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March 26, 2012

A Tale of Two Orders, Part II

Lackluster customer service can lose a customer forever.

A while back, I ordered "Item Z" and it arrived right away. That part was good.

But then the frustrations began.

The quick delivery was overshadowed by the poor condition of Item Z, which was listed as Refurbished (and was not cheap!), but especially by the lackluster customer service. When I contacted the seller about defective Item Z, he immediately deflected responsibility (and me) to the manufacturer.

Was I disappointed? Aggravated even? To put it politely, yes.

Did I leave negative feedback? Oh yeah.

Why?

Civility and good customer service matter immensely, and the seller failed to provide either:

  • He would not even acknowledge that shipping a product touted as refurbished, but that only worked at 1/3 the promised capacity, was not appropriate.
  • He gave no hint of an apology.
  • He made no offer of any remedy beyond "Contact the manufacturer." He did not offer a replacement or a refund, not even a tiny partial refund to compensate me for my inconvenience.
  • He was done with me in two e-mails. My second e-mail was met with silence—no response at all.

In addition, feedback matters to the overall success of sellers on Amazon:

  • A feedback rating of "1" helps toward lowering a seller's overall feedback rating. The tons of honorable sellers look even better by comparison.
  • A good explanation of the reason for a feedback rating helps potential buyers make good buying decisions. (In case you are wondering, yes, I did read the seller's feedback before buying. However, I clearly did not read back far enough. My failure. I have learned my lesson.)
  • I want sellers as a whole to thrive on Amazon. (I am even a seller myself.) Also, as a buyer, I appreciate good reliable sellers, and one of the best ways to support the amazing seller community on Amazon is to differentiate between the great, the mediocre, and the troublesome.

I am working with the manufacturer. What choice did I have? By the way, the manufacturer's customer service representative questioned me about specific aspects of the "refurbished" Item Z, and said that the seller may not have fulfilled all requirements. I suppose the manufacturer might follow up on that with the seller. . .

I know that mine was not the worst buyer experience ever. I know this seller was not the worst seller ever. I admit to expecting a lot from the businesses I select for my discretionary spending. All that said, I also know that this seller's customer service was disappointing and that I will never buy from him again and risk more aggravation and wasted time.

As noted last month, an order shouldn't go sideways very often, but when one does, customer service makes all the difference.

As a seller, this experience reminds me that forever is a long time when it comes to losing buyers. 

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