I’ve owned a Kindle 3 since last October and have really enjoyed it. I don’t read it every day, but probably read it once a week. The other day I picked it up to read one of my books and noticed two small hairline cracks on the plastic bezel emanating from the bottom corners of the screen. I knew I hadn’t dropped it or smashed it (it sits in a cabinet when not in use) so was curious how I’d gotten these cracks. A quick Google search found that this is not an uncommon occurrence for the Kindle 3 and that Amazon would replace them for free.

So I contacted Amazon via my account. They called me back immediately (you can’t really call them) and I explained the issue. The rep asked me one question (“Did you drop it?”) and then told what would happen next: they would email me a free return shipping label and immediately ship (next day) a new Kindle to replace my “broken” one. The entire exchange took less than five minutes and I had my new Kindle the next day. You can’t ask for better service than that.

When discussing customer service with my clients, I always point out that Amazon sets the standard for what your members and customers expect. Fair or not, all of your customers are consumers, and the vast majority of them have interacted with companies like Amazon (or Zappos or other online stores). And because they’ve interacted with Amazon, they EXPECT all of their interactions to be just as effortless, seamless and pleasurable. Unfair, but reality.

My latest experience with Amazon simply reemphasizes how Amazon continues to set the standard for customer service. How close can your association come to replicating this level of service? Your members expect it.