Amazon DID Deliver in an Extraordinary Way

A few days ago I wrote that Amazon did not deliver. I wrote that their reason for failing to deliver an order was incomprehensible to me. What I meant is that I could not connect the dots between what they said and my own experience and observations.

This is an update and a public note of appreciation to Amazon customer service. Please read it and think about how you communicate.

I wrote an email to the Vice President of Logistics listing the sequence of actions and communications regarding my order. I was not angry, just deeply puzzled.

The question I asked was how could “severe weather and fog in Baltimore” prevent them from delivering my order to where I live, only 50 miles away? It was a typically mild fall winter here; all major highways were open; no power outages, etc.

Mr. Collins wrote back to thank me for contacting him, and to share the devastating news that a tornado popped up out of nowhere, hitting their distribution facility outside of Baltimore, and worse, causing two deaths. They made the quick decision to alert all customers waiting for deliveries and to issue refunds.

I replied that I only wish their communication was more specific and understandable.

The following day I received this perfect response from Amazon’s Executive Customer Relations: “Your feedback on the generality of the email has been heard, and I thank you for it. We can learn from this situation and from your feedback.”

Two lessons I’ve learned from this experience are:

  1. Consider how what you say is interpreted by the receivers. They said “severe weather and fog.” Simple, straightforward language, yet not understandable in any area other than the very specific location of the distribution facility.
  2. Respond quickly, appreciatively and with more details, when your customers communicate with you. You will not only salvage a relationship, you can strengthen it with your response. I have more respect for Amazon after this experience, not less.

What innovation or improvement are you thinking about? Why not think about innovating and improving your response to customer feedback before you do anything else? You’ll create many more Enthusiastic Fans and Best Buyers.

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