Saturday, July 23, 2016

Experiencing Amazon's A+ customer service

Online shopping is convenient when things work your way but occasionally, slip ups do happen. This is the second time that I have had problems with my online order. The first time was when I bought the Surface Pro 4 through Lazada which is the largest online store in Southeast Asia. You can read all about my experience from that here. My story today revolves around the late delivery of my Amazon Prime order.

Contacting customer service has never been a good experience for me, mostly because talking to these company representatives are often a cumbersome experience because I always end the call with no useful information. To be honest, when I decided to call Amazon's customer service, I was expecting it to be a good experience since they are the parent company of Zappos which is an online shoe store based in America that is well known for their top notch customer service.

After contacting them, I can tell you that this is by far the best customer service I have come across.

Check out the video below about the story of Zappos' customer service.



Backstory

Here is a short story to get you up to speed as to why I needed to contact Amazon's customer service. It starts with my purchase of a selfie stick sold by a third party company but fulfilled by Amazon. Since I had Amazon Prime, I opted for the 2 day delivery option and on the day my order was scheduled to arrive, I noticed that the Amazon packaged tracking site noted that my order was delayed.

My initial thought about the delay cause was because Amazon or UPS wanted to align the selfie stick with the delivery of my other purchase from the same order. But after my other purchase arrived the next day, I was a little skeptical about what happened to my selfie stick. Mind you that the tracking page did not offer any tracking information, it just states that I need to wait a little longer than expected for my package to arrive.

Contacting customer service

That uncertainty of Amazon's 'delayed' term prompted me to search for answers online. I ended up with a quora answer about chasing after Amazon if they fail to fulfill an Amazon Prime order. And that is what I decided to do, while the source did recommend to call Amazon's hotline for the best results, I opted for a live chat with an Amazon representative because at that time it was about 2am and I didn't feel like talking on the phone.

There's three ways you can contact Amazon's customer service

I was connected to the chat almost instantaneously after clicking the button for a live chat and the rep on the other side was able to contextually know which product I was referring to. I Wasn't required to look up for the order number so extra brownie points for that. The chat lasted about 10 minutes and the first suggestion that the rep gave me was to outright refund the order and re-order once again where Amazon will cover the 1-day shipping cost.

Doing that sounded like a hassle and the rep came back to me with a status from UPS and assured that my shipment will arrive on the next day and at the end, I came to the conclusion that this was just a regular delay by the US Postal Service.

Just before closing the chat, I went ahead and asked for a compensation and what I got was a 1 month Prime membership. Honestly, that extension didn't feel like much to me because I am still using the 6-month long Amazon Prime student trial that'll end in August. And given that a year of Amazon Prime Student costs $49, a 1 month extension is worth about $4. I would have liked if they reimbursed me with a $5 gift card but an extra month of Amazon Prime is also good.
After that was settled, I felt confident that the package will arrive the next day. But after waiting till 4pm and checking the Amazon package tracker a couple of times, I decided to contact customer service yet again. I opted to chat once again mainly because this way I will get a conversation transcript emailed to me.

The chat transcript proved to be useful for my attempt to defend myself about the conversation I had with the first Amazon rep the day before. The second chat ended up way better because I actually got a definite answer as to why the order was delayed in the first place. Apparently, the postal service found that the package was damaged during transit and feared that the product might be broken.
The rep told me that the best thing that I can do right now is to initiate a refund for the product and re-buy it once again. I was given the option to refund through my card or through an Amazon gift card and I chose the latter because It would be much quicker. To my surprise, the refund was processed and credited back to my account in less than two hours.

As for the refund itself, I didn't need to do anything at all, the Amazon rep handled it for me and all I had to do was to wait a couple of minutes. After that, I once again requested to be compensated for the late delivery and this time around, I was awarded a $5 Amazon courtesy credit that could only be used for products sold and fulfilled by Amazon.

Two boxes?

click to enlarge
Eventually, I bought another selfie stick of the same type for $1.50 less. After two days as I was expecting to receive the selfie stick, I was a little surprise when the UPS guy handed me two packages. My first instinct was that the extra package is the delayed selfie stick and I was right.

The one which was delayed finally arrived and I can see why the UPS thought the product was damaged. The selfie stick was packaged very loosely. It was basically just wrapped in some paper.

Regarding the extra selfie stick, I contacted the Amazon once again and they confirmed to me that they merely refunded the value of that order and the selfie stick was mine to keep. Well, I certainly did not need two selfie sticks so I decided to return the one that I bought. And this leads me to another experience which I will be writing about soon.

But overall, I have to say. Amazon's customer service has been a good experience and it does make me a little bit more confident when buying something on Amazon. At the end of the day, the nearly 5 day delay earned me $10 in monetary value and also a selfie stick. I will definitely not hesitate to contact Amazon's customer service in the future to solve problems with my orders.


Insider Talk

This article was supposedly just a one part affair but I did decide to split it up into another part because there was quite a bit to talk about returning a product. Expect to see that article go live either next week or the week after that. This week's article was supposed to be about the dbrand concrete review but I am still waiting replies from dbrand about the issues I have with my skin.