Monday, July 7, 2008

Can we be as good as Zappos?

While watching Nightline, I actually found myself getting depressed about a story on how good Zappos (mainly online shoes) is as a company. Would it be easy to operate like that, or hard?

Imagine being so customer-focused that you'd intentionally send your customers to a competitor if you didn't have a product; offer new employees cash to leave (to test their commitment); ensure that every single phone call is handled with techniques from the best customer service training; and be able to give employees 100% knowing that it can pay off in the long run? Well that's what Zappos apparently does.

Here's a few things I wrote down while watching the report:

1. Brand is customer service;
2. If don't have a product, find on other site and direct customer to competitor;
3. Expose employees to every part of the business (e.g., how warehouse works);
4. 4-week telephone training class for all employees, even if don't use phone much;
5. Provide 100% coverage for health and dental - and free food;
6. Don't outsource to other countries;
7. Offer trainees $2000 to leave - because only want to keep those with passion.

Reminded me that it was the same company Seth Godin wrote about where employees are kind just to be kind; such as this story where a woman was grieving and to make her life easier Zappos arranged for UPS to come pick up the shoes (they don't charge for shipping either direction). Also sent her a bouquet of flowers. And she burst into tears being a "sucker for kindness" and told everyone to order shoes from them.

Can we be as good as Zappos? Or even sort of as good?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And not only is that kind of customer service the ideal, it is also our competition. Our members shop at Zappos, and they expect that kind of service. There are other examples as well--Amazon is one. Imagine being able to build community at the same time you order product...And google: well, you know what they say--"Google is your Friend." These companies are setting the standard of care, and we need to work pretty hard to catch up.