The Washington Post
ran a piece today that described a desperate seller who was unable to reach Amazon customer support after his account was hacked. According to the article, negative reviews of his service accumulated, decimating his business. "One thing he hadn't done was pay as much as $5,000 a month for a program Amazon offers sellers as a way to get quick help from a real person."
The Washington Post said the seller's business was ruined as a result, but another seller who had ponied up the $5,000/month for special treatment avoided ruin when his business encountered problems.
An Amazon spokesperson "declined to comment on individual sellers' experiences" and told the Post it handled over 40 million contacts from sellers last year, "and that 80 percent of their issues were resolved within 24 hours." But the spokesperson failed to convincingly address the implication that Amazon is letting some sellers down unless they pay extra for customer service.
In defending the company, the spokesperson told the newspaper that Amazon invests billions of dollars in digital tools and physical infrastructure to help sellers thrive. "Amazon only succeeds when sellers succeed and any claims to the contrary are simply wrong," Evans said. "Sellers have full control of their business and make the decisions that are best from them, including the products they choose to sell, pricing, and how they choose to fulfill orders."
Those "billions of dollars" include global investments, presumably places like India where Amazon is trying to grow its foothold.
"Amazon spends billions of dollars every year to help small and medium-sized businesses around the globe succeed in Amazon's stores. In addition to infrastructure, personnel, tools, and services, investments go towards programs such as Amazon Storefronts, Amazon Handmade, Amazon Launchpad, Amazon Business, Fulfillment by Amazon, Amazon Global Selling, Merch by Amazon, and Amazon Lending, which help small businesses grow."
The presumption is that sellers should be ever so grateful to Amazon - but note that Amazon charges sellers fees for each and every one of those programs, including Amazon Lending.
Sellers appreciate platforms like Amazon that help them grow, but it's a two-way street - Amazon also benefits from its army of third-party merchants through greater product selection and increased revenue. Where do you find it falls in terms of customer service compared to other venues on which you sell?