An Amazon Example for Small Business
This morning, I received an email from Amazon’s automated customer support telling me that a product I ordered couldn’t be delivered, and I’d receive a refund. Also, “This email was sent from an email address that can’t receive emails. Please don’t reply to this email.”
Normally, I would consider this acceptable customer service. There was a problem, and I’m getting a refund. Oh well.
But this time, I received my package two days ago, and the product is currently sitting on my floor. How is an honest customer supposed to tell Amazon not to worry about the refund?
Answer: apparently, you’re not! The email was sent from a no-reply address, and a brief inspection of my orders’ page gives me no way to initiate communication with Amazon. Just accept the robotic refund and move on with your life.
Amazon Can Absorb a Few Errant Refunds, but Small Businesses Can’t
Even Amazon’s masterful and leviathan logistics get it wrong sometimes. With over $200 billion in revenue, Amazon can afford to give customers the occasional errant refund.
Small businesses get it wrong sometimes, too. But when it comes time to confess your mistake to the customer, you won’t want them to think of your company as an uncaring, automated robot. Because then they won’t have any reason to care about your business or team members.
The human element and personalized service are main competitive advantages of small businesses. Big companies like Amazon will always do automation better, but they can never have better relationships with customers. When you’re considering automation, also consider the cost of losing customer loyalty.