Electric Razor

It seems that it would be so incredibly easy to “go the extra mile” as a large company. With nearly unlimited resources, a company should do everything it can to rectify a situation when something goes wrong.

9 days ago I bought an electric razor off of Amazon. I have an Amazon Prime membership which means all my orders are two day shipping. So it should have shipped on Monday and been in my hands on Wednesday. The item was lost in transit, but rather than overnight a new one, my only options were to wait and see if it showed up in a few days.. or buy a new one and then return the other one if/when it showed up.

Here’s the feedback I sent to Amazon this morning:

This was a ridiculous inconvenience. It’s been 9 days since I placed my order. I do understand your limitations from an operational standpoint, but as a customer I don’t care. I paid you money and I want the item in my hands, now. That’s the idea of the prime membership.

When you fail to deliver on your part of the process, I don’t care what the reason is, you just need to make it right. Me purchasing the item again and then waiting 7 days for the original purchase to be refunded is an additional inconvenience that further strains the process.

Rather than finding a way to make money off me, you should be more focused on salvaging the relationship and taking the extra step to wow me. Look at my order history and see how much I’ve paid you over the years. Solution = offer the item for free, or heavily discounted. Or some kind of family and friends offer that gives a free download of something I’ll probably never use or care about, but at least demonstrates that you’re trying.

You aren’t the only supplier that sells this product. I could have easily gone down to Target and had it same day. I bought from you because of the convenience factor. So that’s broken. The next step is to fix that.

About 7 years ago I read a book called Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. They have some great examples of how Zappos goes the extra mile for their customers. I decided to test that, so I called their customer service number and was honest about my intentions. At the time, I was working for an online retailer that shipped packages to customers all over the country. I was having a shipping issue where I thought a customer was being dishonest about their shipment. They said the product was damaged, and wanted a replacement. Our procedure at the time was to ask for a photo of the damages, then after seeing the damages we would send a replacement. In hindsight, we should have taken a better approach, but that was our solution at the time. This customer refused to give us a photo, so I was in a bit of a bind.

I called Zappos customer service and described my situation. She told me the way Zappos handles these types of situations is to overnight a replacement, include a return shipping label in the replacement package, then give the customer 30 days to ship the damaged product back or the customer would be charged for the damaged product as well as the replacement.

First off, almost any customer service rep from any other company would have hung up on me. The fact that this person was willing to take the extra time to help someone who wasn’t even a paying customer was a wow moment for me. Furthermore, it illustrates how broken some of the processes of other retailers are. The cost of losing a business relationship over an electric razor is simply not worth it. If you take a negative situation and turn it into an opportunity to delight, you’ve further cemented the relationship for years to come.

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