Those of you who, like me, have come to expect Amazon to provide amazing customer service, may find yourselves from time to asking, “This is a crazy request, but I wonder if they might go along with it.” After my experience this week, I want to urge you to give them a call and find out. What do you have to lose? Here is my story:
For the past couple of months I have been listening to The Blank Slate:The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker on my Kindle Fire HD 7″. I purchased it with a credit from my Audible membership plan on November 28. I don’t have a daily commute, so my Audible listening takes place in small windows of time, mainly when I’m shaving and getting ready for bed. In two months of listening, I had heard about two hours of the book and had 20 hours to go.
The topic was interesting to me–an investigation of human nature–and the writing was clear and original. The problem was that I hated the voice of the narrator, Victor Bevine. To me, he sounded sarcastic most of the time, torquing the writing of the book to cast aspersions on certain beliefs and thoughts being discussed. He probably thought he was reflecting the author’s content, and sometimes it did seem to fit. But night after night, the sound of Mr. Bevine’s voice grated on me. I grew to dislike him at an irrational, intuitive level. I thought I would get over it, and I very seldom abandon a book, in text or audio. I kept thinking, “I’ve got to give this guy a chance.”
Finally, on Monday night after one last listening session, I gave up trying to like the sound of Mr. Bevine’s voice. I called Audible’s call-anytime support number, 1-888-283-5051.
It was about 9 p.m. in Denver. A real person answered within less than a minute, and I sheepishly described my problem as follows: “I’m not sure you can help me, but I have been listening to this book for two months and I can’t stand the sound of the narrator’s voice. He sounds sarcastic to me. I have listened to two hours of it. Is there any chance you can remove it from my library and give me the credit back?”
The customer service rep didn’t act as if this was a strange request at all, but it did sound as if she was smiling as she took my account information and arranged for the return of a credit for the book. It took a couple of minutes, and she stayed on the line until I saw my five credits increase to six credits upon refreshing the Audible web page.
I wouldn’t have been surprised if the answer had been, “Sorry, Charlie. You’ve had the book for more than 30 days.”
But you know what? It turns out Audible’s policy is that you can return a book any time you decide you don’t like it for a full year after you buy it.
With my new credit, I bought a book whose narrator has a terrific voice, to my ear, and a great story to tell. It’s Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson Vol. I by Robert Caro. It’s so good that Darlene and I spent a half hour listening to it after supper last night and she asked me not to listen to it without her being able to join me.
This is how a company like Amazon builds customer connections that just keep getting stronger. They continually surprise you. If you’ve got something bugging you about an Amazon or Audible product, call them and tell them about it. You may be amazed, too.