Amazon experimenting with “co-pilot” help function

Amazon experimenting with “co-pilot” help function

Amazon has highly-rated Customer Service.

It has typically lead the annual Foresee survey, although intriguingly, and perhaps significantly, it dropped quite a bit for 2014 according to this

Foresee press release

In this brief excerpt, they say:

“The 2014 AXI reveals that Amazon, the undisputed king of online customer satisfaction since the first report in 2005, slipped to a score of 83, tying with QVC for the highest score among the top 100 e-commerce sites measured.”

While they suggest it had to do in part with a perception of Amazon’s price competitiveness (and that’s certainly possible), I suspect that the Hachazon War (their dispute with publisher Hachette) had something to do with it. I genuinely think that hurt customer perception, and there may not have been a good place to mark that on the survey. The rise in the annual Prime subscription price from $79 to $99 may also have affected that this year.

Still, Mayday (available on some Fire tablets) and the Fire Phone is (in my opinion) one of the greatest Customer Service innovations in the past ten years. It’s almost instant onscreen technical help. They can tell you what to do, or takeover your device (with your permission) and do it for you.

Now, it appears that Amazon is experimenting with a similar “remote support” option on the website.

I first became aware of it with a comment from one of the other Kindle Forum Pros.

Unlike some things Amazon “A/B tests” (different people see different things, so you can figure out what works best), I can see this one, and I’m guessing you can, too.

Called “Co-Pilot” (or “Copilot”…they are inconsistent), it seems to me that it is intended to be used in a manner similar to the way I can use PC Anywhere at work to help people.

It would be used when you were on the phone with Customer Service.

The Customer Service rep would give you a code, which you enter into a box in your browser.

You can see the co-pilot option by going to Help on an Amazon website when viewing Amazon.com and then going to “Need More Help?” You can then see it (I would guess…probably only compatible with some browsers at this point) in the options (in the screenshot below, it’s the bottom right choice):

Copilot Menu

Once you click or tap that, you then get a place you can enter a code, which would be given to you by the representative.

They say the code is only good for five minutes, and that the rep can only see “…active Amazon.com web pages and cannot see other web pages or information on your computer.”

The way I would picture this working is that you contact Amazon Customer Service. You are having trouble getting something to work on the site…perhaps something at

Manage Your Kindle

site.

The rep would ask you if you would like them to “co-pilot” it with you…see what is happening on your computer.

When I am at work, I can actually take over somebody’s computer (with their permission…they have to acknowledge a pop-up), but my guess here is that they’ll only see it, not actually control it.

If you say yes, they give you a code, which you enter. At that point, something would happen, and the rep could see what is happening on your screen, so they can help you. “See the third choice from the top that says, ‘Manage Your Devices’?” It would be something like that.

I haven’t had a need to use it yet, and I don’t want to use their resources unnecessarily.

Have any of you used Amazon Co-pilot yet? If so, what was your experience?

This is another way, I think, that Amazon is trying to become the “Internet Interface”.

I see that as an essential part of their retail strategy (which is not their only strategy).

Amazon could (and I’m not saying they would) raises prices if people still preferred to shop through them.

One way to do that is through Customer Service. If they have this co-pilot thing, and others don’t, that’s going to have a big appeal for the less techie.

That’s where Amazon has really made market inroads.

That was the success of the Kindle in 2007: other EBRs (E-Book Readers) existed in the US market…more than ten of them. However, they were comparatively hard to use, not downloading the books wirelessly. Amazon essentially created the USA e-book mass market by making it appealing to non-techies.

It’s also important to note that it wasn’t cheap in the beginning…the first Kindle was almost $400. Some people get this mistaken idea that Amazon is all about discounting, and being the online Wal-Mart. That’s not the case, or at least, that’s only part of it. Amazon stresses Service, Selection, and Price.

The Amazon Echo (mine is supposed to arrive in May…or June…or July)😉 is another big part of this strategy.

It’s an “always listening” example of ambient computing, and may become some people’s go to way to get to the internet when they are at home.

Even if they use it to access competitors’ sites, eventually, Amazon can monetize it by charging those other companies.

I’ve said it before, but I also think that’s part of the plan. Sell things to customers inexpensively (or mostly inexpensively), and make money on the actual process of it being sold. That doesn’t mean that Amazon has to do the selling…it could just do the interface, as it does now with third-party sellers.

Amazon Co-pilot is a fascinating unannounced move from Amazon, and I think it is part of their future…and our future relationship with them.

Update: I was given permission to post this from Amazon:

“Amazon Co-Pilot is in beta testing at the moment. It works when viewing Amazon.com from a PC or laptop browser, and works best with IE 8 (and higher), Firefox 14 (and higher), and Safari 6 (and higher).”

Join more than a thousand readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

One Response to “Amazon experimenting with “co-pilot” help function”

  1. A brand new (May)day…a big change for Amazon’s “greatest feature” | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Amazon experimenting with “co-pilot” help function […]

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