If Done Right, Nice Begets Nice


I got amazing results dealing with Kindle Direct Publishing’s customer service this week.  It took a while to get there, but I made sure not to back down, to stay consistently respectful, made sure my communication always asked for their help solving the problem (rather than accusing them of being the problem), and when I opened the sales page for “Happiness as a Second Language” this morning, everything was fixed, and all to my satisfaction. Hooray!

At which point, I did the most important step in the process.  I thanked them.
I sent this email:


I was thrilled to go to my page today and see this issue resolved.  I
will now start several major promotions of this title, and hopefully
make Amazon a lot of money.

I truly appreciate your efforts and assistance.

Valerie Alexander
Happiness as a Second Language

Almost instantly, I got this reply:


Thank you for letting us know that everything has worked out.  We always like to hear from our publishers, and we’re glad you took the time to write to us.

As always, please feel free to contact us should you have future questions or comments. Thanks for your continued interest in Amazon KDP.

Kindle Direct Publishing

Now, I have no way of knowing if they keep files of such things, but I hope they do.  I hope next time I have an issue with KDP and have to reach out to them, someone will see a record of a decent customer, willing to work with them to come to a satisfactory resolution, and appreciative of a positive outcome.

And if they don’t keep files like that, no loss.  I still did the right thing, and can be happy with how everything turned out.

Never forget, the person on the other end of your email is just that – a person.  And it’s just as easy to be nice as to be a raging ass, and generally being nice gets you farther.  It’s gotten me upgraded to first class, it’s gotten me to the front of the line, a table in a crowded restaurant, the last seat on a plane, it got the (horrid) woman at our health center to schedule an appointment for me even though my referral hadn’t come in yet.

Nice just works.

Even when it doesn’t, I can tell myself that being a jerk wouldn’t have worked either, and at least this way, I can respect myself in the morning.
(and if you’ve read the book, you know how important that is to my happiness…)

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11 thoughts on “If Done Right, Nice Begets Nice

  • Writer / Mummy

    A colleague of mine used to say Honey catches more flies than vinegar. (Which is ironic, because she was always being mean and then walked out to drop the manager in it!) Anyway, I always remember that phrase (she said it often), even though I don’t always remember to live by it. My last contact with Amazon wasn’t as polite (they had deleted my first five-star review and I didn’t know that was standard practise when the other reviewer is an author). Your post is a good reminder to delete the first ranty email and write a second, nicer, one!

  • speakhappiness

    I have a one-hour rule on email when I’m angry. I always force myself to wait an hour before hitting send. That’s when phrases that seemed harmless when I wrote them (like, “and if you weren’t just driven by greed”) get removed, since they don’t add anything to the discussion.

  • jadereyner

    Ain’t that the truth! It’s just a shame that vast majority of society don’t agree with you and sometimes you find yourself being in the minority. I always try to be nice, kind, respectful and thoughtful but too often it is not reciprocated. However…. like you say, even if it makes no difference, at least you can hold your head up high and know that you did the right thing. That’s kind of how I operate too. Well done for getting your KDP issue resolved and I have to say that I have found them to be very helpful too. 🙂

  • Jennifer

    So true! I’ve been trying to follow this principle myself and it’s so much more productive towards resolving a problem, and makes it so much more pleasant (or at least less unpleasant) for everyone involved, myself included. I recently had a series of interactions with my internet provider regarding an ongoing problem, part of which was caused by incorrect information one of the customer service reps had given me. It was a very frustrating situation, but I made a conscious resolution to remain friendly, tactful, and focused on solving the problem, rather than lashing out at the rep in frustration or focusing on blame. Doing this actually helped my frustration and aggravation to subside a lot, in addition to keeping the interaction more productive and respectful towards the person I was dealing with.

  • chrismcmullen

    I have mostly had good experience with KDP, AuthorCentral, CreateSpace, and Amazon representatives. You’re right, a good attitude showing through the message can absolutely make a difference. They must receive an incredible number of emails, and no doubt a significant number of them would be quite unpleasant to read. The responder will be in a much better mood when he or she sees a polite message.

    There must also be a large number of emails on specific topics. For example, they must receive a ton of request to remove bad reviews. Many of the authors making these requests probably show their frustration and drag the conversation on as long as permitted.

    Then there are keywords, for which there is a standard response. Occasionally, they send a standard reply that doesn’t resolve the issue, but does relate to some keywords that were used.

    So we have to be patient, polite, and try to explain things very clearly.

    I’d have to say that their service is excellent for the sheer number of inquiries that they must receive and the fraction of these that must be fairly unpleasant (if the community forums are any indication of what to expect). Nice post. 🙂

  • Brian P. Kayser

    Nice post. I have been dealing with them for a good month trying to fix a problem with the category my book was being put in. It took eight emails to finally iron it out, but they finally did. I did not plan on sending a final thank-you but maybe I will. I didn’t plan to because it always seemed to be a different person on each interaction, but maybe I will now. I did try to remain positive and nice even though it did take a long time to resolve.

    • speakhappiness

      I had the same experience (a different support rep with each email), but I still think the “Thank you” is a good idea. Assume that it gets shared collectively among the team. Or tell yourself it gets opened by the person who needs it most at that moment. Either way, sending it will make you happy. Frankly, I was pretty surprised to get a reply to my Thank You email, which goes to show that it meant something to them. Thinking about Chris’ comment above, we can guess that probably 1 out of 50 emails that they get in a day is something kind and happy, so why not be the person who sends that one?