Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Dare I Say It...A Company With Heart

I have spent a great deal of time ragging on major corporations and their lack of what I have laughingly referred to as "customer service." Airlines, cable companies, cellular providers, and the like have all found their way into this space as the recipients of my "one thousand lashes with a wet noodle' brand of personal retribution. In most cases, these large companies have been deserving of my wrath and so much more in the way of legally acceptable punishment, but I feel it only fair to offer up a positive story of big business catering to its customers, even if that occurrence is so very rare.

Case in point.

Upon our arrival at the Southern Home, The Husband and I determined that it was time to replace the chairs that had been occupying our balcony for the past fifteen years. Sun, salt, and water had aged the old furniture, and while we didn't want to spend an ungodly sum to replace it, the balcony is our place of refuge and was deserving of an upgrade. I suggested that we consider gravity chairs similar to the ones we used to enjoy when we had the pool. The chairs, while probably not the most artistic or beautiful pieces ever designed are reasonably priced, aesthetically adequate, and truly the most comfortable things I have ever sat in. For a woman of short stature with incredibly short legs, this statement is one you should all take seriously. Seating spaces are usually of great discomfort for me. The Husband was totally onboard with the plan, and after making arrangements to donate the old chairs, he went about the task of ordering the new.

Online shopping is either one of the greatest inventions of the twenty-first century or the one of the most aggravating, depending on individual case studies. In this example, it proved to be the former rather than the latter. The Husband found exactly what we were searching for at Amazon.com. Now before you all wail and moan about your miseries with Amazon and how they are the devil's spawn, hear me out. The Husband ordered a package of two chairs for a charge of about $68.00, delivery and tax included. The chairs showed up two days later perfectly intact and ready for lounging. I was so impressed with them that I suggested to him that the balcony could really handle two more. He readily agreed and went back to his original order and placed another for two additional chairs.

Here's where the story gets interesting.

The second delivery arrived the very next day, even though there were no Prime directive nor special delivery instructions involved. The Husband was amazed by the service and I was thrilled with the new chairs. Until...

Later that evening The Husband informs me that he had just received an odd email from Amazon informing him that our order for two gravity chairs had just been shipped. Remember now. We had just received that order in the morning. Could it really be possible that yet another two chairs were on the way?

The Husband went back into his orders and it was very clear that he had only made TWO purchases. He has no idea how a third order might have been placed and there was absolutely ZERO evidence that we were being charged for three rather than two. We decided to play it cool and hope that the third shipment was an erroneous email.

Well...It wasn't. On Saturday evening the third shipment arrived. I relayed the story to several friends here and they all laughed at our good fortune. Let's face it. Errors in our favour rarely happen. Enjoy the windfall, they said.

But...I just couldn't do it. It simply felt dishonest and I could not live with myself unless we made it right. The Husband felt exactly the same way, and while we had decided to keep the extra set, we needed to rectify the situation and pay for them.

Easier said than done. Upon looking at the emails we received, it became clear that Amazon outsources these chairs to a third party, and given that the orders were so close together, we have no idea which party sent the extra set. The Husband decided to send Amazon's customer service an email in an attempt to sort it out. Here's an excerpt.
After the first order, I decided to reorder as I liked the product. Interestingly enough, the second order (done with 1-click reorder) was fulfilled by a different seller at a slightly higher price. This was not a problem for me. 
However, I actually received 3 deliveries. Clearly, one was in error, but I don't know if the one sent in error was from the first or second seller. I'd like to pay for the extra order since returning it is a hassle, but I don't know which seller the extra delivery came from?Can you help? 
Within two hours, yes two hours on a Sunday, he received the most amazing response. Here's an excerpt. (Emphasis is mine.)
We always like to hear from our customers, and we're glad you took the time to write in; we appreciate your loyalty.
I understand your concern that you've received an extra item.
Please understand that we wouldn't want you to get charged for the extra item. I request you to please accept the item as a goodwill gesture from our end.
We wouldn't want you to go through the trouble of returning the item. You're welcome to keep, donate or dispose of it--whichever option is most appropriate and convenient for you.
It is our privilege to have you as our valued customer & we want to make sure you are always taken care of.
I hope this helps. We look forward to seeing you again soon.
Now I am not deluding myself that Amazon isn't merely writing this off as the cost of doing business, but it is important to note that there was tremendous decency in the response. And while we have decided to keep the chairs, we are also making a donation for the cost of them to a charity that provides furniture for women who have fled from domestic abuse and are now setting up their own homes.

It is easy to be cynical in this world of nastiness and pettiness. This week, a little glimmer of positivity from a major corporation managed to remind me that sometimes the world isn't as shitty as it seems.

1 comment:

  1. I love this story!!! Even though everything may seem bleak, there is always hope. Hope never dies!!! This story was a great reminder of the hope that never dies. Thank you so much.