Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pleasantly Surprised and Thoroughly Impressed

As you guys know from yesterday, my Kindle broke over the holiday. I was very concerned what was going to happen. Well, I am excited to tell you, I had the best customer service interaction I have ever experienced yesterday afternoon.

I will share the important part of the chat I had with Bhuvnesh, the Amazon Customer Service Rep, below, but I can easily summarize as well. I chatted with this gentleman for literally five minutes, before he reached the decision that Amazon would be replacing my Kindle, and shipping it next day air, on their dime.

Yes, you read that right. I would not have to send them the failed device, wait for them to refurbish it, and hope that a working one would arrive, 4 to 6 weeks later. They did not have to inspect my device to ensure it was not user error or negligence that damaged it. He did ask a few key questions, as you will see, but I easily could have been lying in my answers (I was not, but I could have been, he had no way to know).


Microsoft, whose X-Box 360 red ring of death scandal is one of the worst in consumer electronics history, I'm looking at you. This is how customers ought to be treated.

Now, before we get all blue flowers and unicorn farts on Amazon, let's keep in mind their business model. Amazon does not profit from selling Kindles. In fact, they're losing a good bit of money on the Kindle Fire, at least on the hardware, on purpose. That's because Amazon makes money off the content we buy to view on our Kindles. A lot of money. There's nothing wrong with that, but the point is, it makes sense for them to do everything they can to make sure I have a working device, so that I can purchase more content.

Yes, it costs them money to overnight the device to me, and yes, it costs them money to simply replace my failed Kindle sight unseen, but it's good business. It keeps me loyal, and it keeps me in a position to be able to buy more content from them, content which provides them with the highest possible profit margin.

Now, none of this is to say that a corporation as giant as Amazon should ever be considered completely benevolent, or that you should stop shopping at local indie bookstores, but it is evidence that they are getting one thing right. In fact, this whole thing went down so fast and so easily for me, it quite literally blew my mind.

Do any of you have any customer service nightmares or wondrous dreams to share?

67 comments:

Huntress said...

No nightmares or dreams to share. But I do wish to share my opinion of Amazon.

Two words. Love. Them.

I've hit a few minor bumps in my business relationship with them but overall color me a loyal customer. The prices are great, love my Kindle, and the MP3 downloads.
When I shop, I go to Amazon first.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm a computer geek - I could give you hundreds of horrible customer service examples!
Glad they are sending you a new Kindle. You're right - they make money on your purchases, not the device.

Old Kitty said...

Yay!!!

When my Dell PC DIED a year after I bought it - I had the nicest loveliest support help from a call centre in India. I felt bad because the nice people there (they had a whole team helping me! LOL!) kept saying "you are one of our most patient customers, thank you for being so patient" to me and I realised it was because they probably get lots of abuse from western customers not used to their accent. Also they had to go through a list of procedures (it's standard -if they don't go through this list, they get told off or sacked) and that was most time consuming but we went through it step by step and again they were so happy that I was so calm about it all. They even rang me up to check up on me a few days later! LOL!

Anyway, I've lost track of the whole point of this comment so off I go now! Take care
x

Adam Heine said...

I hate the way Amazon does business, but I can't argue with how freaking cheap and convenient they are for everything. It's nice to know they have customer service down too.

I don't know if you read Penny Arcade, but the webs have been buzzing with a truly horrible example of customer service that got their attention.

farawayeyes said...

I have got to tell this story to someone and you asked. Kinda.

First,I love my kindle. As an incurable insomniac who lives in a tiny place on an island this is the only way to feed my reading habit. I agree nothing takes the place of the feel and smell of real books, but that is far too impractical for me today. I still frequent the local indi (the only kind on the island) bookstore and browse to help feed my addiction, but I purchase almost strictly on the kindle.

At Christmas my husband agonized over what gift he wanted this year. He finally decided on a Kindle Fire and tried to order one. We found they don't sell them here because they don't work on the island.

Next up, I told him 'go for broke'. Handed him the cc and said order yourself an iPad, you know that's what you want. He tried. They work here but Apple won't ship to the Caribbean, we would have to send it to a friend in the States and have them send it on.

Finally told husband; "you must have been a very bad boy this year." He was not impressed.

This isn't a comment on their customer service, it's just the way it is when you live 'Off the Map'. My choice, so we have to deal, but funny none the less. I think.

Marta Szemik said...

I'm glad to hear you got a replacement. Yeah, this kind of customer service would blow my mind away as well. That's great and it definitely speaks high of their business model. Did you loose all your downloads on the old Kindle or is there a way of getting those re-loaded to the new one from past purchase history?

Matthew MacNish said...

Marta, all the downloads remain in the cloud, so all I will have to do is sync them to the new Kindle once it arrives.

maine character said...

I love the part where he says he'd like to send a replacement and you say, "Holy shit, are you frickin' kidding me?"

At least that's what I assume you blurred out. Or at least blurted out.

I'm naming a character Bhuvnesh in his honor.

Emily White said...

Customer service can make or break a business. There are a few companies I've refused to have anything to do with anymore because their customer service department was rude and completely unhelpful. But there are also companies I've been praising for years to anyone who will listen for the exact opposite reason.

I'm glad you had such a nice experience! :)

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

that's awesome!
Let's see, last week i ordered a new calendar, a michael Parkes calendar (he's my fav magical realist painter). Instead i got a Covered Bridges Calendar. So i called calendars.com and they overnighted me the correct calendar and let me keep covered bridges. It was pretty nice.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Glad you had a good experience from someone named Bhuvnesh who was probably sitting in a cubicle in India. At least they didn't make him change his name to Bobbie or Jack or Joe. Give Amazon credit for that.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Glad to hear they treated you well, Matt! They did the same for me - the two times I had trouble with my Kindle. And yes, they replaced it with a new one once because the wifi function didn't work.

Oh, I understood completely that it was a self-serving model, to keep me a paying customer of their e-books. But as you said, THIS is customer service. Treat the customer right to keep them coming back.

Small independent stores mostly understand this. Not many corporations do.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Wow, that's awesome. I'm glad that everything worked out for you! You're completely right about them making all of their money on everything else related to the Kindle, not the Kindle itself.

Nicole Ducleroir said...

My kids got Kindles for Christmas. They love them! Glad to hear about your good experience with their service people; gives me peace of mind, 'cause technology is great until it suddenly doesn't work anymore.

Happy New Year, Matt!

Richard said...

Good to hear.

mooderino said...

One of the advantages of already having all the money in the world, they can afford to be generous in their returns policy. Benign dictatorship FTW!

mood
Moody Writing
@mooderino
The Funnily Enough

Jemi Fraser said...

Good to hear! I've had some pretty awful experiences (being on a phone for over 2 hours and still not getting an answer) but I had some fantastic service from Bell recently :)

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

YAY!!!
i find that many customer service people are really, really nice. they are just tired and on the defensive from being yelled at all the time. i'm glad you had such a nice experience, but it was probably really helpful that you knew what a hard reset was and how to find the serial number online. you were polite and kind and helpful to him, and he was back to you in return.
ah! the beauty of interaction between decent human beings.

Andrew Leon said...

You really don't want to get me started on bd customer service experiences. Really. You just don't.

Joshua said...

Glad they're replacing it. I've had to send my 360 in 3 times. Never took more than a one week turnaround from phone call to receiving a new one.

Stephanie Lorée said...

I've used Amazon Kindle Support before. Couldn't get my Kindle to turn on, so I chatted with someone. Took all of 5 minutes and he had emailed me a handy "help" sheet for later problems. He was very nice and said if I had the same issue in the future, to contact them with my service number and they'd order a replacement.

Say what you will about Amazon, the Kindle branch is beyond customer friendly.

mshatch said...

I've never had a problem with Amazon. I do my best to support my local bookstore but sometimes I need to read for cheap and Amazon has lots of used books for less. Plus other stuff. Like a vacuum :)

So glad you had such a good experience.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Great news! Now you can go forth and buy lots of books! ;)

Lola Sharp said...

Yay for quick, polite and happy-ending customer service. :) But, yeah, they DO make their money off what you buy, and bad press in the age of twitter, FB and blogs etc., is foolish.

Also, Happy New Year, Matt. May your 2012 be all blue flowers and unicorns! :)

Huggles,
Lola

Rachele Alpine said...

Amazon rocks....my sister fell asleep reading her Kindle about a month ago, woke up and stepped on it as it slipped to the floor. It cracked and she got a whole new one. She told them the truth, and they sent her one right away. How great is that??? I'm glad you had a happy ending too!

Bryce Daniels said...

Told ya.....:)

Amazon has established a great business model. And they haven't neglected the most important, cost-efficient, and effective advertising.

Word of mouth. Or in this case, bytes.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I'm glad things worked out so well for you. And I especially appreciate your caution.

Pearson Report said...

It is refreshing to read about "good" customer service.
Congratulations on the way things worked out.

Good customer service is the glue that holds a business together and, in the case of your Kindle story, it appears Amazon has that figured out in spades!

I don't own a Kindle, but this story would set my mind in that direction; I am a fan of word of mouth advertising.

Jenny @ PEARSON REPORT

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm glad this has been hassle-free for you.

I had a Yahoo account, which I used for purchases and family. I had the account since 1995, when Yahoo was new and cool. This month, a hacker e-mailed my list saying I was in Spain and needed $. The hacker also deleted all my contacts and e-mails. 16 year's worth. I e-mailed Yahoo two different places with no response. By the time I found the correct contact e-mail, it was too late. 48 hours had passed. They could retrieve my contacts, but not my e-mails. I couldn't believe it. I found a place to chat. The woman was no nice and I could tell she felt sorry for me. But nothing could be done.

I closed my Yahoo account.

Wine and Words said...

I love Amazon. I bought some things that didn't work when I received them. I was given a pre-paid return label to print out and a refund given upon their receipt. Easy. LOVE Amazon.

Anita said...

Way to go, Amazon!!!

D.G. Hudson said...

I use Amazon when I have to, but sometimes they are the only ones with the item I need (hard to find items). It's great to hear they have a 'human' side to their business.

My good customer service experience was with a French retailer in Paris, when I ordered a gift for hubby. The item was out of stock, so she offered us other items not yet online in lieu of and gave us a small discount for our inconvenience. I loved this, because most places just let you know it's 'out of stock, so sorry'. She also included individual wrappers with the gifts we ordered(museum collectibles) and got them here well in advance of other items. That's service!

I had a great similar experience with EB Games when the Wii came out, we ended up getting one shipped from another store in another city when I complained about the rude service we received when we tried to purchase the item.

That personal touch is still needed.

Claire Hennessy said...

I'm so glad Amazon were so helpful. I have found them to be really great in all my interactions with them (and there are many). I think if you are fair and honest with other people/companies, they are normally fair and honest with you. Course, this doesn't always follow! Happy New Year :)

Carol Riggs said...

Happy for ya! My mom had the same experience--the year warranty was even up, and they replaced it!! Way cool, since later she bought a Fire and sold us her plain Kindle at a discount, mwuah-haha! :D

Michael Offutt, Supra-Genius said...

Yep. Amazon supports their customers with the best help that third-world child workers in deplorable conditions assembling kindles for a dollar a day can buy. Congratulations on getting your "Made in China" device replaced. :))

For the record...I'm not judging you. I too own nothing made in America. And if it breaks...I'd want it replaced pronto, even if they had to kick some kids out of bed so that their little fingers could assemble said device quickly and overnight it to me.

This post is full of sarcasm and will self-destruct in five seconds.

Carrie Butler said...

I love that you shared your positive experience with us. Too often, we only see the negatives around us. It was refreshing to read about something that went well. :)

As for me, my latest customer service nightmare was with PayPal. *shudder*

Matthew MacNish said...

Don't get me started on PayPal.

Jeffrey Beesler said...

I honestly can't remember the last horrific customer service episode I had. Either that, or I purposely blocked it from my memory.

Great news about your Kindle, though!

Kristen Pelfrey said...

I am so pleased that you had a positive interaction.
It's so nice when humans act like humans.
I have ambivalence about Amazon.
I like that they make books easy to get.
I don't like how many indie bookstores have gone belly up--and not just because of Amazon, to be fair.
I like how, with a few clicks, you can put together a good Zombie Apocalypse preparedness kit, including a Gerber machete. Yes. I watch The Waliking Dead. Being prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse is also helpful for earthquake preparedness.
My husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I wrote out the whole machete description for him and everything.
I think he is a little worried. He got me a gift card for books, which is good.
But what if the Zombie Apocalypse starts today?
Well. I have a selection of screwdrivers to hand.

Christine Rains said...

That's awesome! I'm so glad things worked out for you.

DL Hammons said...

Ohhhhh...don't get me started on Microsoft and Xbox360!!!!! Grrrrrrrr!!!!!

I'm happy your experience was positive! :)

Kelly Polark said...

Yay on good customer service! One time I had a brand new Polo buttondown drycleaned and when I got it back there was a small patch of sticky substance on it that wouldn't come off. The owner's wife went to the dept store and bought another for me after I politely called it to her attention!
Usually though you really have to fight for what you should get with just an explanation.
Good to hear about good Kindle service, my inlaws bought me one yesterday for Xmas as a bonus gift! (they are seriously too generous)

Angela Brown said...

Amazon is definitely doing the right thing. They know the sooner you get the device back in your hand, the sooner you can download more content. Smart move on their part and YAY that you get to benefit from a GREAT customer service experience.

I work in customer service so I'd rather keep mums the word since I've had the lovely and the ugly on both sides of the aisle.

Ted Cross said...

Glad they treated you well. I've always been a fan of Amazon, and I sure wish I had bought stock in them way back when I first thought they would be big.

I had a nightmare customer service incident with AT&T about twelve years ago, and I swore I'd never use them again. I dropped their credit card, and I can truthfully say that I have never spent another penny on them since (unless they get it in some really round-about way).

LTM said...

oh, man. I'm catching up, so I just read your other post... yes. Amazon is famous for their outstanding customer service. Like historically. Other businesses should take note, b/c I'm convinced that's why they've done so well.

Glad you got your new Kindle--yay!!! And Bhuvnesh? Whatever. Yay! :D

Now for a true confession, I had the most divine customer service experience last week with AT&T. Yes. That's what I said.

Must be Christmas. :D <3 Have a great New Year, my friend~

C D Meetens said...

Whenever I've had occasion to contact Amazon customer service, I've found them to be professional and very helpful. I understand what you say about it's in their interests to have the Kindle out there, but this still seems like very good service to me. Fantastic that you're getting you're Kindle replaced so fast!

Jessica Salyer said...

Glad to hear you got a new Kindle!

Misha Gericke said...

Holy smokes that is impressive. Makes me feel much better about getting a Kindle next year.

^_^

Hope you have a wonderful 2012!

Michael Offutt, Visitor from the Future said...

I present to you sir...

http://georgerrmartin.com/if-sample.html

The first chapter of THE WINDS OF WINTER...!

Nancy Thompson said...

I'd like to say you had the quintessential Pacific Northwest experience, but, although Amazon is my next door neighbor, you likely spoke to someone in India. And I haven't met very many pleasant people since moving to Seattle. Must be the weather. It sucks and makes people very grumpy. But I digress from my came here in the first place...

Happy New Year, Matthew!!

Joanne Fritz said...

Matt, I'm glad for your sake that you had a positive customer service experience.

I work in an indie bookstore, so of course I'm not going to praise Amazon for anything! I don't own a Kindle and intend to never own a Kindle. A paperback book is cheap and won't break! You don't need to call customer service about it.

Other e-readers will support more than one kind of e-book. But not Kindle. Oh no! You have to buy your e-books from Amazon and no one else.

Amazon is taking over the world and there's absolutely nothing I can do about it. Except refuse to support them. It's useless, but I do it anyway.

They really irritated a lot of bookstores on Dec 10th with that slimy price-check app! Using us as their showroom, but encouraging their customers not to buy anything from the bricks-and-mortar store they're browsing in! Sheesh! If people don't support their local bookstore, there won't BE any local bookstores! What a shame.

Medeia Sharif said...

Last year my Kindle broke and I was amazed at Amazon's prompt service, both on the phone and with the shipment of a free replacement. That made me one happy customer.

Happy New Year!

alexia said...

Awesome! It's so rare to get fantastic customer service these days... I'm used to that sick feeling of dread you get in your stomach when you know you're probably going to get screwed over, or have to raise a big fuss in order to not get screwed over. So, huzzah!

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

Yay Amazon! One of the reasons I bought my husband a Kindle for Christmas, instead of the Canadian Kobo, is that I did a search for customer service and Kobo absolutely SUCKED. I'm thrilled to hear you were treated well by Amazon.

One of the worst companies I've dealt with is Bell Canada. They make Kobo look like amateurs in the field of Totally Obnoxious.

Happy Kindling New Year!

Tonja said...

I've been doing my holiday (and other) shopping online for a few years. I always check prices everywhere before buying things. This is the first year that Amazon prices were higher than prices in stores - on half the items I purchased.

Tonja said...

BTW, I found you from Alex's post. Good luck on getting to 1000. I follow.

TerryLynnJohnson said...

nice! I have a KOBO - the Canadian version. I'd like to think that's what would happen if mine broke. Actually, I'm having a time out with mine right now because I purchased 17 books over the Christmas holidays.
Love your blog! (Alex helped me discover it)
New follower.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

You Lucky Plonker!

Happy Noo Year!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I have always been impressed by Amazon's customer service. One other friend had his Kindle replaced THREE times for free. That was impressive.

I checked and Blogger knocked me off your Follower's List, so I re-upped. You might see if Blogger knocked you off of mine.

Isn't Alex great for focusing on you, me, Jesse, and Nicole? May your New Year be all you want it to be, Roland

Carolyn Abiad said...

I hate to love Amazon, but what can a girl do? More bells and whistles for the buck means more books for me to read. I still buy my fair share from indie stores when I can.

Mina Burrows said...

Having a positive customer service experience is practically nonexistent these days. The fact that you had one is pretty amazing. I think some of the worst offenders are banks and cell phone companies – at least that’s my experience. :)

Happy New Year. New follower too. Best of luck reaching 1000!

Will said...

I had a member of the Best Buy staff help me load a TV into my car. The remarkable part was that his shift had already ended, and he was going home from an 11 hour shift that had started at midnight of Boxing Day. I made sure that a manager heard about him.

Trisha said...

I don't have any nightmares, I seem to have good luck there. But I've had some great customer service over the years (some ordinary service too). I remember one time I had called the bank to just make some inquiry, and the guy who helped me basically revolutionised my banking life within the space of 15 minutes. I got off the phone feeling rather bedazzled. haha

Tessa Conte said...

Yay on the quick kindle replacement! Mine died on me just before christmas, but has now inexplicably revived (thankfully before I bothered to get a new one). I'm taking this as a good omen for next year...

Brinda said...

My husband's Kindle screen went wonkers after four months. The Amazon rep was unbelievably nice and sent a replacement out after a very short conversation. She also offered to combine our accounts to maximize sharing books when she noticed that we were separate. That was the best customer service I've had in a long time.

Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

That is truly amazing in this day and age. So glad they took care of it and didn't try to make you feel like a criminal or an idiot.

Amity said...

Thank goodness I am no kindle fan!

I am a no-techie gal!

Hi, following you now thru Alex' recommendation!