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What is good customer service?

Posted On April 4, 2013

Zappos.com and The Wow Factor.

Zappos, an online shoe and apparel superstore, has such phenomenal customer service that they have made a side business out of teaching others the methods behind their success. You know you must be on to something good when other retailers are looking to you for guidance!

Although online shopping has become much more common place lately, shoppers still have a bit of an intimidation factor when buying online without the face to face interaction they are accustom to. It would be very easy for an online retailer to get too caught up in the technological features of their website and lose sight of the customer experience.

Zappos made sure this didn’t happen to them by making their first core value, “Deliver WOW through service.” When you’re talking about an online store, customer service is taking place 100% by call center employees. Zappos’ call center consists of 500+ employees located in Las Vegas, Nevada who receive a staggering seven weeks worth of training!

Most call centers have rigid metrics that stipulate how long a representative can stay on the phone with each customer and the emphasis is on quantity not quality. Zappos has turned this idea on its head and instead evaluates each call based on the customer’s satisfaction and the willingness of the employee to put in the effort. At Zappos a call center representative must spend 80% of their time on customer calls. It doesn’t matter if that time was spent on 1 call or 100 calls, as long as the customer’s needs were met. This includes creating an emotional connection to the customer and chatting is encouraged.

That’s why you will see Zappos customer service stories that involve extra-long phone calls (the record is a staggering 10 hours), employees buying out of stock items at rival stores, providing free overnight shipping in “emergency” situations, and much more. There is even a story that Zappos sent “get well” flowers to a customer after they noticed her purchase of several pairs of shoes due to a medical procedure she had on her feet. This is a company that truly cares about their clients and it’s why their loyal customers come back again and again.

Have you ever bought an expensive pair of shoes for an event that never happened and 6 months later, after never wearing them once, suddenly experience buyer’s remorse? If you bought those shoes at Zappos.com then you’re in luck – the store has a very liberal return policy that asks no questions and extends up to one year from date of purchase. This policy actually costs Zappos money but they make up for it in repeat customer purchases and positive word of mouth advertising. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money, even when it comes to customer service policies!

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