3 Fantastic stories from last 3 months of Pandemic to share how serious Amazon is about it's value 'Customer Obsession'

Usually you see blogposts about Travel, Photography, Gadgets or lifestyle on Travellingcamera, but today we are sharing a very concerning topic about how online shopping with Amazon can be more stressful than going out and shop directly from a store/showroom/shop. It became important for me to share because in last 3 months, Amazon has goofed up big time and because of that me & may family lost peace. I debated in my head about why should I write it? Why someone would worry about my problem and how does it help anyone. I still decided to write to for 2 purposes : Bringing awareness as these are learnings which can help others decide if they want to rely on local vendors for direct shopping instead of online shopping, as no one wants unnecessary stress so may be it's better to think beforehand. Other reason can be that Amazon may learn about how delivery systems in India are screwed and how things can be done in a way that customers don't go through such unnecessary stress. And while writing this, I may understand it better and may learn more about how should I think about shopping. Why should I give business worth lacs every year to companies like Amazon and rather help local vendors given they operate more on building trust than online players like Amazon. So let's start with more details on this fail services series. 

Let's start with most recent experience of Amazon Delivery, when Amazon marked product delivered while it wasn't delivered and there was no intent to deliver as well :

So this is how my weekend started with Amazon India experience. Last week I ordered 'Toilet Safety bars' for my old grandparents (Nana/Nani), who live alone in Himachal. Amazon accepted the order by asking all the details like pin code and address. 

Today morning, the delivery person calls and says that "box is big and you have to pick it from Hamirpur (town which is 23 kilometres away from the house)". I would not have ordered online if I had to ask my old grandparents(both 80+) to visit town and buy this much needed stuff. After that delivery person marks the item delivered in system (as you can see above screenshot taken from Amazon website) and I have spent around 3 hours to reach Amazon.com for help but nothing meaningful came out of that. 

Amazon claims #customerobsession as one of the core values and this shows how much more painful they can make this whole process. Here is another useless trail of tweets - https://twitter.com/photojourney…/status/1286933908672540672 . I have pasted the tweet trail below so that you can understand how painful it is when you have spent money on something you desperately need for your old grandparents, which is marked delivered but not actually delivered. On top of that these robotic responses just make you feel more helpless and of no help. 

So as first response Amazonhelp handle on Twitter asked me to call or use chat. I used chat which is a bot and it was completely useless because bot assumes that scenario can't exist that product is delivered in system but not actually delivered. I wasted some time on chat and then moved to call as per suggestion in the tweet. It didn't work with above message and in fact, it asked for lot of details without any helpful next steps. 

Then I was asked to try call back and the video below will tell you how useful this was :). Also imagine amount of time I have already spent with these folks and trying things suggested by them. 

My question to Amazon is - how these useless responses and suggestion can help a customer who is already in stress that s/he is being cheated by marking the product delivered but it's not actually delivered? Is that customer obsession that you put more stress for customers when they rather need help to lower down existing stress? 


When I posted above story on facebook, I was suggested 4th method to get call back. Please see screenshots from conversation on facebook and see how it went :

Now I have placed another request for call back and auto-response says I will get a call back. I am not very hopeful because it has happened earlier they never call back. But let's see what happens this time and I will update the blog about next story for sure. 

Updated later at 7:30pm on 25th July'20 : I just received a call from Mr Kishor from facebook team of Amazon.in and told that he is following up with logistic team to figure out what's happening & what best he can do. He mentioned that he will try his best to have this product delivered on mentioned address. 

At 8:30pm, my phone number is shared with someone in Hamirpur who called he was mainly concerned about why I made complaint and less about solving the problem. This call was very unprofessional and wondering how Amazon can share customer phone number so many people & rather keep common contact person to resolve thing end to end. 

At 9:02pm order is cancelled and at 9:08pm, status on website is still wrong. 

2. Amazon doesn't care about how plants have to be delivered and killed a plant sent by my sister with Rakhi !

Last week I received a box with 5 things in it without any separation - A small plant, 2 rakhis, 2 chocolates. When I opened the box, I realised that all 5 things were fighting with each other as box may have changed the position during the whole delivery process. Lack of appropriate packing lead to damage of 40% leaves of the plant. Below is trail of tweets exchanged. 

In this case, I didn't bother to follow up because it's surely wastage of my time by looking at irrelevant responses coming from Amazon in last few instances. So Amazon handled this delivery in a careless way and on serious note I don't believe that they actually mean what they say, by looking at these standard responses.

3. How Amazon forced to waste my hard earned money and time : Denied cancellation of product which they delayed and sent Table-chair after 2 months of placing the order. 

This is longest story and above screenshot says a lot about this one : A table-chair ordered on 20th March and status on Amazon.in as of today (25th july) is "On the way, but it's running late". 

But let me state facts correctly that I have this table-chair in my house now and Amazon thinks they want to deliver again, I don't mind :). 

But the reality is that Amazon forcefully sold this to us. We ordered on 20th March and when it was not delivered for 2months, we wanted to cancel the order but Amazon denied that and we had no choice but to wait endlessly. By this time, we could have bought from local store as furniture shops were open by May. It's understandable that it was lockdown period but why not to cancel the order in that case? 

It's very hard for me to describe this 3 months long story about Amazon Customer Care, but will say only one thing that this would certainly help me gain confidence in buying locally when this whole pandemic situation is over. Right now, many of us don't have an option and we want to take all precautions and  that's why relying on online shopping, but I will certainly promote more local businesses for my shopping as well as shopping behaviours within my family & circle of influence amongst friends/viewers. 

Lot of companies and their devisions like Amazon Customer Service rely on technology for automatic responses, but unfortunately they make the situation miserable for customers and these are some of the areas where real human touch and empathy can bring lot of difference. Especially in diverse countries like India, if Amazon fails to serve well in cities like Delhi, how can I assume that they can serve this country & it's tier2/3/4 cities/towns/villages. Probably I have higher expectations and that's my foolishness.  

While I writing and thinking about how much I invested in Amazon over the years, I wonder about things like Amazon Prime which used to be something special but not anymore. Amazon is also taking convenient routes at the cost of customer experience in India. Many of my friends would say that why do I expect professional services in India. But I always believed that in the world of globalisation, every country will evolve in post sales services and I would say India has also evolved, but certainly there is a long way to go. And if Amazon is failing at it, that takes my confidence down. 

Also sharing the original images of tweet-trails you see in screenshot above. If you click on these images, they would open in full screen and would be helpful in reading the text well. 

Finally when Amazon delivery person came on May 23rd, He brought 2 chairs instead of a table and a chair. Then after a few days, he delivered the table and used our house to store this chair which had to be delivered to someone in sector-100 Noida. We were feeling bad about the other customer who could have at least received the chair and that was lying in our house unnecessarily.     Hope that some responsible from Amazon will read this Blog and see what they need to change in their delivery system, post-sales services and support on social-media as well as website to really show that they truly have a company value called 'Customer Obsession'.

Finally when Amazon delivery person came on May 23rd, He brought 2 chairs instead of a table and a chair. Then after a few days, he delivered the table and used our house to store this chair which had to be delivered to someone in sector-100 Noida. We were feeling bad about the other customer who could have at least received the chair and that was lying in our house unnecessarily. 

Hope that someone responsible from Amazon will read this Blog and see what they need to change in their delivery system, post-sales services and support on social-media as well as website, to really show that they truly have a company value called 'Customer Obsession'. 


Nandan Jha said…
Vijay, Very painful. I had a harrowing time as well during last December time. We were away and the item was delivered but it was not delivered. After a lot of follow-ups and what not, the delivery guy mysteriously appears and gave me the item without any packing. I kind of moved on.

For this one, you want to email to someone senior with-in customer care team there. Viraj can help with an id. Write to Jeff B. It works
What you are sharing must have been more painful. Like you, I have also thought of moving on from these experiences as it only wastes our time and energy. Reaching out to Viraj came to my head but again I thought that there might be so many things on Viraj's way, if Amazon is goofing up so many times with one of Viraj's friend :).

I could at least get some attention through twitter and facebook, otherwise Amazon has all practices in place to avoid post-sales conversations with customers :). I have certainly written to Amit Agarwal, who is Amazon India head. No response, but assuming that he must already be thinking about such delivery challenges in India.

Regarding Jeff B. - Let me do my part and share with him, as he may have a team of folks to look into such patterns.

When I think more, I realise that it's consumer driven economy and we have gradually become so reliant on these e-com sites that they do whatever they wish. We need to be watchful of our own actions, learnings and hope collectively we bring the change.

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