|April 30, 2013 by Ellen Roseman|
Online shoe retailer Zappos.com doesn’t even ship to Canada.
But I’m a fan of the company after reading founder Tony Hsieh’s 2010 book, Delivering Happiness.
Zappos has legendary customer service. Here are lessons I learned from the book.
Company culture is the top priority. If you get the culture right, then building the brand to be the best in customer service will happen naturally on its own.
Hire only people that you would enjoy hanging out with outside the office.
Forget advertising. Let customers do the marketing through word of mouth.
Offer free shipping both ways to make the experience risk-free for customers.
Offer a 365-day return policy for people who have trouble making up their minds.
Put your 1-800 phone number at the top of every single page of your website.
Don’t outsource the call centre and staff it 24/7. The telephone is one of your best branding devices.
Don’t worry about how quickly you can get customers off the phone. Don’t up sell customers to generate more revenue. And don’t use scripts.
When out of stock on an item, train your reps to research at least three competitors’ websites. And if they find the shoe in stock elsewhere, direct the customer to the competitor.
Figure out your company’s core values. Are you willing to hire and fire on them? If you aren’t willing to do that, then they aren’t really values.
Decide what your brand stands for. The company uses a single statement, “Zappos is about delivering happiness to the world.”
Last December, Zappos broke its record for the longest customer service phone call with a conversation that lasted 10 hours and 29 minutes.
Shockingly, Zappos didn’t view the incident as bad news, but as fulfilling on its primary core value, Deliver WOW through service.
“Have the entire company celebrate great service Tell stories of WOW experiences to everyone in the company.” Hsieh advises others.
Satisfying customers isn’t enough. This is a low standard. If you can delight them and exceed their expectations, you will find your customers staying with you for a lifetime.