Friday, December 08, 2006

Deal, Or No Deal?

My momma always told me, “If’n ya cain’t say nuthin’ nice ‘bout someone, don’t be sayin’ nuthin’ atall.” Well, Momma, I’m sorry but I just have to speak up about this one.

As a marketer, I am quick to notice an exceptional ad or great customer service or, on the other side, an ineffective commercial or sales strategy. So, it should come as no surprise that I might write about a poor customer service experience I recently had. The surprisin’ thing to me is the offendin’ party – Perhaps you’ve heard of them? The largest bookseller in the world and one of the Internet’s most powerful and successful companies.

One would think that to be so successful, they would offer the epitome of great service. Well, according to my sources, they started out that way. Then, somebody got too big fer their britches and decided to start makin’ decisions that only considered the immediate bottom line – anythin’ to save a dollar and look more brilliant to the thousands of shareholders.

Me and the missus was a’shoppin fer a new printer (Ok, she was doin’ most of the shoppin but I was foldin clothes and followin’ along.) Anyways, she finds this great deal on a printer we had already decided to purchase and low and behold, it was from To top it off, there’s a deal sayin’ if we get the new VISA, we can get an additional $30 credit. Now, anytime someone waves that kind of cash in front of Mammy, they better let go right quick else she’ll tear their arm out of the socket from her jerkin’ it away fast as lighnin’. Her fingers fairly scorched the mouse button she was a’clickin’ so swiftly.

Once all the clickin’ was done, it appeared that somethin’ was just not right. While we had been approved for the new card, it wasn’t offered as a possible method of payment. So, we rang up Customer Service and were promptly put on hold for 40 minutes. It was late, nerves were frazzled, we thought it better to hang up and try again in the mornin’.

Mammy got things going early to avoid the rush. The problem was, the person on the other line was a’talkin’ with such a heavy accent, clear communication was purt near impossible. Talk to Amazon, talk to the credit card company, talk to Amazon – nothin’ was workin’. I was thinking we should have made a video conference call with subtitles so everybody could understand one another. Finally canceled the card and just placed the order with a card we already had.

I wrote Amazon an e-mail to express my displeasure about the long wait time and the foreign voice on the other end of the line and received the followin’ response:

“I'm sorry to hear that you had an unsatisfactory experience when you called us previously. Since our customers come from all over the world, it's helpful for us to have customer service centers in a variety of time zones throughout the world--so that someone is always available when a customer needs help. currently has customer service centers in North America, Ireland, Germany, India, the Philippines, and Japan. In the United States specifically, we operate customer service centers in North Dakota, West Virginia, and Washington state. We also have co-
sourcing arrangements with companies located in North America, India, and the Philippines.”
No real answer to either of our concerns. If they have customer service centers in the US, then why did we get a very foreign voice each time we called? All to save a buck today at the expense of future sales. Tsk tsk. They may have made a deal this time but next time, for me, it’s No Deal.