Image with text "customer service? what's that???"

Customer Service on a Mobius Strip

Audible.com’s Customer Service? Currently non-existent…

So… The Story…

A few weeks ago (May 18th) I purchased the Roald Dahl audiobook Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts after coming across a preview of the book where the words “dirty slut” made an appearance. Naturally I had to buy it.

Then the trouble started, during the checkout process I had selected to pay cash instead of use an Audible credit… the book costs $7 if you pay by credit card or 1 Audible credit.
Now once you stop getting the promotional rates at Audible.com, each credit costs you $15+. Meaning if I had used 1 credit instead of paying cash the book would have cost me 100% more… which I am absolutely not okay with.
“Yes I’d like to pay double for the same product” said no one ever.

After contacting Audible.com on the 18th, I received nothing back from them. Not even a “We’re looking into it” message. I waited a week, assuming that perhaps they’re overworked and you just gotta allow some wiggle room for people. Nothing. I sent my second email to them stating my problem and asking for my credit back and to pay cash instead. It is now the 1st of June and I haven’t received anything from Audible.com.
Now that’s customer service.

The fact that I have to put this much effort in for $7 is absolutely absurd. This could have been wrapped up in a matter of seconds by Audible.com. But thanks to multiple weeks of my problem going unaddressed, it’s now gone beyond economic concerns for me. It’s now more a question of right and wrong.

So onto my third email to them…

The Business of Art

It’s nice to have a real world example of an art business failing to meet its customers needs… really sets things into perspective.

If you sell art, cultural products, take note of this. Audible.com acts as a platform for artists to distribute their art (audiobooks) to people. The artists make the art… so what’s Audible’s job? The technology and customer service. They’re in charge of getting the audiobook from the creator, onto the customer’s device, and to make sure that whole process goes smoothly and their customers needs are met. In this case not only did Audible’s checkout fail, but their customer service has been non-existent. They’ve done neither part of their job.

So if you’re interested in selling your art to people this may spell an opportunity for you… perhaps customer service is what people really want out of artists. Maybe it’s a 50 – 50 split. Maybe people would like to consume your art but would also like you to help them in the process.

For an artist, I suppose this could mean everything from offering comprehensive instructions with your painting to devoting a large portion of your time to answering emails on your band’s website…

How you meet people’s needs is up to you, they just need to be met.

An Aside…

I’m genuinely interested in finding out what excuse for their behavior they’ll offer me. I wonder if it’ll be the standard ‘blame technology‘ excuse or the second most common ‘blame the customer‘ excuse.

 

Update

A short while after the third email, Audible finally got on top of my problem.

Audible.com gave no excuse but went ahead and got me my credit back… which is nice. It only took 2+ weeks and three emails, but like I just mentioned above… it only takes a handful of seconds to solve my problem.

The issue was getting them to spend those seconds.

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Steve Zissou

Steve Zissou - a pen name. But who cares. Jordan works too.

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