Saturday, September 15, 2012

Amazon (no poker content)

My friend Grrouchie just put up a post (if you go there, be sure to feed his fish) with a story about going above and beyond what they had to do to make up for failed promises that were not Amazon's fault.

This reminds me of my own encounter with Amazon's customer service yesterday. I have bought a bunch of ancillary items for my new bicycle. As my rides get longer, I'll need to be able to do simple repairs out on the road so that I'm not stuck walking home or waiting for somebody to come fetch me. To that end, I bought a book about bike repair, a small tool kit, a spare tire tube, a portable tire pump, and a tire gauge. I needed a bag to carry that stuff (except for the book). I picked one from Amazon. When it came, I found that it was just a tad too small to hold that assortment of stuff. So I picked another one that had slightly larger dimensions, and it proved to be just right.

I went to Amazon's web site to begin the process of returning the first bag. I filled out the form, relating the above story and assuring them that there was nothing wrong with the product, then clicked "submit," expecting to be taken to a page with shipping instructions. Instead, I got this message:

Just keep it, we'll refund your money anyway!

Who ever heard of such a thing???

Now, I realize that this is probably not, at root, a magnanimous personal gesture being extended to me because I'm an especially valued customer. Most likely, their accountants have crunched the numbers and found that for a $14 item it costs the company more to ship and process the return (i.e., inspect it for suitability for resale, get it back into the right spot in the warehouse, etc.) than they would make from being able to sell it to the next customer. If the item in question were, say, a $1000 camera, I don't think that same message would have popped up.

But even having that cognitive awareness, the feeling I got was one of warmth and generosity being directed my way. I'm pleased that for just the cost of the second bag, I have two similar products, and I can pass this other one on to Cardgrrl to use on her bike. And it absolutely does have the effect of making me even more inclined to use Amazon for future purchases.

Smart people are running that company.


grrouchie serge said...

The power of good customer service does not go unnoticed in this day and age when mostly negatives are being spread.

Nice to see you on the receiving end of some good old fashioned good service as well.

FlushDraww said...

Hey Grump, either you did not post it or I missed it, but was hoping for an update on the check you recieved from Black Chip Poker. You nrecieved it in 9 days via FedEx. Did you have any problems after that? Did the fact it was from a Canadian bank prove to be an issue? How long did it take to clear? Hoping for an update on this. Thanks much.

Rakewell said...

I deposited it 28 days ago. My bank credited my account immediately, and I have heard nothing since then, no notices of reversals or anything like that, so it must have gone through.

FlushDraww said...

Thanks for the update.

Wolynski said...

All very nice, but no mention of the Dickensian working conditions in their warehouses. I only know what I read, but apparently packaging all this stuff is hell on earth - most of these workers can only do it for a few weeks, before they drop from exhaustion.

Why can't American companies provide reasonable working conditions?