I am a big fan of amazon.com but I am starting to think they are losing it. They have stopped doing the one thing you have to do, which is great customer service. You can no longer send inbound email to Amazon. You can no longer call them on the phone. You can only use their web form, period, that’s it.
I think I know what the thinking is, generally, with these big companies that do shitty customer service. Some CFO bean counter somewhere looks at the expense statement and says, “Hmmm, sure would be nice if we could cut down this customer service number. It’s an expense, let’s make it go down.”
This is because they think of it as an expense. It’s not an expense, it’s a cost of sale. They should plan on a $x hit on every sale to cover the customer service. While you certainly want to keep cost of sales down too, it is a good thing when your cost of sales grows because it means your gross and net revenue are growing. If you think of it as an expense you are divorcing it from its direct contribution to your product’s value and you think that growth in the expense is bad. It’s good when you are spending more because you are billing more.
And let me tell ya, I hate if I have to use customer service. That is a failure to start with. But you have to make it easy to resolve problems quickly. It’s ultimately in everyone’s best interest. The closed door policy that many company’s use these days is based on the notion that we’ll give up eventually and go down the chute they want us to go down.
It doesn’t surprise me when big, dumb companies do dumb things. It does surprise me that Amazon is. They should be the Google of Internet retail and they are failing. They are still a great company, IMHO, but their new method of form letter customer service is not working. Some CFO is fucking it up.