How to Stay Popular in the World of Amazon Prime

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According to an article I just read in the Daily Mail.com, furious Amazon Prime subscribers threaten to file class-action lawsuit after the firm shut down THOUSANDS of accounts without warning. Guess they’re no longer popular in the world of Amazon Prime.

And when the Prime subscribers reached out to Amazon to figure out why their account was closed, the firm gave them few details. Was it because they didn’t make enough purchases? Was their payment late? That’s the problem, the customers don’t know why.

Beginning last week, many took to Twitter to express outrage that Amazon had shut down their Prime accounts. Many affected customers say they were never informed of an account closure.

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Amazon has since issued a statement, saying it took action against ‘bad actors’ on the site.

“Amazon has taken action against bad actors and those who have violated our community rules,’ an Amazon spokesperson told Mail Online.  ‘If any customers believe their account has been closed in error, we encourage them to contact us directly so we can review their account and take appropriate action”.

My response to this is

“Why do I, as your customer, have to contact you directly to find out what happened to my account. That should be YOUR responsibility to inform me of why.”

On Thursday, Amazon sent an email to affected customers explaining why their accounts had been shuttered. Still, many Amazon customers complain that the firm is “lying” to them about their accounts. Others say that Amazon has promised to call back or return messages, but nothing ever happens.

Let’s use this as a learning experience.

One of the most complained about facets of business is “poor communication”. This usually refers to the internal methods of communication within a business. New policies are sent out through email, or posted on a department bulletin board – and now their assuming all employees have read it.

Another instance is when leadership fails to adequately express their needs and expectations to the employees and later holds them accountable for failing to do as told.

This almost always leads to complacency and worst yet apathy among the staff. But, at least the business has an opportunity to correct this situation by making amends and correcting the communication issues. Most employees understand mistakes happen and will be fixed.

Customers aren’t always so forgiving.

Think back to many of the customer service stats I’ve shared over the past year in my subscriber-onlyTips on Thursday” that detailed the customer’s unforgiving nature when receiving poor service or a company’s failure to properly respond to their concerns.

Example:

  • 59% have to expend moderate-to-high effort to resolve an issue. (Harvard Business Review)
  • 66% of consumers say they’re extremely or somewhat likely to switch brands if they feel like they’re treated like a number rather than an individual. (Salesforce)
  • 68% of 18 – 34-year-old consumers have stopped doing business with a brand due to a single poor customer service experience. (Microsoft)
  • 91% of customers who had a bad experience will not do business with your company again. (Glance)

So how do we get around these communication issues? It all comes down to the “value” a business places on their customers.

  • Do they value our business enough to provide more than “lip service” when we have a concern?
  • What is the value of any single customer when they can be “easily replaced” by the next one in line? Are we so expendable that you don’t mind upsetting a customer or two?
  • Does the business have a goal of first providing value plus quality products AND service knowing high sales will surely follow?

We must treat our customers like a valued family member. Would we “cut-off” all communication with a loved one in such a callous way as Amazon did with their Prime customers? No, of course not.

Even if our brother or sister was a “bad actor” as Amazon stated, we would communicate our concerns first and try to understand the actions leading us to feel a particular way.

Then, and only then, would we take such drastic, and hopefully temporary, action as a separation. But Amazon didn’t do this.

Twitter has been following along the same lines as Amazon’s latest folly. Twitter has suspended thousands of accounts because of a “violation of terms of service” or their disagreement with the account holder’s stated political views while other accounts post similar or even worse content and receive no penalty. YouTube did the same.

Fairness or equal accountability isn’t always handed out “fairly”.

This post is not to point out the reasons why a specific social media account should or should not be cancelled or suspended. It is also not to judge why a company may wish to cease “doing business” with another company or customer. That’s an everyday occurrence in the business world.

But, communication is the key. We use the phrases “always leave on good terms” because you never know if “your coworker today may be your boss tomorrow”.

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