A Letter To Amazon From A Once-Loyal Customer

Amazon Kindle Fire reading book

[credit provider=”Steve Kovach, Business Insider”]

I have always been a huge fan of Amazon.Even in the dot com frenzy of the nineties, when companies like Boo.com, pets.com, Webvan and numerous others were sucking in millions of dollars from the vulture capitalists of Page Mill Rd, who in their wisdom had decided bricks & mortar retailers were destined to petrify in the mall dumpsters of the future.

Amazon, because it not only replaced the traditional bricks & mortar bookstores, it did it with a vast inventory, great pricing… And SUPERB service. That’s why I am pissed… Truly pissed with Amazon… Because of the pathetic state of their current service.                    

I recently received on my Kindle, a message saying that because I am such a valued customer, and was in fact, one of the very first purchasers of the device, they would value any feedback on my experiences. I was delighted to oblige. So, here is what I emailed back…

As an early adopter of the Kindle, you asked for my feedback.

That’s simple… I am a raging Kindle Freak.

Let me explain. I have been in the business of advertising for more than 40 years, working with major agencies in the US, Europe and Australia. I now write books on the subject (all of which are on Kindle!) I write columns and a blog. And I also speak at various marketing conferences. When the subject of CRM (Customer Relationship Marketing) comes up, I always tell this story.

My current Kindle is titled “George’s 2nd Kindle. That’s because I had only had my first Kindle a week or so when I dropped it and stood on it. This was early in the morning, so I had not even thought about my first drink! Obviously, I broke the screen. So, I called Amazon and explained. The very helpful person on the other end of the line said “Not to worry, we will send you a new one today. When you get it, put the broken one in the postage paid package and send it back.” I thanked them and asked how much this would cost me. “Nothing,” she replied.

I was absolutely stunned. Based on prior experiences with eRetailers, this was Customer Service, Par Excellence. That’s when I became an Amazon customer for life.

Apart from reading most of my books on the Kindle, I now also publish my own books on Kindle. I sell more, and I make more by publishing everything through Amazon, using both BookSurge and Kindle. I could not be happier. As part of my somewhat checkered past, I was involved in the advertising for many of the startup companies that came, and very quickly went, in the dot com implosion of the late nineties. At the time, I said that there were only two that would survive. eBay and Amazon. That’s why I believe Jeff Bezos is a genius.

Sincerely/George Parker

Imagine my surprise when I received a form letter response telling me that Amazon was looking into my PROBLEM, and if it wasn’t resolved, would I call an 800 number.

So, I called the number and spoke to someone who was obviously several thousands of miles away, and had no idea what I was talking about. After asking to be transferred to her supervisor, I spoke to a gentleman who also obviously had no idea what I was talking about either. He did however; suggest I ignore the email concerning my PROBLEM.

When I asked about perhaps getting Amazon’s feedback to my feedback, he said I should wait to hear from them, as they have an entire division devoted to this procedure.

That was 10 days ago. I haven’t heard a word since.

In the meantime, I have emailed every possible permutation of a Jeff Bezos email address at Amazon.com… All have been bounced back. Funny thing is, I have actually traded emails with Bill Gates in the past.

Apparently, the guy was obsessive about answering legitimate emails. Probably this is not possible anymore since he has moved away from a day to day involvement in the company. So, to say I am disappointed with my recent Amazon experience would be an understatement. Which is a pity, when you consider that the enthusiasm I have not only held, but also shamelessly trumpeted about over so many years has dissipated in a few weeks because of a single bad experience.

Even worse, this was an experience that occurred because of my follow through in answer to a request of Amazon’s. This leaves me wondering if, to paraphrase Jay Chiat’s inviolable statement in the long lost glory days of Chiat/Day… “I can’t wait to see how big we get before we turn to shit!”

Is this starting to happen to Amazon?