Amazon lost one of its most loyal customers yesterday – ME.
I used to be a walking billboard for Amazon. I felt like they cared about me and were delivering me good services. I ignored those who told me that I could buy products cheaper in other places. I felt special.
I know of at least a dozen people who bought their Kindle and countless others who bought books based on my recommendations. Knowing that customers who become customers through word of mouth can be twice as valuable as customers that come in through advertising, that must be worth something. Plus, I bought 850 items from them over the years – that’s a heck of a lot of stuff…especially when considering that many of those items are not books, but 4 digit purchases like high end cameras, high end lenses, and barbecues.
But I will now donate my new Kindle, buy the iPad, and test other book delivery services.
Because they told me I was not special after all…
My Kindle (the second one I bought) broke last Friday. I called Saturday and was promised a new one by Tuesday. Tuesday, no Kindle. Wednesday, no Kindle. Wednesday I call again. This time their automatic callback system calls me and puts me in a 10 minute queue. The chipper customer service rep assured me that this feature was working properly – as there is no way for the system to know how many people are in the queue. Duh, how dare I expect technology-savvy Amazon to write software that would check the length of the waiting line before calling me…
She proceeds by telling me that there is no record of my call on Saturday, and that she will reenter an order for a replacement Kindle that will get to me on Friday…no 1 day shipping this time, two days. She also apologized for the inconvenience and offered me a $5 discount on future purchases to make up for it. I choked, asked her whether she really said $5, and when she confirmed I told her that she could keep the generous offer.
So that is the value that Amazon puts on me as a customer: $5.
And I thought I was special.
I have been staking my social reputation for more than a decade on recommending them, I have been sending them thousands of dollars for stuff that I did not always need…$5.
You see, this is what went wrong here, and many companies make that mistake. I wasn’t looking for any compensation. I was just looking for a good old apology. If they wanted to give me something, they could have done it through a gift – like upgrading my 3g so it works in Europe, or sending me a few free books based on my recommendations. I would have been blown away and would have continued to act as an unpaid advertorial for the company. But the minute they put a monetary value on me I switched in a totally different mode. So that is what they think I am worth…$5.
You do not need to pay people to make up for mistakes and you do not need to pay them when they help you…mixing the two is bad business.