Thursday, December 07, 2006

Guest Blogger Gareth: Customer Service Done Right and Wrong

My friend Gareth was kind enough to share this story with me, and allow me to post it here. It goes along with my other stories about customer service.

For my wedding anniversary, my wife ordered me a Bosch 12" Single Bevel Composite Miter Saw, per my request. Like many things on the web, Amazon had the best price going (about $250) along with a shockingly low $6 shipping charge for this wonderful 55 lb item. It took a few weeks for my new toy to get to me, but eventually it did on Wednesday. When I arrived home after work, I saw no sign of a big box and assumed it hadn't been delivered yet. Au contraire, as UPS had apparently dropped it off on my front porch at 1:18pm according to their package tracker. Sure enough, a call to UPS confirmed this and subsequent visits to the neighbors did nothing to help me find my package. While on the phone, UPS indicated that I could not file a claim myself, but would have to do so via the shipper (Amazon); swing and a miss. A visit to the Amazon website for the customer service number led me to handy feature which allows you to input your phone number and have Amazon call you back IMMEDIATELY. Upon picking up the phone, I waited all of about 30 seconds before being connected to a real person; not bad for 4:30pm at this time of year. After relaying the story of my lost package, my British-accented friend quickly arranged for a free replacement to be shipped out to me with delivery scheduled for two days later!

A few hours later, the doorbell rings. My friendly UPS driver has just dropped off a large box with "Bosch" written on the side. When questioned as to why the box was reported delivered at 1:18pm, he indicated that he had scanned the bar code, but forgot to take it out of the truck until now. Laughably, he then asked if I had called it in to the UPS station.

Another call to Amazon using their online caller dowitchey, and at about 7:30pm it takes all of about 45 seconds to reach an real person. After chuckling at my story, he politely asked me to hold while he attempted to cancel delivery of my replacement toy. Shockingly enough, he was too late and the saw was on its way. I was asked to simply refuse delivery and have it sent back to them, and then thanked for my honesty.

So on one side, UPS not only gave me the runaround by unexpectedly delivering my package six hours after they said they had, but also required me to make a call to another company before they would provide any assistance. On the other side, Amazon replaced my $250 item without question, had it on its way inside of three hours, and had enough customer service staff to keep its customers from having to wait on hold forever during the holiday shopping season. Not to mention, I didn't have to wander through some sort of touch-tone maze just to talk to someone. Way to go Amazon!

Thanks, Gareth, for the contribution! -Ben


  1. Anonymous6:43 AM

    Amazon seems to be doing a good job. Well I was wondering if you want to share any other such stories, with readers at our new blog? We are also looking for fellow customers to join our blog. If you are interested send me an e-mail.

    Have Fune!

  2. Thanks!

    You are welcome to re-print any of the stories you find on my blog (with attribution and a link, of course) on your blog.

    Hopefully, we as consumers can show the big guys that we are paying attention and that service matters!

    Keep up the good fight!