s new help desk may just be the future of tech support, especially as relates to support through mobile devices.

If you aren’t familiar with Mayday, it’s a service that comes standard with the new Kindle Fire HDX.  If you’re having a technical issue with your tablet, you hit the Mayday button. A tiny video screen pops up on your tablet, and you find yourself face-to-face with one of the thousands of tech support employees at Amazon who can help you work through the problem. 

The tech support can see your screen and even draw directly on your tablet, assuming you provide permission.

With Mayday, Amazon has addressed the crucial issue of early problem resolution. 

In a recent post, egain.com reports that in a recent survey, 85% of polled companies report that being able to resolve problem in the call center or via an interaction over the web is “very” or “extremely” important to the company’s financial performance. 

Interestingly, despite the level of importance placed on early problem resolution, only 14% of the same group felt satisfied with their firm’s ability to deliver on this goal.  This is an astonishing gap, considering what we’ve come to understand about the increasingly high expectations (and equally high frustration levels) consumers place on getting fast, competent customer support for their technology problems. 

To a large degree, Amazon is not just raising the bar on customer service, but redefining the rules of the game.

The old rules required a customer to find technical support.  This process began with a phone call, email or, in the most drastic of circumstances, snail mail.  Customer service based on the Mayday model is different:

  • Convenient.  Wherever you are with your Kindle, Mayday is there with you
  • Instantaneous.  No phone calls; no interminable holds.
  • Accessible.  Hit the button and tech support pops up on the screen
  • Comprehensive.  Tech support is trained on all aspects of the product experience so callers aren’t bounced around to the “right department.”

Now, of course, with all of these positives, the Mayday model brings with it some psychological and emotional hurdles:

  • Privacy.  Americans are agitated about stories of communication companies sharing their personal information.  It may be a leap for some people to embrace the fact that an Amazon employee can connect so easily to their personal tablet.
  • Control.  Having a stranger “invade” your personal space to fix a problem may take some getting used to in the short term.

One suspects that this short term paranoia will give way to acceptance, especially if Mayday delivers on its vision of almost instantaneous, comprehensive technical support for its Kindle customers. 

Moving forward, major brands will need to emulate the Mayday model in order to stay competitive in the customer service arena.

Companies committed to customer retention strategies focused on enhanced tech support capabilities will prosper in the evolving economy. 

Samsung is an interesting example.  For years, consumers rated Samsung one of the worst customer service companies in the world.  A few years ago, the electronics retailer made a commitment to reverse its customer service reputation. 

The plan seems to be working as Samsung is attracting new customers with a revamped customer service model offering a free app that provides online support, trouble-shooting guides and an extensive library of how-to-videos.  The company is now receiving high marks in customer service surveys. 

Are you delivering on your customers’ expectations with regards to tech support?  If not, maybe it’s time to consider developing your own “mayday” strategy for fast, comprehensive tech support.  



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