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I am a huge Kindle user and advocate.  I bought my Kindle 2 about one year ago and have found it tremendously useful, both for personal and business reading.  The ability to access books and the notes and highlights I make across platforms (Kindle, PC, web) is fantastic and incredibly functional.

A few days ago I noticed that the 5-way navigation tool had actually cracked down the middle.  The top half of the controller was just floating within the Kindle’s casing.  The bottom half was still attached, but I couldn’t imagine it would last much longer.  Without that controller I would basically lose most (if not all) of the functionality that I’ve come to love.

This certainly wasn’t the end of the world, but this was a product that paid quite a bit of money for, had come to rely on for both work and personal enjoyment, and one that I recommended actively to co-workers and friends.

So I emailed customer service on a Sunday morning, expecting to hear back from someone on Monday.  To my surprise, within an hour I had an email letting me know that my question could best be dealt with via phone and that I could have a representative call me within 5 minutes of submitting a request.  Skeptical, I placed my request at 8pm Sunday.  Within 10 seconds my phone rang, a live representative waiting on the other end of the line.

I explained what happened and without my suggestion or bargaining, argumentation, etc, the representative apologized and said that even though the Kindle was technically outside of warranty he would immediately overnight me a brand new replacement.

Now, Amazon has always been known as a customer-centric operation, but they’ve done a tremendous job of separating themselves from the pack by not just focusing on whether their customers are satisfied (which, as it turns out, is a flawed measure).  Instead, Amazon (like many other successful companies) invests in their customers’ emotional attachment to the brand.  In my case, Amazon demonstrated the integrity of their brand–when things go wrong, the company stands by their brand and does what it has to do to make things right.  They didn’t require me to jump through a dozen hoops, all designed to get me to give up in my pursuit for a resolution to my problem.  Instead, they seized on the problem as an opportunity to demonstrate the quality of their company and brand, and as a result increase my emotional attachment as a customer.