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Forget spending hours on the phone with tech support.

On Christmas Day, Amazon proved that its new “Mayday” feature, which instantly connects Kindle Fire HDX owners with an Amazon customer service representatives via video chat, more than lives up to its promises. Amazon said that Mayday help requests were answered by reps in just 9 seconds on average, much faster than the 15 second response time they typically aim for.

The Mayday feature, which is free and available 24 hours a day every day of the year, is Amazon’s attempt at quashing frustration with its products instantly. Amazon’s reps can’t see you when you request Mayday help, but they can see what’s on your Kindle Display, highlight portions of the screen, and communicate with you via voice chat.

While Apple revolutionized consumer tech support with its expert service reps at retail stores, Amazon is going a step further by connecting customers with help without them having to even get off their couch. With its 9-second average response time on Christmas, Amazon proved that it can effectively scale the feature to handle an onslaught of new customers (something that many early critics didn’t think was possible).

Amazon also said that it sold around 1 million Prime memberships in the third week of December. Prime and Mayday have one big thing in common: They help Amazon inspire a fierce sense of loyalty among its customers. Why would you shop anywhere else when you’ve got reliable two-day shipping with Amazon Prime? And why would you buy another tablet in the future without the Mayday instant tech support feature?

Amazon is notoriously secretive, so we have no clue how much it’s shelling out to support the Mayday feature. But no matter the cost, it’s a clear way to differentiate the Kindle Fire HDX tablets from all the competition. In today’s hyper-competitive gadget world, that’s priceless.


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