Episode 8: With customer service to a successful online shop

In Episode 8 of the ''Der Conversion-Hacker Podcast'', Germany's top conversion hacker Jörg Dennis Krüger uses the example of the e-commerce giant Amazon to explain how you can optimize your customer service in order to make your customers happy in the long term.


Welcome to the Conversion Hacking Podcast! My name is Jörg Dennis Krüger and as my personal trainer just rightly said: Yes, I am the conversion hacker! My topic today is the archenemy of all online shops.

The antichrist of e-commerce, the big American department store: Amazon. For many online retailers, this is both the savior and the final deathblow. It's easy to get a foothold and sell products on Amazon, but Amazon is always grabbing a larger share of the market and crowding out the smaller retailers.

At least that's what one might think. But Amazon is doing this a little bit out of the strategy that Amazon is investing in new technologies and that Amazon didn't want to make any real profits for a long time. And now you can still say that yes, Amazon exploits employees and does not pay enough and so on. Even if I'm maybe a bit skeptical whether the normal warehouse worker gets more or less from a smaller, medium-sized online shop than from Amazon. That probably depends a lot on the company and so on. But, Amazon is definitely a huge competitor. But how did Amazon get there?

If we ask ourselves the question and answer the question, then we know how to make our online shop more successful and how we can hold our own against Amazon. From my point of view, it is not that difficult to hold your own against Amazon. Because why do I also order from time to time and I like to do so from Amazon?

Well, I really, really like to order from smaller online shops where I know they have a nicer selection, I might know the people there and where I can find the products and the price doesn't really play that big a role. Price doesn't really matter that much to me on Amazon. At Amazon, I'm one of those, just like many, many, many others who only look at one thing: They look at: "Is there a small Prime symbol on it?". And many products - via Prime - are more expensive than if I didn't buy them via Prime. Prime, especially for slightly cheaper products, usually means a surcharge. And what does prime mean? Prime means the product is delivered quickly, often the very next day.

Amazon pretty much tells me when it will be delivered. But Prime also means: In most cases, the product is sold by Amazon and I can make use of Amazon customer service. And there we have the two exciting things that ultimately make Amazon so popular. Fast delivery and excellent customer service. Amazon isn't exactly cheap. Maybe they want to be natural, but I know many, many, many counter-examples where the actual shops are cheaper.

And Amazon isn't particularly great to use either. Yes, this department store has a bit of an advantage that somehow everything gets there, but in the end there are also 25 packages from 23 warehouses and so on, that's no longer the big advantage that I say ok, I'll order everything from one now Provider, then the parcel carrier comes only once and that's it. No, no, it's actually these two things: delivery time and customer service.

If I have problems with Amazon shipments, then I actually have no problem. Recently Amazon delivery didn't arrive here. I have no idea on the note from DHL, or what Amazon Logistics I have no idea what was written on it: “Given to the neighbor even with the name of the neighbor.” Went there fine, neighbor says: "No one was with me." Well, I called Amazon: "Friends, what's up?"

They said: "Yes, no problem at all! I still have to wait two or three days to see whether the product will still be delivered and if it doesn't then I'll credit you!" And then he called after two days, "And did you get it?" Saying "No, unfortunately not “ – “Okay, I’ll give you credit!” bang, bang, bang. Theoretically, he would have even sent it to me again and not only wrote it well, but unfortunately the product was no longer there at the moment, you couldn't send it again, I have to order it again - well, that's how it is. And otherwise, something is defective, even within the two-year warranty:

Amazon helps! Amazon doesn't say, "Oh, I'm sorry, but it's been six months now, we'll have to see." Amazon says, "No you, no problem. Do you want a new device or should we just take it back – no thing.” Amazon is incredibly accommodating. But if you look at the statistics that Amazon publishes, Amazon has relatively low return rates overall, maybe also because a slightly different target group is addressed, maybe because they don't necessarily offer fashion, but this open strategy of providing such good service and also accepting returns, even if you say, oh God, that's not necessarily a real return, someone actually broke it, or whatever, but it's a service that keeps customers with Amazon. And if I order something that I'm not sure whether A will last long enough, or B whether I really want to keep it, then I prefer to order from Amazon.

Why did I argue with a large online shop for vacuum robots, as my vacuum robot was defective, relatively quickly. And then he just said: "Yes wait a minute, no problem at all, then send me the vacuum robot back, we'll check it and if it's really a defect and everything is ready, then we'll send you a new one, right repair it, send you the money.” Then you just have to look at the law, which says: “No, no, wait a minute, the warranty works differently. Warranty means first delivering a replacement and then requesting the defective product back.”

Because otherwise, as a customer, I'm left with nothing, I've paid, I don't have a device anymore, so everything's gone and I have to hope that the retailer will react. The legislature wants to protect me from that. But many retailers don't care. First of all, they want to distrust the customer enormously. "Well, he just wants anyway..." and no idea. And the customer notices this distrust and of course I ordered the next robot vacuum somewhere else and not from this big robot vacuum shop. What's that about?

Example from real life: I bought parasols, really first in the store and was very excited that I - Bauhaus, I'll advertise it - that I could also return the parasol to Bauhaus. Two months later, as he was defective, too, without a receipt. I couldn't find the receipt, I didn't pick it up, back again. Sure, the lady at the information desk was like: "But you have to bring the receipt with you!", but the actual complaints processor took a look at it, saw it, yes, one of our products is okay, it's defective, well, no problem, here get your money back.

That means: I really like shopping at Bauhaus again, because I simply know they have great service, even if something is defective. That was the umbrella from the Bauhaus own brand and I bought two of them, both broke relatively quickly - of course it sucks - but I'll buy them again because the service was good, it's great.

No damage and in the end it's all good, the products aren't that good, well, well, the individual employees aren't involved either, maybe they didn't know, maybe I'm here with my umbrella on the third floor on the balcony , that's too much of a strain on the screen - I don't know. But in any case: That's customer service that keeps the user. And that's why people keep coming back to Amazon. And then of course I have a self-fulfilling story, if people keep coming back, then I can offer more products, then people buy more and I grow and grow and grow, then a few more innovations like wait, I don't know what, like an Alexa or here the buttons that you just introduced or maybe something like Prime, because then it's worth it, because I order there more often.

And then I can really grow into what I am and this statement - so with the growth of what Amazon has become, like that. But this statement from Jeff Bezos, this "We want to be the most customer-friendly company in the world."

This is actually what ultimately made Amazon great. And successful online shops, from my point of view, do exactly that too. They simply make their customers happy and are customer-friendly. And if you have a dispute with a customer or then want to get some sort of value replacement from the customer immediately or something like that, send the customer Yes, gone in the long run and is thus limited in terms of growth.

I'm a member of a few Facebook retailer groups and I often read these questions there: "Well, here the customer sent me a product back, but he's now tried it out more than once. I can't just resell that, as I do from the value replacement, I would prefer to just send the product back and keep everything."

Of course I see the problem, I see that you have to make money and that you can't give money back easily and so on and immediately, that the margins are generally not that big. But well, this one customer, if I treat him nicely and he tells his friends and so on, then I ultimately have the chance to grow in a completely different way and of course I always have a small number of problem orders, but I hardly think any of them Problem customers, I think there are only very, very few customers who are actually out and about with fraudulent intent. So when I click on invoice payment, it's like I always get it or something.

Well, I don't think people want to cheat, they just have a problem and it can be so many things that you can really sue mattress manufacturers here up to the highest level, whether a mattress can be returned or something. Well, God, of course it's idiotic when companies like Ikea or all other furniture stores say: Hey, sleep 100 days trial and send them back.

And then I say to my customer: "No, you've already slept on it, I won't take the mattress back, sue me." Then I get sued and even lose and so on, goes through the press. Oh my godness. Instead of simply making the customer happy, cleaning the mattress properly and then maybe making another customer happy by checking the products a little bit, like Amazon does with goods deals, and selling them a little cheaper .

And so the customers bond even more closely with me, because they see; Man, I get good deals again and so on and so forth. So I don't beat Amazon with a good conversion rate, I don't beat Amazon with a cheap price, I don't beat Amazon with, I don't know what, the perfect shop and all that. I beat Amazon by delivering great customer service. And that starts with fast delivery, really saying when I can deliver and then actually delivering, and then that continues with the after-sales service. Don't actively ask and help and stuff like that, but if there is a problem, really help the customer, refund quickly if necessary, send replacement goods quickly, that's how I keep customers happy and that's how I keep customers away from Amazon. 

And there are some products that I wouldn't even think of buying from Amazon because I know the retailers I order from are so reliable and so fast and so great that I don't even have to go to Amazon . I have no added value with Amazon. So I always order from them, even if I usually start my research, where I buy something in smaller online shops and only maybe end up going to Amazon and then buying it there because I somehow couldn’t find it anywhere else.

For many things, Amazon simply has a very, very large range because there are many Marketplace dealers on it and stuff like that. Then there are no small online shops where you can shop – which is also a pity. You might be able to attract a few people with the product range, but then I can really draw people there. And when I see online shops that deliver with DPD, for example. yes good

I don't order there. I always just run after my DPD packages. But Magic: Amazon Prime at Sela, which is also delivered by DPD, suddenly works because Amazon obviously gave it some thought and said: ok, DPD is cheap, but it also has to work and there are two of me here DPD parcels, especially in recent times, for ages, but the third thing you ordered from Amazon – a new office PC – came like a dream.

He found the house, he rang the bell, he didn't carry it up, it was a heavy thing, ten kilos, waited for me to come down, but it didn't matter, at least it worked. Nevertheless, I prefer the deliveries via Amazon Logistics or especially via DHL. But as you can see: customer focus is the absolute secret to defeating Amazon and you can now simply say: Yes, let's go! Customers think in a focused way and always think about what the goodies can be that I get customers to buy with, because Amazon does a lot of things wrong.

Hey, I bought a toilet seat from Amazon. But it's neither a fetish nor do I have 100 toilets! I don't need more toilet seats, one is enough for me, you don't have to keep emailing me saying, "Hey, I want to buy another toilet seat?!" Amazon gets a lot of things wrong too. And there are still huge opportunities to overtake Amazon, to leave Amazon far behind in its niche. But you have to be brave for that. You might even have to be a hacker to develop the creativity to do something like this properly and defeat Amazon. So, let's go! Now, conversion hacking, hacking amazon over, more sales!