I’ve been a very loyal Amazon customer for many, many years. I first check the Amazon.com site for practically anything I purchase, and have been a happy Prime member since the advent of the program. In addition, the company’s first VP of Customer Service Bill Price, who wrote the excellent book The Best Service is No Service, is a friend with whom I’ve shared many conference podiums over the years.
So it’s been very noticeable that I’ve had 2 extremely disappointing service experiences within the last 30 days. One as a seller, one as a buyer – in both cases Amazon’s formerly excellent customer service agents have been unresponsive, unhelpful and (in the most recent case) stridently incorrect.
Jeff Bezos has always been keenly aware that the reason so many customers – like me and millions of others – have become and remained so loyal is customer service. In a brutally competitive and low-margin business like retail, there may be no other company for which customer service is more important.
I know from much experience that customer service is hard – and scaling it across an operation the size of Amazon is very very hard. But while the loyal customer in me wants to cut them a break, ultimately that’s not my problem – it’s theirs. And the majority of their customers, who’ve spent a lot less time in contact centers than I have, won’t care or cut them a break at all.
Perhaps these 2 experiences were outliers, and I’m anxious to hear what others have experienced. But if Amazon’s service truly is slipping, it is a change – and a very bad one.