Amazon gets cut a lot of slack by a lot of people. It's held up as a paragon of the web2.0 age - a fabulous disruptor.
Its stated mission is to become the most customer-centric company on Earth.
But let's get the reality stick out.
Like so many people in a snow-affected UK, I've been let down recently by Amazon.
And when I've tried to email customer services I've found an un-usable form to fill which fails to send unless I complete an 'add your name' field - and there isn't one!!! (I generally use Mozilla Firefox for this - not exactly a rare interface with the internet...)
And when I've called, I've found a 'computer-says-no' attitude among staff - having to demand escalation to more senior people within a short but frustrating period of time.
Customer centric is as customer centric does, my friends; not as it says it does.
I'm an Amazon Prime user. At the moment.
Little did I know (and neither is it clear in the Amazon purchasing process) that when you order 'First Class' from Amazon they get to choose how they are going to send your item to you. I do wonder if trading standards have ever challenged this. Royal Mail ought to have a word, in my view.
Amazon chose to send me this last package via CityLink. Now, I don't know about you, but for me and most folk I know in the UK, when I select 'First Class' delivery I expect delivery by the Royal Mail. Indeed the very last courier company I want deployed is CityLink because they have a 'local' depot furthest from me. And their website fails to record requests for redeliveries from their customers. And they don't answer the phone. And they close for pick-ups from the depot when the going gets touch. And they don't try to fix their backlogs by going out on Sundays.
No, Amazon, when I request 'First Class' I mean by Royal Mail - because if I'm not in when the the postie tries to deliver there is a depot I can go pick up from about a mile from my home.
So Amazon, I want a 'Not by CityLink (and for other folk not by x, y or z courier) option - at the very least made available to Prime users.
But why am I blogging about this rather than just dropping Amazon some customer feedback?
Well, first because that bloody email form keeps failing for me (I hate email forms with a vengeance, by the way - no record of what I sent and never a clue as to whether they are being picked up or dealt with).
Second because when I went looking for senior Amazon UK folk to make contact with they were, how can I put this, virtually absent from the internet.
The MD, one Brian McBride (you know, the chap who dropped you an email apologising for poor service a week or so ago), is not discoverable on LinkedIn even - let alone on google or any social media. It's alright for you to send your customers an email then Brian - but not to get one back?
You will find a few relevant and pertinent folk for Amazon UK on Linkedin - the Marketing Manager, for example. But their profiles are, for the most part, marked 'private' - not even a name on show.
Guys - you are operating in the exact opposite direction of your organisation's stated aim. You cannot become customer centric when you don't listen and respond. You certainly can't listen if you don't engage in social media and you hide from contact with your customers.
No one appears to be monitoring and managing response to the deluge of outcry about your services on twitter etc right now. A real shame because there is one hell of a wikifixing opportunity happening for you right now.
You cannot become customer centric when you don't listen and respond.
Seriously, taking online payments and enabling user reviews does not a customer centric organisation make.
Step up - start listening, start responding, open your doors - then you can start leading the way to customer centricity.
In the mean time, feel free to contact me by any means you choose. I will respond.