About a month ago, I purchased a book via an Amazon Marketplace seller. Amazon Marketplace sellers are displayed along with Amazon’s search results when you search for a product. Often these sellers are home-based businesses and often they provide better value than Amazon. Not this time.
30 days went by, and no book. This was not some hard-to-get book, rather it’s a book currently in print. I contacted the seller using the usual means; the contact Email address that was included with their seller account on the Amazon Marketplace listing and explained that I had not received my book. A day later, I got an automated reply that said Dear Customer – For all your customer service questions. Please visit us at [link to website] without addressing or acknowledging my problem.
I went to the link and was forced to fill out a form which included my name, email, physical address, and to create a login with password. I then had to login and fill out another form to again restate my problem.
I suppose there is an automated CRM system in place here that is of some value to the merchant. But there are at least two problems with this approach to customer service. For one, I (the customer) had to duplicate my work (had to state the problem twice). Second, it was time consuming and cumbersome to go through their registration and customer support process just to let them know I have not received their book. (By the way, this merchant does not provide phone support). Time is money and I spent more than the purchase price of that book.
A frustrated customer with a problem should not be made to jump through hoops to communicate their problem. This approach serves only to alienate the customer (obviously, I will never use this seller again). In a market as competitive as books, the lifetime value of a customer should be worth far more than the first sale. So why make life so short?