Miles said:

Leveraging Technology – BUTTONS

In early September I was working at home, I managed to almost get myself killed in our driveway by an Amazon delivery driver.

It is not lost on me (or my wife) if the driver succeeded in his aim it would have made for an enlightening discussion around natural selection. Anyway; he missed, so I go on.

I retreated back into our home armed with a photo of the package (delivered to our neighbours’ house), my memory of the driver’s number plate and a range of adrenaline fuelled emotions; a blend of rage, anger and indignation. He was not having the final word, zooming past me, down our street and away – that is not how this disagreement was going to end.

I knew full well that the driver was not an Amazon employee, not even close. I didn’t know though where else to start; so I typed “Amazon complaint” into a Google search, expecting to spend an entirely unsatisfactory afternoon in call centre hell.

I was immediately redirected into a complaints section within my personal Amazon account and given 3 options 1) a dropdown section with “does your complaint involve the following?” 2) start typing the detail of your complaint HERE or 3) Push this BUTTON and we will call you.

I clicked option 3), I pushed the BUTTON.

Immediately, my mobile was ringing, my hand was still sitting on the mouse.

“Hello I am sorry that you have a complaint, could you please give me the detail of what has happened?”

This was a real person, likely assisted by voice recognition software. It wasn’t straight forward to convey the details. The package was delivered to a neighbour, not me. It was a delivery driver not a direct employee where my concerns were directed. I went through the detail twice, the person at the other end of the phone got their arms around the issues (from my perspective at least!) and their response was along the line of  “do you mind holding for about 60 seconds, I would like to connect you to the appropriate person at Amazon logistics Australia, we would appreciate you reconveying the details to them”. As described, less than a minute later I was talking to a local Amazon representative – my sense was they were already across the key points.

I hung up the phone, less than a minute later I received an email to confirm that I considered the issue closed. I did, I conveyed this in my response. I didn’t get feedback if the individual towards whom my anger was directed to was strung up and quartered, or if my complaint was just put in the bin for entitled Sydney eastern suburbs residents.  Regardless, I felt like I had the final say, I was reasonably satisfied.

Subsequently, I have regularly reflected on this interaction. I’m haunted to a degree by the option of “Push this BUTTON and we will call you”, then, backed up by the immediacy of a call and the efficiency of response. Using technology in this manner inverts the relationship between the customer and the service provider. This contrasts to recent call centre experiences with a telco for an NBN install and a general insurer for a property claim. Once you push the BUTTON, given the choice, you don’t go back.

Thursday, October 8th, 2020

Yes or no?