What can we learn from Zappos' customer service?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Try publicly declaring that a business built primarily on customer service could flourish just like any other trades out there, and certainly, you will raise eyebrows from anyone who would hear it— that is, if it was 2008, the time when online shoe store Zappos has yet to ramp up its high quality customer care initiatives.

For Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, you can take away everything from his company, but not his drive for satisfying his customers to the fullest. And he is serious about it: there was a time when he stashed a large amount meant to be for advertising expenditures and invested it in customer care instead, something that's become a practice and continues up to this day.

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh
He even allows his employees to spend money on their customers by allowing them to send gifts, discounts cards, and rebates in the belief that these would later be converted into positive customer satisfaction. Well, wouldn't you be happy if the customer support representative on the other end of the line gives you freebies just to ensure you're satisfied with their services?

Simply put, customer service is a personal initiative in Zappos. Hsieh doesn't just bark at his employees to learn how to satisfy their respective customers the way he wants it—he gives them the free will to think of ways how to make them happy. And whatever the cost of this idea—however insane or unbelievable this could be—would be "all-expense" paid by the company.

Customer satisfaction is a serious business in Zappos. New employees are welcomed with a four-week extensive training program wherein they are taught how to satisfy customers without memorizing repetitive and predictable scripts we usually get from other call centers. Everyone gets an offer of $2000 to quit because Zappos only wants employees who really want to work with them.

Zappos has taught us that there is no excuse in providing great customer experience. Not cost, not incapable customer care representative, or not even any hurdle you could think of now that could stop a company from giving what the customers need, for customer service is still the main essence that makes people decide to put up a trade—yes, even before profit or making money. How about you? How do you value your customers?

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Photo credit: Zappos.com