A Tale of Kick-Butt Service

I love Zappos.iStock_000015017344Medium

Hard to remember when I first heard about Tony Hsieh, Zappos’ CEO. Digging back into my memory banks, I think it was when I was still with Microsoft and Tony’s company, LinkExchange was acquired for a hefty sum. I remember thinking…a multi-millionaire at 24? I barely had a steady job at that age. WOW!

But I don’t love Zappos because I’m a big shoe buyer. Contrary to urban myth, not all women are! I don’t like “traditional” shopping either. I love the Internet; hate going to the mall. There is something so deliciously fun and easy about having packages delivered right to your door. I admit that my face lights up when I come home from a meeting and find presents waiting for me. So what if I sent them, it’s still fun.

OK, I got off track for a moment.

I am a Zappos customer.

When I need shoes or athletic wear, I’ve bought from them. They have other great stuff too. Point is that the process has always been smooth and easy. Though I’ve purchased from Zappos, that isn’t the only reason I am a fan. For starters, I love their CEO.

As CEO, Tony is quite engaged on social media. He interacts and engages with people online and demonstrates that he cares about the people who buy from him. His beliefs around culture and service mirror mine.

And who can’t love a company whose CEO pens a book called Delivering Happiness?

The company culture is amazing. Heck, they are so keen to get the right people into their culture of excellence, that they’ll pay you to walk away if you do not fit.

Service practices should be designed to make your life, as a buyer, easy. Zappos has got this down. You can automatically return something that you ordered from them if it doesn’t work for you with no hassle AND for free. The return authorization is sent with your order.

I love Zappos, and I had also never had a problem until…

On 2/4, I placed an order. Fine with the regular shipping, I figured the order would arrive around the 8th. Then I receive the confirmation email today that says my order just shipped. What? Ordered 2/4 but not shipped until 2-days later? I took to Twitter with my question at 3:56pm Eastern.

Bam! 4:01pm Eastern I had a response. The response wasn’t a lame…click this link and report your problem here…a real person was actually engaging me.

This is the exchange that ensued (read from the bottom up):


I had selected the free shipping, because I wasn’t in a big hurry. But when I saw that 2-days had elapsed between order and ship date, I was a bit annoyed. I wanted an answer as to why my order wasn’t shipped sooner. That had never happened before.

The support rep didn’t justify, argue or give me excuses. I’m simply told my shipping was upgraded; I can expect my order tomorrow. That is seriously cool!

I didn’t actually receive an answer to my question about what went wrong, but obviously something went awry. OR, maybe I misunderstood the email and that’s why the rep said “no worries” when I inquired if I’d made the mistake. Again, no blame assigned to me…the customer. The way the service person handled it, who cares what went wrong, if anything?

That’s the lesson.

When things go wrong or customers misunderstand your communication, all that is expected is that you make it right. WOW them! Don’t make their life challenging or difficult. Don’t put the burden on them. Just handle it.

If you compare this story to the one I shared in my prior post about Infusionsoft and their “make it a challenge to cancel my account policy”, the differences are stark. Point of fact, I have spent a heck of a lot more money with Infusionsoft than Zappos, but Zappos treated me as if I have been spending thousands on Christian Louboutin’s for years. Not only will I continue to be a loyal buyer, which will translate into thousands over time, I will continue to tell everyone I know to buy Zappos!

Finally, what I really love is that Zappos understands that their customers will interact with them in ways that suit them. Zappos’s doesn’t force you to communicate with them in their way, they adapt to YOUR WAY! They actually have people manning a Twitter account who are clearly held to responding fast. I contrast that with other companies who claim to have service presence online but never actually respond to you.

Zappos gets an A+ from me. They are a shining example of what kick-butt service looks like AND feels like to the customer. If you don’t buy from them – you should!

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