I really like the idea of Amazon's Mayday button

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: November 11, 2013

On any given day I can work as a technical support representative, emergency recovery specialist, or technology breakdown preventer to family and friends (or even complete strangers, depending on where I am). It's been like that for as long as I can remember, and I have no illusions that it's going away anytime soon. The majority of text messages I get these days are people asking me about their phone, or tablet, or something else that's got bits and pieces of technology inside it.

I've been asked, "What's wrong with my new refrigerator?" and when I told them I had no idea, they responded by informing me it was a Samsung model with a touchscreen. As if that would suddenly kick in some kind of strange almanac of information on the particular model, and I'd know exactly what was wrong.

I don't mind it, honestly, even when it's from complete strangers at stores and I'm just minding my own business. (How do they know!?) And I'm sure that any of you out there who do the same for family and friends (and occasionally a stranger, too) don't mind, either. Anything to help, right? Plus, it feels good to fix something that someone else needs.

At the same time, though, I can't help but wonder if maybe, just maybe, it should be up to the company that created the product without any extra string pulling.

Yes, companies have tech support for a certain length of time, and you can usually spend additional money to get your warranty to cover your device for even longer, but I've generally never really had all that much fun or good luck from calling someone, somewhere else who can't see my phone or tablet. That's why I figure it out myself these day. But not everyone wants to figure it out for themselves, or has the time. That's why technical support is so important for these devices that are using more and more technology with each subsequent release.

Enter Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX series. The tablets released not too long ago, and with it came a brand new feature that Amazon thinks is pretty great -- and I tend to agree with them on it. It's called Mayday, and there have been demos of the service for about a month now. They have a TV spot that shows off the service really well, perfectly explaining what it does, how it works, and why it's such a good service to have for something that's supposed to be embedded in our lives.

If you don't know, Amazon's Mayday button is a service tied to the new Kindle Fire HDX tablets, and allows for the user to be connected to an Amazon expert to help them through technical issues, questions they may have about their tablet, or change settings and other similar things. It's available every single day of the week, every day of the year, and it's totally free. No extra charges.

This is obviously a service that Amazon could charge for, especially to extend a warranty, but they don't. So, good on them.

I wish Amazon's Mayday button and service would catch on with other manufacturers. I know that the service doesn't really work if you can't access the screen for some reason, but I think it's a great addition to the other options out there. And, what's more, I think it's awesome that Amazon is investing so much in the service to make sure that customers are taken care of when they need to be.

Do you think it's a good idea for a company like Amazon, or any company out there that creates devices and sells them to people, to offer up more --free-- options for customer/technical service? Have you used Amazon's Mayday feature yet? If so, what did you think? Do you think this is something Apple, Samsung or Microsoft should consider? Let me know!