Zappos: Nobody Does Customer Service Better

You can’t have a conversation about customer service without eventually mentioning (or even opening the conversation) with Zappos.

Here is a company that has been around for 11 years, is strictly internet (no bricks and mortar) that has consistently given particular attention to…..the phone.

That’s right. Here we are in the 21st Century when everyone is supposedly doing all their shopping over the internet, never wants to talk to a customer service person, prefers the anonymity of social media, email, and online ordering.

But Zappos discovered that, on average, their customers call them on the phone at least once during the relationship. And what can most quickly turn off and lose a customer? A poor experience with customer service.

So Zappos has gone out of its way to find the right people to interact with their customers, whether it be phone, live chat, or any other channel. In fact, Tony Hsieh’s preference is to spend money on customer service knowing that it is a better investment than advertising. Done right, great customer service will create its own advertising in the form of word of mouth (WOM) from ecstatic customers.

Here is a link to an article Hsieh did for the Harvard Business Review that outlines his customer service philosophy:

Seven Ways to Acheive Exceptional Customer Service

While you are there, be sure to look at the types of conversations Zappos agents may have (see Timmy conversation). Rather than make a customer mad and have them walk, possibly straight to social media to vent, Zappos encourages its agents to make every possible accomodation to the customer’s preference.

None of Hsieh’s seven ways is new or extraordinary. What makes the service extraordinary is committment to the essence of the steps and following through on them: not begruding agents time to handle a call, being sure you are easy to reach, putting the customer service culture in place.

We have all heard these pieces of advice over and over, yet for some reason we don’t always embrace the concept. And the Zappos story doesn’t shake us awake to the possibilities, nothing will.

What is your opinion on Zappos and Tony Hsieh’s performance? Do you think you could duplicate it in your organization? Why or why not?

Leave us a comment. We would love to talk more about it.

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