Oct 30, 2020|

JD CEO Richard Liu: Alarm Clock, RMB 15B Yuan, And User Experience


by Vivian Yang

Providing the best user experience has always been the central point around which all JD’s businesses keep on expanding and evolving, wrote China Securities Journal (中国证券报) in a recent report following the announcement of upcoming IPOs from JD Digits and JD Health.

The Journal shed light on several stories about JD’s founder and CEO Richard Liu with a common thread about his persistent pursuit to improve the user experience, which is believed to be the starting point for Liu to develop JD’s strategies and choose what business areas the company should take on.

In the early days of JD.com, Liu handled all customer’s inquiries online by himself. To ensure a timely response, Liu slept on the wooden floor in his office every night, setting an alarm clock every 2 hours. When the alarm rang, it rattled so loudly on the floor that he had no choice but to get up and work. This intermittent sleeping pattern lasted more than 3 years until he had someone to help on customer services.

When JD was a small company, Liu would organize annual events in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou respectively to get together with his customers and invite them to visit JD’s local offices and warehouses. Liu would take down all their feedback and did internal reviews to improve the company’s services. During some of these events, he could often identify exactly which customer had previously raised a complaint and how JD had solved the issue.

When the company moved to a new building in 2007, Liu assigned the best office area to the customer service team, as he wanted customers to always experience the best part of JD in every aspect.

In the same vein, JD was the first e-commerce company in the country to start 24/7 customer service all year round. It was also the first company that promised to go to customers’ homes to pick up their return items or old-for-new exchange items. Over the past ten years, JD has accumulatively put in over RMB 15 billion yuan in developing its customer services.

The most classic example that shows JD’s customer-centered decision-making logic is Liu’s single-minded decision to build JD’s own logistics network, which he believed was the only way to reduce the risk related to parcel delivery and truly improve customers’ online shopping experience. Against the objections of many, Liu went ahead with these plans in 2007, putting heavy investment into building JD’s own logistics network. Ten years later, his efforts have clearly paid off. Nowadays, JD Logistics’ network and its services cover 99% of the total national population, with 90% of orders delivered within 24 hours. The service continued running efficiently even during the COVID-19 lockdown period earlier this year.

As the Journal concluded, “JD’s services are the best”— a standard Liu wants his customers to always benefit from too—whether in JD’s various businesses and services related to retail, technology, healthcare, insurance, and more.