Tour’s Books Blog

December 12, 2012

Lessons in Annoying Customers Amazon Style – The Follow-Up

Filed under: Editorial,opinion,Uncategorized — toursbooks @ 6:08 pm
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Well miracles do happen.  I actually got a email response from  a living, breathing person at Amazon.  Now, do I really think Jeff Bezos read my email?  No more than I believe that my US Senators read the emails I send them – and given the often bizarre non-responses I get from them, their staff doesn’t read them either.  Actually reaching anyone in a position of true authority in any company is difficult, in government it’s worse.  It doesn’t help that I view politicians (expert professional liars) on both sides (and their staff) as scum-sucking bottom feeders.  I usually hold a very slightly higher opinion of business executives (excluding bankers and financial service firms who rank right up there with minor demons from Hell and the professional liars), but realize that the lives of those in charge are more important than my issues.

One customer more or less really has no impact on a company.  Screwing up on Twitter and getting cyber-verse after your tail is a much taller order.  Still, at least attempting to reach a person in power sometimes pays off.  (Remind me to tell you about the time I asked American Express’s CEO if the company was run by the Marx Brothers or the Three Stooges – but that’s a whole other story that happened long before email – or Twitter.)  Anyway, much to my amazement, here is a pertinent response from Amazon.

Hi xxxxxx,

I’m xxxxxxxx of Amazon.com’s Executive Customer Relations team. Jeff Bezos received your e-mail and asked me to respond on his behalf.

First, I want to thank you for bringing this experience to our attention – as you know, we strive to be Earth’s Most Customer Centric Company and it’s truly disappointing to hear that wasn’t what you encountered when you contacted us.  I want to assure you I’ve personally reached out to the appropriate managers to ensure additional training is provided so this doesn’t happen for other customers in the future. 

Regarding your original question about the missing bar on detail pages of items you’ve already purchased, our technical team’s been notified of this issue and is working to resolve this as quickly as possible.  This is a feature that’s valuable to many of our customers for much the same reason you use it and there are no plans to disable it at this time.

xxxxxxxx I’m only sorry it took so much of your time to get the correct answer to your question.  Please know we appreciate your time in writing to us, and I hope you have great rest of your week and a happy holiday season.  Please feel free to write back to me directly by replying to this e-mail if you have any further questions.

Regards,

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Executive Customer Relations
Amazon.com

So there you go.  The answer I SHOULD have gotten when I first contacted Amazon Customer Service.  Was that so hard?  Did I really need to spend so many frustrating hours trying to get and answer – then killing orders to get their attention?  No.  No way should any customer service issue become such a problem.

If I had taken this to the Twitter-verse, Amazon might have paid attention faster.  Maybe that’s all companies understand these days, getting massive tweets about something.  And isn’t that a shame.  Maybe it’s as much to do with how we communicate and how companies respond to the pressure of social media as it is about doing the right thing.  Certainly social media is an immediate and powerful weapon, but one that is also often abused.  Still, it seems the big club really is far more effective than a single voice.  I will have to think about using it the future, however much I distrust it and the emotional tidal waves it causes.  Social media is an amazing tool for good and ill, but this blog is about as social as my media gets.

At least this story has an ending, but Amazon will not be seeing print book orders from until that status bar is back or they have something I’m dying to read.  I have so few Kindle books, I can easily check that inventory, but that’s pretty limited range of books since I still prefer print.

So there is the lesson for today.  You will eventually get an answer, of sorts, but at least a pertinent one, if you try hard enough.  Or you can stir up social media and see if that wakes them up.  Social media would likely be faster and far more effective.  LOL  But one fact remains, Amazon blew through a lot of customer goodwill and loyalty by how they handled this.  It’s not something I’ll forget quickly.

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