Positive customer service experience with Amazon

I recently read Vanessa Woods’ book Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo. If you haven’t already read this book, I can highly recommend it. It’s part history lesson, part love story, and part research paper—an engaging and thoughtful read!

This was my first ebook purchase from Amazon.com, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I read the book mostly in the Kindle reader on my new iPad, but I also read a few chapters on my iPhone when I didn’t have my iPad handy. I found the reading experience with the Kindle app very enjoyable. The text was very readable, and rendered crisply on the high-DPI retina displays of my two iOS devices. The Kindle app remembered my place in the book, even when I resumed reading on a different device.

I did notice a few minor annoyances though, and I took the time to report one of these to Amazon:
In the “Bonobo Handshake” ebook, the floral ornaments in the chapter headings (as well as the small ornaments between sections) are rendered poorly:
1. They are tiny and do not scale well on high DPI screens such as the iPad 3;
2. They lack transparency, causing the background of the ornament graphic to clash with the page;
3. They contain ugly visual artifacts of the image compression algorithm; and
4. They are displayed only in black-on-white, so they appear jarringly out of place when viewing the book as white text on a black background.
To my surprise, I received a reply almost immediately. Following the link in the email, I soon found myself in a web chat with a helpful fellow at Amazon named Dinesh. After I explained exactly what I was referring to by ‘floral ornaments’, he was able to see the same problem. He thanked me for bringing it to his attention, and offered to refund the purchase. I explained to him that I didn’t think this was necessary, and that I just wanted to bring it to Amazon’s attention so that the author’s work could be presented in the best possible way. Dinesh thanked me again, and told me that he would inform the appropriate team.

He then did something that I didn’t expect: he granted me the original purchase price of the book as a ‘promotional credit’—in his words, to make up for the inconvenience, and to thank me for taking the time to provide feedback. I was already happy that what many would no doubt consider a very minor nitpick had even been taken seriously. I was positively delighted that Amazon valued me enough to compensate me for my input.

I am quite impressed by this experience, and I will be shopping at Amazon.com again soon.

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