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I love my parents, and I would do anything for them; but since the advent of the PC era, unconditional support has meant unconditional tech support.

As a result, I invariably recommend devices to my parents where I know they can get all the help they need. Up until today, that was Apple because of its amazing Genius Bar. Now, Amazon has debuted its own smart phone with a 24/7 digital support system so much better than Apple’s, I may recommend a new phone for the holidays.

 READ MORE: Here’s Amazon’s Fire Phone

Amazon’s new Fire smartphone comes pre-loaded with its innovative Mayday service, a constantly on-call, real-human assistant who can walk users step-by-step through the most common issues. Mayday assistants can even draw directly on the screen. (Below is a live demo.)


And it gets better. Amazon’s new Fire phone comes integrated into a music streaming service and the company’s expansive retail outlet. Anecdotes from users show that Mayday assistants will help with everything from ordering a product to getting past a difficult level in Angry Birds. This ecosytem pretty much gives my parents everything they’d need from a device.

Amazon’s average response time is 9.75 seconds, which is hours less than having to drive to an Apple store and minutes less than calling a typical customer service hotline. According to Amazon, 75 percent of Kindle questions now come through Mayday. Other unusual use cases include:

  • Giving advice on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Singing “Happy Birthday” to a significant other
  • Drawing a unicorn
  • Accepting a user’s hand in marriage (yes, you read that right)

For Amazon, the upselling opportunities are endless. If my parents want help sending me a birthday card, it’s an obvious opportunity for a friendly Mayday assistant to ask what they’ll be buying and conveniently to direct them to the product on Amazon.

Another side benefit of Mayday is an upsurge in jobs. Part-time freelancers who answer video questions at home are part of the growing contingent workforce. If Mayday truly scales, it’ll need thousands of new employees.

Amazon’s new phone has an uphill battle, but if a child’s recommendations influence how their parents buy, they could find a very import niche to break into the crowded smartphone market.

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