Every five or six years, I replace my baking sheets. You know, those shallow aluminum pans that you can’t quite get sparkling clean, and over time they get seriously gross and gunky from baking cookies and roasting every vegetable known to man.

On Tuesday of this week, I decided it was time. I went online to Amazon, and ordered a few half sheets—the workhorse of my kitchen—and a couple of giant sheet pans, just because.

On Wednesday, SURPRISE! The new pans arrived. Man, AmazonPrime just rocks. I opened the big box and noticed that some of the pans had dings. I know they’ll eventually wind up with dings because I use the pans for absolutely everything, but they didn’t need to start life in my kitchen that way.

On Thursday, I logged into my Amazon account to see how to go about getting replacements. It was as easy as clicking the damaged items on my order page and selecting a reason for return from the drop-down menu (“The shipping box or envelope isn’t damaged but the item is damaged”). Instantly, I received an apology email with links to a return receipt and a prepaid shipping label. Amazon said they’d send the new pans out immediately, and that I had 30 days to return the damaged ones. Later in the day, I tossed the dinged pans into the original shipping box, stuck on the shipping label and dropped the box at the UPS store down the road.

photo 2
Yay! Shiny new pans

On Friday morning, the new pans landed on my doorstep. In perfect condition. No hassle. No endless time on the phone in a stupid queue listening to Slim Whitman sing “Una Paloma Blanca” over and over. No insincere claim that my business is very important to them so please stay on the line. No need to loudly demand that some useless customer service rep reading from a script over in Bangalore get an almost-as-useless supervisor on the line. Just solid, shiny baking pans. Delivered earlier than I expected or needed them. In other words, an excellent customer experience.

So why am I surprised and downright infuriated when—more often than not— I receive deplorable customer service? Because I know that it’s possible to do it like Amazon does! They’ve helped set my expectations artificially high. I’m genuinely pissed to be going on five weeks with a broken washing machine because Electrolux customer service just plain SUCKS. I tweeted at them last week to get someone to help, and after the first contact they had asking for the model and serial number a week ago, they haven’t gotten back to me. GRRRRRR…it’s just not right!

But for today, a giant thank you to companies like Amazon and Zappo’s and Saks and 1800Contacts and Horchow who strive to treat their customers right every single time. No hassles, no delays. It’s a pleasure doing business with these kinds of companies. Their helpful attitudes and efficient efforts solidify my loyalty and guarantee my repeat business.


2 Responses to “Why Can’t Every Company Be Like Amazon?”

  1. Hugh says:

    I was amazed to learn from the BusinessWeek article on Jeff Bezos that his email (jeff@amazon.com) is public and that complaints to that address receive immediate attention. He forwards them to the appropriate manager with a one character message: ? The manager then resolves the problem, puts in place an necessary permanent change, and reports his or her actions to Bezos. Doubtless that is no small factor in their excellent customer service.

Leave a Reply