Home > General Business > The Other Side – Amazon Falls Short on Customer Service

The Other Side – Amazon Falls Short on Customer Service

September 8, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

In my last post, I talked about my great customer experience with Zappos and lesons that startups could learn from Zappos as a role model.  They did everything right, including:

  1. Acknowledging the mistake and showing empathy
  2. Telling the truth and explaining the whole situation
  3. Quickly remedied the situation as best as possible
  4. Provide future perks to keep (bribe) me as a customer

I am a frequent customer of Amazon.com and throughout my history with them, I have rarely had a problem with my orders.  I’ve placed dozens of orders and they usually arrive as described on-time or early.  And before we get going, yes, I know Amazon now owns Zappos, but they are run independently.

So when I placed an order with Amazon a few weeks ago, I was disappointed when I ran into problems.  The issue:  I never received either of my two packages.  On Amazon’s website, they were listed as “Shipped”, but on the USPS tracking website they were not.  Finally, after the packages were 7 days past their estimated arrival date, I attempted to contact Amazon.  First issue – it is difficult to find contact information anywhere to report an issue and talk with someone.  Amazon makes you jump through hoops to get to someone.  Once Amazon responded, the response was simply – sorry, the order was lost, here’s a refund.  If you want the items, order again.

Really Amazon?  Is that the best you could do?  Yes, I’m happy I got refund, but why not tell me what really happened?  Why not deliver a sincere apology?  Why not make it easier for me to get the items I already ordered and expected a week ago?  The perception from Amazon is that they don’t really care about their customers and customer service is a transaction process.

It made me think a bit about the philosophy of customer service… Is your customer service strategy as transaction process – that is, identify the issue and solve it quickly.  Or is your customer service strategy a nurturing value-add process – that is, not only solve the problem, but build on the customer relationship.

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Categories: General Business
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