A Not so Prime Experience
“Hey is this Zak?”
“-Heavy breathing- What’s your apartment number?”
** feels uneasy
Zak is a user experience and industrial designer here at RKS. We sat down with him because he has been receiving phone calls from Amazon about his recent orders.
At first when you told us about your Prime phone call it was concerning yet forgivable because nothing is perfect, but now this has happened more than once. As a user experience designer, why do you think this is unacceptable?
“A little back story, I live in a secure apartment complex, meaning a courier like Fedex cannot simply walk up to my door without passing through two doors requiring a key card or pin. Recently, I ordered some items on Amazon, which I have used many times before moving to this apartment complex. These particular experiences started out the same as the rest, I received my confirmation email, then an email saying my item has shipped, and finally an email saying that my package will be delivered today. Later that morning I received a phone call from a man who was breathing heavily. He immediately just asked if I was Zak and what my apartment number is...”
“At first, I was wondering if it was a scam, that this man had somehow gained access to my building and wanted to break into my apartment while I was at work.”
“Skeptically, I figured out he was a third-party Amazon Delivery Service employee, I told him my apartment number and he immediately realized that my unit number had been printed on the label the entire time. Maybe they need to reconsider the shipping information hierarchy for their couriers?”
“Like most people, I use Amazon for its seamless e-commerce experience, competitive prices and 2-day shipping (Prime). My experiences with Prime have been pleasant until recently, where both experiences were ruined as soon as the package entered my building.”
“The increased adoption of food delivery services that Amazon now provides continues to make me think about their current and future customer interactions and ways to begin improving upon them.”
Amazon has a reputation of having superb customer experience. If a package gets lost, they send another one immediately or refund you, if a package is damaged, don’t stress, they will send another.
Imagine all of the scenarios where Zak’s phone call could have gone differently. If it were me, I would have hung up the phone thinking that it was one of the ‘this is your home security system calling you’ people. Or if it was my grandma, she would have gotten really upset and scared to have a heavy breathing person on the other line asking where she lives. Or, what if Zak did not answer his phone, would the package have been delivered?
With Amazon now owning Whole Foods and designing experiences where packages can be placed inside someone’s house rather than on the front door step, user trust is becoming increasingly important. With one simple mistake, like not introducing yourself on the phone before asking for someone’s address, trust can be eliminated in a blink of an eye. In a recent Wall Street Journal Video, Amazon’s global presence is analyzed. Wall Street Journal also questions if Amazon will become the next UPS or FedEx. If this were to be true, the user experience for Amazon’s couriers would need to be designed to be as seamless and enjoyable as their other touchpoints.