Amazon Customer Service – Lessons to Learn

I was excited to be headed to North Carolina this weekend for several reasons. One was that I would get to use my new sleek Kindle e-reader instead of carrying a book around the airport. My plans were foiled when my Kindle froze soon after I passed through airport security.

It would not come out of sleep mode. And, for the life of me I could not figure out how to restart it. After some fiddling, it started to reboot, over and over again.

I called my tech support (aka husband) and he found this interesting blog post:

Apparently my Amazon cover was causing my Amazon Kindle to crash. I removed the Kindle from the cover and all was mostly well.

Today I called Amazon to find out how to return the cover. My first stop was their Kindle community forum. I found lots of people talking about the freezing issue, but no one from Amazon customer service seemed to be offering any solutions.

Next, I tried an online chat with customer service. Bad choice. The rep needed more information from me than he had to offer me. I was offered a return label and was told I might get the postage cost refunded if the item was defective.  Sigh.

So I moved on to phone support. Score!

The first rep transferred me to a Kindle specialist. He 1) immediately gave me a credit so I could purchase the lighted version of the cover which DOES work, 2) sent me a new Kindle in next day mail and 3) sent me a postage-paid label to return the old Kindle.

I took a bit, but I found real customer service at Amazon. Key for me were:

  • Options. I could get service by forum, email, chat or phone
  • A real person to connect to (and someone whose speech I could understand)
  • Policies that allowed the rep to actually do something to resolve my issue

Slick websites and messaging are great. But when it comes to keeping customers, nothing beats actual customer service.

Thanks, Amazon, for giving online communicators a model to follow.