Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Amazon Gets It

(1:17) I've been an Amazon customer for years starting when they sold only books. Today they sell pretty much anything. It's fascinating to have watched their progress from a fledgling online book distributor in 1994 to the largest online retailer in the world (Source, Netonomy.net) with sales of over $48 billion.

(1:09) Their secret? Keep customer service the number 1 priority. Their mission statement reads, "to be Earth's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices." 

(1:02) Of course, what business would describe themselves as not being "customer-centric?" The difference is that Amazon actually lives it. And from my own experience, they live it to a degree that I have never experienced anywhere else. We can all learn a lot from how they approach customer service.

(0:54) Living onboard can make securing the items we need challenging. Over the years I have come to use Amazon more and more for pretty much everything from dog treats to clothing to electronics to food. Several years ago I joined Amazon Prime. As a Prime member Amazon guarantees to deliver my package within 2 days. While a cruiser's schedule is ever changing, I usually know where I'll be in two days or so. It is common that I have at least one Amazon package waiting for me when I pull into a marina. But what happens when it's not there? Well, that's when the magic happens.

(0:41) This past week I had an order that never arrived at the marina. When I contacted them to find out how to cancel the order and receive a refund, they not only instantly credited my account, they set about figuring out how to get me the items I needed. They helped me reorder and comp'd me overnight shipping charges to have it sent to my next destination.

(0:32) And this was not a one time fluke. Several years ago a different order arrived a day late and they simply sent out another item to our next destination. No need to figure out how to get the first one back. They just did it. In fact, for months we received emails from other concerned boaters who saw a package waiting for us at the first marina.

(0:23) A year ago, I received a cooling mat for our elderly dog that arrived with a leak. Amazon offered to overnight a new one but when they discovered they were out and were unable to find another mat at another reseller, they not only immediately refunded my order amount, they added a $10 credit to my Amazon account for my "inconvenience."

(0:14) The result. I cheerfully pay my $79 annual Amazon Prime fee. I look on Amazon first, always. And I continue to have Amazon boxes waiting for me when I pull into a marina.

(0:08) Your lesson. Put your customer first, always. Do more than they expect, even if you may lose a little in the short run. In the long run you will be rewarded many times over.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.