Hatching Free Range Ideas

A customer relationship requires trust

In customers on November 3, 2011 at 2:18 pm

I had an experience yesterday that doesn’t come along that often. However, I find that Amazon and Costco consistently apply this logic. I wonder if it has anything to do with paying to be a customer/member.

Here’s the story:

I sent a birthday present from Amazon to a friend. UPS said they left it on her doorstep, however it wasn’t HER doorstep at all. It was someone else’s doorstep. UPS  defines customer service as speed. It also helps them with their bottom line of their drivers deliver as quickly as possible. Our UPS driver tosses our boxes out at the top of our driveway. I wonder if another bottom line value is to protect the trucks from the wear and tear of bumpy roads, although when I see UPS drivers drive, I think about other ways their trucks could be protected too.

I couldn’t find any way to tell UPS that they had delivered the package to the wrong location. All you can do is spend money with them in their totally automated world. You can’t ask them to correct an error, at least not any way that I could find. You need a local UPS number and those aren’t readily available. I don’t feel like a UPS customer; I feel like a UPS victim.

So, I contact Amazon through their automated system, which now has a chat function so you can actually speak to a person. That’s a big plus, since for many years all they had was an automated response. Depending on whether your problem was a common one or not, it worked. If you experienced anything slightly out of the norm, you got back totally weird messages.

On the Amazon site, I selected the lost package option and got a response saying someone would contact me within 12 hours to resolve. !2 hours, not 24. Nice.

Within the hour I got two messages, one that my friend had located the package on a distant neighbor’s doorstep and snagged it. The second was  a message that Amazon had shipped a new package at no charge to me. I went to cancel the order immediately however it was already on its way out of their warehouse and couldn’t be cancelled. The next option was that the receiver could refuse the package. That will only work if UPS delivers the package to the correct address.

I think we got it straightened out because the birthday girl found the local UPS number and called them and told her story. We’ll see.

The BIG point here is that Amazon trusted my word as a customer. That means a lot to me. I trust them to get orders to me (or anyone else I choose) in 2 days. They trust me to be truthful about our relationship. Because of the trust we have a relationship. Because we have a relationship, I will do business with Amazon even when I find another supplier with an equivalent product.

When I have an issue with anything that I buy from Costco, I happily return it and they honor the return.

For both of these retailers, I pay to be a customer member. How does that change things? I think the trust keeps me paying for membership. But it’s a funny idea to pay for trust.

Had anything like this happen to you?

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  1. I had nearly the same experience, except I didn’t blame UPS. It caused some confusion on my end to be dealing with two companies (Amazon and UPS) – but I was also struck by the trust Amazon showed (I’m sure it’s a cost-effective decision for them as well).

    The goodwill certainly keeps me using Amazon.

  2. What a great story. I will use it in all my customer workshops from this day forward.

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