FUNT: Come on, Amazon, make service a major concern | National columns


Here’s what Amazon emailed me after a relatively minor issue turned into a giant puzzle: “Your feedback helps us build the most customer-centric business in the world. “

That’s one hell of a line, and until now I thought it was true.

I have written articles praising your business for its top notch customer service when, for many businesses, it is a lost art. Have you ever tried to reach a human being on Facebook? I did this after my account was stolen by Vietnamese hackers, and it took two months to get it back. There’s just no way to talk to anyone on Facebook and frankly I think they prefer that.

Amazon, on the other hand, is one of the few mega-companies that actually seems to care. Yes, I would like you to pay your warehouse workers a little more, but as I wrote in the height of the pandemic, Amazon’s fast and efficient deliveries really saved us. My job is to write about the things I encounter – good and bad, big and small – not so much for my own satisfaction but to alert readers and, at times, to bring about change.

So here’s what happened. For my son’s fiancee, Sally, I ordered an Echo Dot smart speaker and a one-year Amazon Prime membership which as you know includes music that she can access with the Dot.

Alas, I forgot that Danny and Sally already have Prime, and the last thing they need is another $ 128 membership. I tried to cancel online but couldn’t. I called customer service and spoke with “Edi” and “Christine” and “Suzanne” and “Amber” and several managers, who were told each time, “We cannot cancel or refund a Prime gift subscription ”.

Wait what? Danny and I each have Prime memberships, we don’t need a third. The gift won’t even be “delivered” by email from Amazon until Sally’s birthday in three days. All you have to do is cancel it and reverse the charge to my credit card, after which I’ll be happy to order something else.

The more I asked your otherwise nice people to explain why this rocket science couldn’t be accomplished, the more they insisted, “We just can’t do it.” “

As you know, Mr. Bezos, Amazon is picking up all kinds of stuff, no questions asked, as part of this customer-centric business. In this case, we are not talking about a physical item, like a tennis racket, nor are we dealing with a third party vendor. This is just a digital code from your own business! You “can’t” cancel this three days in advance?

Last year I wrote in the Wall Street Journal: “Before the pandemic, I would have made a plan on Saturday morning to drive to Griggs Nursery to buy tomato plants and a variety of herbs such as basil. , sage and parsley. The other day they arrived, no worse for wear, in an Amazon box. Shipping was free, as was my bike seat cover and the 8.7-ounce bottle of Shout Advanced Ultra Concentrated Gel Set-In Stain Brush Laundry Stain Remover.

I praised your company for quick and efficient service during sheltering, when we needed it most. (Okay, I paled when I found out that three rolls of toilet paper cost $ 38, but that was quickly fixed.)

You are the nation’s largest online retailer, with nearly $ 386 billion in sales last year. It’s embarrassing for those of us who support Amazon to find you mean and closed-minded.

I’m tempted to shut down by threatening to take my e-business elsewhere, but we both know I won’t stop using Amazon. (Plus you sell my new book, “Self-Amused.”)

Just fix that for me and the millions of other customers who really want to believe that Amazon is customer-centric, not self-centered.

Yours in responsible distribution,

Copyright 2021 Peter Funt distributed by the Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

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