Amazon: A Leader in Customer Service

I love to read. I get all my books from Amazon. And I have never had a problem until last week.

I ordered a used book from a seller through Amazon. I had intended to give this book to a team member. The book status said, ?Used ? Good Condition,? so I assumed it would have very minimal, if any writing on it. After all, this is not the first time I had purchased used books through Amazon. Most are practically new.


This one however, had writing all over it. The book has a self-test, which was completely written over practically rendering the book useless. Also, the book sent to me was an older version of the book advertised. It actually looked different from the picture I saw on the screen.

So now I could not give the book the intended person on time. I had to order another one. I am rarely perturbed, but I was a bit annoyed?not because of the $4.32 I lost?but I just felt cheated. And I really did not want this seller to get away with it. I plan to use Amazon for a long time, and I have an interest in keeping the sellers accountable to the consumers.

So I fought my feelings of ?I don?t want to hurt them,? and I rated the seller with two out of five stars, and wrote this message to go with it:

“I received an older version of the book advertised. The book is a self help book with a test. It was all marked up so I could not take the test, and it had multiple marks throughout the book. “Used – Good” status should not have that many markings, and it would have been?nice to get the book I thought?I was ordering (not an older version)… “?

Justice!?It felt good?kind of. I would have preferred to get a good book and not have to leave?this comment. But I thought I did the right thing. And I thought that was the end of it. That night, I ordered another book from another seller.

The next day I got this email from Amazon (not from the seller).


We’re writing to let you know we processed your refund of $4.32 for your order from Your Online Bookstore.

We look forward to seeing you again soon.

We’re Building Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company

Now please note, I never asked for a refund!?There was an option for me to return the book. Obviously that would not have been a good option. So I did not even think about trying to get a refund from this huge company who surely would not listen to me.?But they did not just listen. They had a ready process in place to go above and beyond!

What?s the lesson?

  • Take care of your customers.
  • If you make a mistake, show people you are sorry.
  • Do the right thing.
  • Exceed people?s expectations.
  • Give people a refund if you give a bad service or product (even if they don?t ask).

A few hours after I read their email about giving me the refund, I went on Amazon and I deleted my negative comment.?Amazon has a more loyal customer now. It cost them $4.32.

May we all lead teams and organizations that go above and beyond to serve people.

Your Friend,
Wes Saade MD Signature

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  • Jamie Adams
    Posted at 10:52h, 30 September Reply

    The absolute best customer service experience I have ever had was also with Amazon. My 3 year old Kindle stopped working and when they couldn’t repair it, sent me the newer version for FREE. What really blew me away was that it was sent next-day shipping and when I received it, it was fully charged, personalized with me name and had all of my previously purchased books on it!

    It just goes to show that some companies (and therefore their executive leaders) have seen GIANT success and have not forsaken the customer service commitment. There are many companies that have, and they can actually get away with it because they offer the best deal and are a world-wide known name. (Wal-Mart comes to mind instantly when the subject of bad customer service is brought up.)

    WAY TO GO AMAZON! Thanks for sharing a bad situation gone right, Dr W!

    • Wes Saade
      Posted at 21:07h, 13 October Reply

      Wow Jamie, love your comment!!!! And absolutely agree with your thoughts on how when we become successful we abandon how much we value people (employees and customers)… That’s phenomenal that they sent a brand new Kindle to you already loaded up! Thanks for the comment!!!!!

  • Misty Gilbert
    Posted at 22:50h, 30 September Reply

    Wow! Wish I could say that was what happened with my $200 order of books for clients…it didn’t, and I took my business elsewhere. eBay and won. Guess we don’t always get the same experience??? Which is truly why the 5 points in your lesson need to transpire each and every time. It takes a split second (or two or three or so) to do…makes a lasting impact. Enjoyed today’s lesson.

    • Wes Saade
      Posted at 21:03h, 13 October Reply

      Misty… well, they lost a valuable customer as I know how much you like books and reading!!! Hope we can learn for our own organizations and do a better job! 🙂 Thanks for the comment…

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