When it absolutely, positively must arrive same day

I had a quasi-epiphany about Amazon’s over-promising and over-delivering policy this week—due in large part to a challenge I faced. It’s so simple and so basic. And we need to go back to it in the world of ever-faster everything. You want it fast: pay for the privilege. Not so much that it becomes prohibitive and you start looking for another company with which to do business. But enough that the revenues can be put toward improving the lives of employees, while still offering customers great service.

Case in point: I returned home last week without my laptop power cord. I wasn’t going to drive 45 minutes back to Boulder for it. I thought about calling a brick-and-mortar shop to find one. Then, I did the Amazon search. Voila! There was my power cord available for same-day delivery, with a $6 extra delivery charge over the Prime two-day free option.

I was apoplectically thrilled! Given my previous purchase credits (which Amazon generously offers), I got my cord a few hours later for the whopping total of $8 (including the extra shipping). I would have paid double or probably triple shipping to get this much-needed “lifeline.”

Amazon made it ridiculously simple. And with everything factored in, I felt I got off ultra-cheap. So, here’s the message to Amazon about its employees:

At the same time you’re looking for ever-better, ever-faster ways to satisfy customers, don’t forget that “reasonable” timelines and reasonable fees should get factored into the equation. Otherwise, we’re going to get to the point at which customers will expect delivery in virtual real-time, while employees scramble ever-more-frantically to meet these unrealistic deadlines.

Let’s borrow a page from the Simon & Garfunkel song, “Slow down, you move too fast. You got to make the morning last.” –59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy).

It’s time to slow down, reassess, and redefine what we’re “entitled to” as customers. Amazon has proven its ability to provide world-class customer service. Let’s see them turn their attentions to providing world-class employee treatment, respect and acknowledgment.

Let’s level the playing field a bit, and take a hard look at what customers really are entitled to—and where this entitlement goes awry. Millennials are pegged for their “now, now, now in the moment mentality.” They’re also known for being socially invested and responsible. Millennials would be among the first to support better treatment of Amazon employees. Unfortunately, the next moment they might grouse because they can’t get immediate gratification on an order.

Of course, this mindset isn’t limited to millennials. But, it’s time for customers—all of us—to step back and ask ourselves: Where do we find balance that addresses great customer service without doing it on the back of someone else? When do we step back to slow down and stop moving too fast?

Amazon, you’re in a great place to make a noteworthy, inspirational and game-changing shift that starts allowing all your employees to feel some of that great “customer service mojo.”

Step up. Just do it.

###

“This is the fourth of a four-part series about the disconnect between Amazon’s customer service and treatment of employees. In his quest to build the world’s most customer-service-centric company, employees appear to be pushed to their limits to make sure customers get everything they want. As self-absorbed consumers—who feel entitled to get what they want ever more quickly—grow a social conscience, they’re realizing that a company’s culture includes valuing, acknowledging and respecting its employees. This will cause more people to question using Amazon until the perceived quality of the employee experience improves. I’m one of them“. ML

Mark Lusky is a veteran writer, storyteller and author, with 40+ years of public relations, advertising, marketing and journalism experience.

Author of A Wandering Wondering Jew… and co-author of Don’t Get Mad, Get Leverage,  Mark (aka The Happy Curmudgeon) is the owner of a Denver-based marketing communications firm.

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