Amazon’s impressive growth from a $10 million company in 1997 to turnover of more than £10 billion today provides a benchmark for even the most elephantine corporations – who realise they have to learn to dance to a new tune if they are to compete in the 21st century. But what competitors need to see is not just the results but what underpins those figures, namely, Amazon’s obsession on getting it right for customers.

Amazon is effective at ‘closing the loop’ in relation to both customers and operations. They take a systematic, holistic approach to their customers, business improvement programmes, and their operational processes. The company makes it easy for people to do business with them. They pay attention to the little details – whether it’s in response to what customers tell their frontline staff in the contact centres or in designing a web-site, so that the pages are fast and easy for the user to navigate.

Amazon listens attentively to what customers are saying to them – and continuously adjusts and innovates with the customer in forefront of mind. It’s no accident that the words ‘customer’ or ‘customers’ are mentioned 175 times in the Amazon 2006 annual report. How often are they in yours?
This paper looks at Amazon’s culture. If you want to know more specifically about Amazon’s Skyline process try “100 things you can learn about 21st century demand drivers and metrics”


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