I heart Zappos.com

31 05 2011

Last month, I had a fashion dilemma. I needed a pair of red shoes to match a dress I bought for commencement. What was a woman to do, particularly when she lives in a small town that has only one shoe store (if you don’t count Walmart)?

I did what most many people do; I went online. I went to Zappos.com. I had never purchased shoes there before, but I was well aware of the company’s reputation for over-the-top customer service. Within minutes, I found a great pair of red peep-toe pumps.

It took only a couple of minutes because Zappos’ website provided many ways to narrow my search, which saved time: type of shoe, size, width, color, heel height, price etc. The site even featured a video, showing me how the shoes would look on.

Not only were the shoes snazzy, but they were on sale, comfortable, and snagged me several compliments. (I had a couple of women congratulate me for matching my shoes to the hood of my regalia. That kind of thing happens only on a college campus.)

In my post-purchase zeal, I went to Zappos’ Facebook page  to thank the company for the great shoes and for getting them to me in a day. Ninety minutes later, someone from Zappos responded, saying that he/she was happy to hear about my experience and thanking me for posting about it to the wall.

That quick response, whether on Facebook or Twitter, is typical for Zappos, which helped put it on the list of top 40 best Twitter brands. Currently, 1,822,612 are following CEO Tony Hsieh, and he is following 377,981 on Twitter.

Zappos, which already had a very strong digital identity, has successfully transferred that identity to these social networks, where it has built valuable customer relationships that have parlayed into loyalty. After all, when I need another pair of sweet shoes, where am I going to go? You guessed it.

How about you?

This just in:

This proves my point about Zappos’ remarkable ability to build relationships. One minute — really, it was only one — after I posted this entry on Zappos’ Facebook page, someone from the company responded: “Thanks for the blog post Pat! We hope you get an A+++!!!”

Wow. I heart Zappos even more now.

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6 responses

31 05 2011
Jim

My son loves Zappos and they have great customer service. Those shoes were cool that you ordered, but I may block this fb post so my wife doesn’t start buying shoes from there as well. 🙂

1 06 2011
imcpat

How can you deny your wife the Zappos experience, Jim? That’s just cruel.

5 06 2011
holliskara

Pat,

Take your love of Zappos over to meet your love of Amazon and pick up a copy of Delivering Happiness, by Zappos found Tony Hsieh (this is NOT a paid endorsement). Or read about it at http://www.deliveringhappiness.com/. Yeah, they literally wrote the book on taking customer service to the next level!

That said. I shopped Zappos today for some shoes for my cousin’s wedding. Whatcha think? http://www.zappos.com/seychelles-change-of-venue-red

Hollis

6 06 2011
Pat

Hollis,
I’ve been wanting to read that book for quite some time, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Maybe when we have five weeks off later this summer I’ll get to it.

By the way, love those shoes. You’re going to look fanastic at your cousin’s wedding.

9 06 2011
webpractices

Pat- Zappos.com’s meteoric rise is attributable to one thing: their obsessive top-down laser focus on customer service.

From the very first, employees are screened based on their niceness and customer-friendly approach, no matter what their role.

Zappos describes their company culture on their site:

We believe that the most important key to our success will be our service-oriented culture, and we spend a lot of time and effort working on ways to constantly improve our culture. For example, every new employee that we hire in our corporate office is required to go through 4 weeks of customer loyalty training (answering phones in the call center) before starting the job that he/she was actually hired for. To us, customer service isn’t just a department — it is the entire company.

Even more astonishing, after weeks of training of customer service personnel, Zappos offers the graduating service personnel a cash bonus if they’ll quit, thinking that only the most indoctrinated in the Zappos’ way of life will pass up the cash and stay. It seems to work… Oh, and everyone from the CEO on down is not only allowed, but encouraged to be on social media with customers all day.

That keeps them connected with the customer, and makes their service extraordinary… as you saw. Even the free shipping both ways is due to this customer focus; it allows them to spin their higher prices needed to cover their free returns as a customer service benefit. Brilliant!

In any event, enjoy those rockin’ shoes! Cheers…. Michele Bartram

9 06 2011
imcpat

Michele,
You’re right on the mark. Zappos’ customer service is over the top because the company makes it a priority and weaves it into the corporate culture.

I was shocked and delighted that a representative from the company responded to my Facebook post in a minute. A minute. That’s unbelievable.

Pat

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