I just came across a wonderful article in the NY Times, titled: Put Buyers First? What a Concept. The author had ordered a Playstation from Amazon for his son for Christmas. On December 21st, he realized he had not received this $500 item. Apparently, it disappeared after the package had been signed for by a neighbor. The author called Amazon to report the missing item and, in the author's words, "The Amazon customer service guy didn’t blink. After assuring himself that I had never actually touched or seen the PlayStation, he had a replacement on the way before the day was out. It arrived on Christmas Eve. Amazon didn’t even charge me for the shipping."
On a personal note, I'm a (slightly) obsessive reader... and a (somewhat) frequent Amazon customer. I just looked back at my records for 2007. In one year, I placed 54 orders and spent $3,951.13 with Amazon on books alone!! (Pretty scarry... OK, I might be a little more than a slightly obsessive reader.) Be that as it may, across all of my transactions with them, the quality of Amazon's service has been stellar and, in most cases, they've exceeded expectations on delivery times.
The author of the NY Times article goes on to quote Jeff Bezos, on why he's so obsessed with the customer experience, "[customers] care about having the lowest prices, having vast selection, so they have choice, and getting the products to customers fast,” he said. “And the reason I’m so obsessed with these drivers of the customer experience is that I believe that the success we have had over the past 12 years has been driven exclusively by that customer experience. We are not great advertisers. So we start with customers, figure out what they want, and figure out how to get it to them."
This level of focus has clearly paid off. According to Forrester Research, 52 percent of people who shop online say they do their product research on Amazon. Not only does the focus on flawless service keep customers coming back but as Jeff Bezos has always emphasized, if you do something great for one customer, they'll tell 100 customers.
That's what the author of the NY Times article did... and I'm happy to do the same. Onward and upward!!!