User Experience behind the e-commerce Empire

From the homes to the trunks of your car, Amazon has access to everything you do: what you eat, wear, and play or basically how you use your time round the year, month and day. It doesn’t matter which part of the world you reside in, as long as you have a valid credit card, you are their prime member.

My mother subscribed to their free services when they launched Amazon Prime in India. But after a while, they started deducting a monthly fee of around $12. And my mother was clueless why they were charging although she never used any of their services like movies or music. She was not esavvy either to regularly transact online. Often, she leant her card to her daughter in law to buy groceries and other emergency home needs. So, she asked if she had purchased anything and was paying the EMI of $12. The daughter-in-law denied but Amazon kept billing the monthly charges. No amount of calling the customer care in India resolved the problem. They flatly denied issuing the bill and cut the conversation. And the monthly bill continued to frustrate my mother for phantom services she did not avail.

It was only after my brother-in-law arrived from Australia and called the customer care, and figured that the billing was from Amazon.com and not from Amazon.in. Once we called the Dotcom guys, the issue was resolved quickly and politely, which was not the case when we were trying to resolve the issue by calling the Amazon dotin customer care. They just said, we are not billing it and refused to go beyond denial to actually solve the problem adding to user frustration and potentially losing customers, of not just one user but the entire family members with different user needs, taste and age.

Now, what does this translate to? That the smartest analytics will not solve what a simple human centric approach can do. That customer service means different things in different time zones and geographies, although you are driven by the same company process. It is a cultural thing. That, User experience is much more than the seasonal concept you come up with, or the design and the tools with which you execute it flawlessly, it is the cultural nuances that connect the dots throughout the customer journey that counts more than the technology or the process to make it seamless. Technology can connect multiple platforms and devices, but it takes a culturally sensitive human approach to make the user experience magical. And it is that magic that separates one company from another, help build its brand and retain its customers.

Written by: Jyothi Kiran