THE RIOT POINT

The Lab

The fruits of riotous experimentation.

My experience with Amazon—how a bad product can lead to a good experience

A poor product performance needn’t dent your net promoter score.  In fact, if you react appropriately, it may enhance it.

 Last week I purchased a window mount for a GPS device via Amazon. The product arrived in good condition and functioned effectively for a few hours.  It then fell from the window having suffered a catastrophic failure; a rip in the rubber grommet resulted in the suction pad no longer sucking. This ensured a modicum of inconvenience as I was guided through the back roads of New Jersey with the GPS held in place by Blu-Tack—well consultants do have to be resourceful.

 That evening I added a comment to the vendor’s product page, then investigated how I might return my $12 non-sucking suction pad. The process, it seems, is incredibly simple.  You complete a return form, paste the provided return label onto the package containing your item and take to any FedEx, UPS or Post Office.  And here’s the unexpected pleasant surprise—as soon as the item is scanned, your payment is refunded to your credit card.  Let me write that again.  As soon as your item is scanned, your payment is refunded to your credit card.

 What an excellent feedback loop.  I had a problem but I received restitution quickly and conveniently.  This defuses the negative product experience, and brings me back for more. It even got me writing about it. Someone in Amazon has reviewed the Customer Activity Cycle (complaints section!), they have located the pain points and then applied the balm.  Rapid relief without the side effects of queuing at the Post Office or waiting 2 weeks for a credit.

 Mistakes happen and products fail, and therein lies the opportunity. How can you can enhance the customer experience even when things go wrong? 

 Now, if only the airlines applied this thinking….