I like using Amazon, most of the time. But their decision to erect barriers for communication I find extremely annoying. Any time anything goes wrong you might as well be dealing with some organization in the middle of nowhere without phones, any internet connection or even physical mail. I ordered a printer from them a couple weeks ago. Today I get an email that “the following item from your order is not currently available for purchase. This item has been canceled from your order. If your credit card was charged, a refund has been processed.”
First, it is very lousy service to sell someone something and then figure out you don’t have it to sell a few weeks later. Second, if you find you have done such a lame thing – buy it from someone else and deliver it as promised. Third, don’t make it nearly impossible for the customer you just wronged to contact you. This is the equivalent of providing lousy service and then closing the door in someones face refusing to deal with your failure.
And if you really want your business to take those customer unfriendly actions: just sell stuff you don’t have, then tell people a couple weeks later you are not going to sell it to them after all and then tell them if you charged them (you can’t even bother to see if you did? pretty lame) then you will give them their money back it still makes sense to give them the chance to buy another printer from you instead of just closing the door.
Granted some people are going to decide they don’t want to deal with such bad service and chose to deal with a more customer focused company but some will actually still give you another chance – make it easy for them to buy another printer. For example write them instead of what I received something like: sorry for our bad service, and to show we really mean that (we are not just sending you meaningless drivel our consultant dreamed up to say we care when our actions say we don’t) we will discount a replacement printer you buy in the next two weeks by $50. Here are 5 similar printers. Follow the links to purchase one of these printers (or view many others on our site) and we will also express mail the printer selected at no additional cost.
The sad thing is that there are not many alternatives to Amazon that actually provide good service. Though Crutchfield is one – for electronics.