Set the Scene
I bought a kitchen knife on Amazon last week. It was available with a black handle and a red handle, but all the ones with a red handle were slightly more expensive. I decided to go for one with a red handle, but received one with a black handle. I emailed the seller explaining this and got this response.
Good afternoon Fergus,
Thank you for contacting us,
Please accept my sincere apologies for this issue and rest assured now we are aware of this matter we will do everything we can to resolve it for you as swiftly as possible.
I can only presume this was a picking error made by our warehouse team when selecting goods for your order.
Once they return to work on Monday I will firstly find and beat the young man that picked your order with the largest stick I can find, when he has finished begging for mercy I [will] of course have him forward the correct knife to you directly.
On This occasion there is no need to return the black handled knife we have sent you in error, if you can make use of it please feel free to do.
Once again apologies for our mistake and many thanks for taking the time to bring this to our attention.
If I can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate in contacting me directly.
With kind regards
I love the response. I thought it was great. I shared it with the GF, brother and dad and we all had a laugh about it. However, I’m not sure if my elderly downstairs neighbour would’ve felt the same way if they’d received it.
We are a 3rd party Amazon seller as well, and as far as I’m aware, we don’t see anything other than the name and address of the buyer – so I believe that they didn’t know anything other than my name and address. For example, they didn’t know my email, so wouldn’t have found my website.
That’s an interesting gamble for Carl to take. I think that on marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, there’s very little opportunity to build any brand awareness or loyalty. I don’t think people choose specific sellers on these marketplaces, they choose the marketplace, the price and the rating. Provided a seller has a good rating, I’m not sure many people want to know more than that. They feel the trust is provided by the marketplace, and the rating.
From a service point of view, he’s ticking all the boxes. A new product will be sent out asap and I can keep the old one. Job done. But, his extra flair of personality might alienate some customers, and potentially with no benefit.
I think in this case, the flair has been great. I know that email was hand written for me, and it’s made me share this experience with loads of people. However, I don’t know the seller’s company and would I choose to buy from them next time – probably yes, provided the marketplace, price and rating boxes were all ticked. After everything else, yes, they have risen above the others, but it seems almost wasted and dwarfed by the Amazon brand and experience.
Although if that is the case, it presents a sad thought of where the Amazon/eBay model is pushing small businesses. The personal effect is diluted by the lack of their own unique brand. Perhaps these things are cyclical and as more people move to making purchases through these dominant channels, people will start to move towards brands that set themselves apart from them as they yearn for a more personalised experience. A good example of that is vertically integrated commerce.
Or, perhaps it’s just a commodity product and a customer service guy that hit the nail on the head with his handling of the situation! Either way, kudos to Carl this time – hopefully he gets it equally spot on with all his other customers.