A Dose of Reality – Why I love Amazon

Yesterday I ordered a book on Amazon.com. I am a customer of the US Amazon store since 2006 and while I bought the Kindle when it was launched for India in Oct 2009, Krishnan and I moved to the Kindle app on the iPad for our reading fix. We haven’t bought more than 10 books in the last ten years in the physical form. Our entire library has nearly shifted to Kindle and all new purchases happen there. So as always I bought this book which was on a special price of $0.61.

Since my credit card provider sends me a text message as soon as any transaction is done, I got a message saying $1.61 had been charged. The same thing had happened ten days back when I found another book at a special price of $0.91 and when I ordered it, I got a similar message saying I had been charged $1.91. So I thought something was wrong and I called Amazon’s US customer service centre. I was calling after several years and the first thing I noticed was the south Asian accent of the people who responded. I struggled a little bit to understand what they were saying and they obviously struggled with my pronunciation. I got transferred to the Kindle team but none of my details were passed on and I had to verify all over again …. I have spent nearly two thirds of my working life managing customer service teams and these things get me more irritated than they should. Well, after spending nearly 17 minutes on the phone, I realised the customer service executive was no closer to resolving my problem because she didn’t probably know whom to reach out to. As expected I lost patience and didn’t want to spend more money on a phone call to the US. So I disconnected the phone and got online with Amazon through a chat.

I ended up probably with their chat customer service team working out of India and an Indian executive tried helping me… He was helpful in his tone and tenor but was struggling with his English language skills. Anyway, while he was trying to figure out how to help me, I went online to my card account and checked to see if I had indeed been charged a dollar extra as the text message said. The charge was yet to appear but the transaction from ten days back showed up and I realised that I had been charged only $0.91. So I informed the executive on chat that he needn’t look into this problem as I will wait to see if my card account gets overcharged and then get back to Amazon.

I was going to write this blog today anyway but with concern because I felt Amazon was slipping …. but I was oh so wrong !!

Early in the morning I open my email and I see this note from Amazon saying they are giving me a $1 promotional credit that will apply on my next purchase at checkout. Woww !! I may probably find that I haven’t been overcharged and I would have informed them about it, but they didn’t wait. Yes its just a $1 but they needn’t have cared about that. How many organizations will do this simple service recovery?? I have been a Vodafone customer for nearly 15 years and I was given the run around to such an extent that I was about to turn in my number and find another telecom provider. I didn’t make the switch because Airtel is just as bad or worse and I don’t like Reliance. But the minute there is a good telecom service provider – I am out of the door in an instant. The sad fact is – Vodafone or Airtel DON’T CARE.

Just see how the Amazon executive’s email spells out the company’s vision –

“Your feedback is helping us build Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company” – They are still building and that way they never get complacent !

What are you building? Customer-Centric companies or non-Customer-centric companies?

Do read my other blogs on Amazon and you will see why I will never switch to any other company – its a hard won loyalty and I love being a customer of Amazon.

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