The Customer Service MUST that Even the Best Companies (cough, Amazon) Sometimes Mess Up

I think I am probably not alone in believing that I am special. What I mean is, we all want to believe we are special. And we want to be treated as if we are.

And it hurts a tiny bit when we aren’t. Right?

So, when I went to Amazon the day before the launch of the Kindle Fire to check on the status of my order (which I was super excited about), and saw this graphic – I thought “Woo! They are shipping them early!”

Then I went and checked my order status, and what to my wondering eyes did appear but…an unshipped Kindle Fire. A still-cancelable because it wasn’t in the shipping process yet Kindle Fire.


I am an Amazon Prime member. I pre-ordered my shiny new gadget on October 11th. I am SPECIAL. Yet, apparently I am not.

Now, I know that they probably had people who ordered before me.  And they are special, too. Or at least THEY think so. But my “Woo!” faded away pretty quickly. And then I was disappointed. Why were they advertising that they were shipping when my order was not yet shipping?

Around 11PM that night I received a message that my Kindle Fire was shipped. If I hadn’t checked the site earlier, I would have been psyched that it shipped the day before the launch date. But I was already feeling oh so un-special – so the “early” notice was a little too late.

All Amazon would have had to do to avert my evening of un-special-feeling-ness would have been to hold off on posting that “Shipping Now” graphic until the next day. One day.

I am sure they wanted to start capturing the crowd that doesn’t like to wait-list. I get that. And they probably sold a ton of low-priced tablet hybrid thingamajigs that night.

I received my package right when I originally thought I would. All commitments were met.

But as shiny and fun as my brand-new toy is, it is still a little tarnished with disappointment.

How do you manage your relationships with customers so that you never make them feel un-special?

Oh Netflix, why?

So first, on July 12th,  there was this.

And then…oh so much anger.  And people leaving – deciding to share their memberships, or go to the Red Box, or use Pay Per View.

(Price increase + increased complexity) * Reduced value +

Semi-condescending communication =

Unhappy Ex-customers

Over the weekend, remaining members were sent a message from Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO of Netflix.  Many didn’t realize it was from Netflix and deleted it as spam.  Those who opened it were treated to this.  Certainly, this was intended as a display of vulnerable transparency.  A mea culpa.

However, it was received more along the lines of too little, too late.

In the words of one of our myGreenlight staffers:

I was annoyed about the change in prices. I changed my subscription because of it but I didn’t lose sleep over it. I didn’t need an apology. I think it is weird that they announced the company split in an apology email.

I don’t understand why they have to split into two companies. Lots of companies have different departments that do very different things. I feel like this change will be very annoying if I have to go to two different websites to manage my account. I probably feel worse than I did initially.

My favorite insight into the current situation is here, at The Oatmeal.

What do you think? How could Netflix have communicated the changes without alienating customers?