When Your Partners Don’t Deliver the Experience

amazon_com_logo.pngYou’ve worked hard to create a great customer experience that defines your brand.  You’ve been a leader in differentiating your offering from the competition and have made significant investments to maintain that advantage.  You have maintained your focus on your core business by partnering with others to deliver the services that they have expertise in.  But do they share your passion for delivering the great experience?  Is ensuring that your customers have the best possible experience their top priority?

Working in retail, I can site any number of cases where the partner doesn’t deliver on the brand and I am personally in the middle of one of those cases right now.

Two weekends ago, I decided to purchase a device to allow all the computers in the house to share our new laser printer.  I found what I wanted at Amazon and the price was right.  During the checkout process, Amazon asks if I would like to save $30 on the purchase by opening an Amazon Visa account.  $30 off a $65 item???  Heck yeah!   I LOVE AMAZON.  So I click the button.  I am magically transported to a Chase Bank page where I fill out all the important info.  I click Submit and proceed to the checkout where I expect to see my new Amazon account listed as an option.

OK, here’s where things start to fall apart.  I see Amazon Visa as an option, but it wants my account number.  Hmm, OK… I know how these things work.  There will be an e-mail congratulating me on my new account, so off I go to my mailbox.   That’s odd, no e-mail.  Shouldn’t there at least be be something that says “thanks for your application, were looking at”?  If the internet is indeed just a series of pipes, then perhaps the pipes are clogged.  I decide to turn my attention somewhere else and come back to this later.  This is the internet equivalent of getting fed up with a ridiculously slow line and walking out the door of a real store.

ATTENTION AMAZON:  I have now left your store without making a purchase!!!!!

I tried to call the Amazon Credit Card Customer Service number, but apparently they only work weekdays buring “normal business hours”.  Obviously, no one shops on the internet at night or on weekends.

On Monday morning, I reach the Customer Service department, which I suspect is outsourced by Chase to some third party provider.  They see where I have an application pending, but cannot provide any additional information other than to say that the approval process can take up to 30 days.   WHAT???????  30 DAYS to approve a credit card???  Isn’t this the same Chase Bank that sends me offers for new credit cards every week?.  Is this not the 21st century?  Aren’t credit applications processed by computers?  

At this point, I could simply purchase the item from anywhere else, but I am so amazed at how poorly Amazon and Chase have handled this experience so far, that I decide to stick it out to see how (if) it gets resolved.  I check back periodically during the week and it is now Sunday night, and I still have not received any notice one way or the other from either Amazon or Chase.  The item is still in my cart, but the price has increased by $4.oo since I first selected it (another annoyance).  I’ll provide updates to this post as the story develops.

Why do companies let these little annoyances happen to their customers?  Dissatisfaction is the big Loyalty Killer.  Sure, I’ll probably still purchase from Amazon, but I am not likely to click on any of their added value services because I don’t trust them (or should I say their partners) to be able to execute.  In retailing, those added services are where the margin lies.  In my world, that’s the extended warranty, the credit and the installation services.  Ironically, it’s the delivery of those services that are most frequently outsourced to third parties; organizations whose priorities ae frequeently not aligned with mine.

Is your organization using partners to deliver on your brand’s experience?  How well are they living up to your customer’s expectations?


2 comments so far

  1. oldude59 on

    Your frustration is not common place, for if it where no one would use those firms you mentioned. What I believe is that what makes your situation resonate so robustly is that it happens in all to many layers of our lives. It’s the government not responding to the wounded with respect and care. It’s the fumbling between outsourcing partners they struggle to meet the bench marks of their contract. In other words, it is the continuing flaw the finds its way into all the things human effort produces. By no means does this mean that all these errors, slights and stupid acts should be ignored – by no means. What you are doing is what will make the system work better.

    My only suggestion is that the frame – retailing – is only a small demonstration of what is a fully human situation.

    Thanks for including us in your exercise.

  2. Doug Meacham on

    Hi Oldude59
    First, thanks for stopping by.
    Second, thanks for commenting.
    You are absolutely right that this is not common place for any single organization, but that it is something that everyone experiences in a large variety of settings.

    Retail is a small demonstration, but the area that I am most familiar with. As we have seen over an over again, we live in an age where any one person has the ability to speak and be heard (at least in much of the Western World). For retailers, one bad customer experience, which used to be told verbally to a friend or neighbor, can now be shouted to millions. Bad experiences, when shared with others, cause others to think twice about patronizing your store. As this happens on a large scale, smart organizations listen and respond.

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