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Thursday, June 02, 2011

How to do customer service - by Amazon

There was an article this week about the chap who's taken over as MD at ailing UK bookstore Waterstones. He was confident that reinvigorating the shops would send shock waves reverberating across Amazon. His assessment was that we're not brand loyal to Amazon.

I think his view is a little naive and misguided. Amazon have indeed built brand loyalty and in the good old-fashioned way, by being excellent at what they do and making it easy to do business with them.

I was astonished by their superb Kindle customer service this week.

A couple of weeks ago I bought a new Kindle because my original model, the DX, looks a bit big and old-fashioned now (and doesn't fit in a handbag). Unfortunately it stopped working, so on Monday - note, a bank holiday - I contacted Amazon UK, or rather, they rang me. You enter your phone number on the website and ask for a call back. They rang immediately, and had all my details to hand. And, joy, it was a British call centre. A small thing to ask for, but it makes all the difference.

I was promised a replacement Kindle the next day and sent an email describing how to return the defective one. This included a link to DHL, so that I could arrange for them to collect it at a time convenient to me   and the pre-paid label to use.

The new Kindle arrived as promised the next day - and how many companies would send out a new gadget to replace an old one they haven't had back yet? They give you 30 days to return it and if you haven't, your credit card gets charged again.

DHL collected the defective one today, as arranged.

Amazing service. What could be easier?

I was soon up-and-running with the replacement because all the books I have bought (99!) are easily transferred between my Kindles and other devices.

So to get back to my opening paragraph, I will still pop into Waterstones occasionally. But I'll be "Waterstoning"  (a new verb) - ie, making notes of books that look interesting and then buying them from Amazon. I'm told Waterstones will launch their own e-reader but they have a very steep hill to climb to better either the Kindle or Amazon's customer service and number of e-books.

2 comments:

Anne @ The Frump Factor said...

It's hard to dislike people who do business so well. I know one or two folks who really WANTED to hate Amazon, because of the whole "threat to small independent booksellers" thing. But they just couldn't because Amazon does such a good job. It's hard to argue with that.....

whatshappeningatmyhouse said...

AND Waterstone's are considerably more expensive than Amazon, which in the current climate is another consideration.

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