10 Practical Lessons from Zappos on Building a Great Customer Experience


Zappos
– the world’s largest online shoe store, is a company that is built on positive customer experience and a strong customer relationship. Over 75% of the sales are from repeat customers and that is an awesome metric for a consumer brand. In this post, I will cover the lessons we can all learn from Zappos on building a great customer experience.

  1. Make customer experience as a mission that everybody takes into their heart seriously. Zappos’ mission statement reads: “Our goal is to position Zappos as the online service leader. If we can get customers to associate the Zappos brand with the absolute best service, then we can expand into other product categories beyond shoes.”   Without a serious commitment to customer experience, it is very hard to achieve it. Make it a mission to create an awesome experience.
  2. Create a core value system that details what you care about the most and make customer service a core value. For Zappos, the values start with “wowing the customer” and includes “open and transparent communication”.
  3. Create a happy environment  for employees in the company. No amount of branding campaigns will help if your workers are disgruntled and start bad-mouthing you, outside. Company culture is very important and employees are the biggest brand ambassadors. However, in many big corporations not much is emphasized on keeping the employees happy. Happy and loyal employees help keep your customers happy.
  4. Make it super easy for customers to reach you. Zappos have their 1-800 number and contact details in every page. By proactively reaching out to the customer, you have an opportunity to handle support before the customers go and vent their grievances in public. Include live chats, and other contact points and waste no time in assisting your customers.
  5. Make your response super fast. How often have you called a customer service number and waited 10 minutes or more on the line to get to the operator? These insane waiting lines are very infuriating and demeaning for the customer. Many businesses seem to think that by making the customer wait long enough, the customer would would go off and they could go back to their work. That is a slippery rope that will kill your company faster than anything.
  6. Staff your customer support desk with quality workers. In most companies, the help desk is usually staffed with junior workers who have less clue about the company. However, it is hard to wow your customers, when you less caliber and less experienced workers manning an important position.
  7. Give lots of room for your customer reps to work with. Once you populate your help desk with good hands, trust their judgment and given hem lots of room to work with. In many cases, Zappos customer support has given the customers over & beyond what was promised without getting explicit approval from the upper layers.
  8. Reward loyal customers. Once you have identified the loyal customers (using the CRM) work hard to wow them to the next level. For instance, Zappos sends them expedited shipping even when they have paid for regular shipping. The loyal customers are the most important assets for a company and they will not hesitate to spread the word around.
  9. Document and create stories of how your service has touched people. Listen to your user’s stories and collect the interesting ones. Business communication is best effective when done in the form of stories and by spreading real stories about your customer desk’s effectiveness, you become an instant hit in the social media.
  10. Make it very easy for customer to return your product. It is better to have a returned product in your inventory than at the hands of a disgruntled customer. By making the return policy very simple (365 days no-hassle return with free two-way shipping) Zappos is easily able to convince its customers to shop without worries. However, many companies make it too hard to return and force the customers too think about their purchase too hard.
Balaji Viswanathan

Balaji Viswanathan

Balaji Viswanathan is the founder of Agni Innovation Labs that helps startups and small businesses with their marketing and management strategy. He has been blogging for the past 8 years on technology, finance and business related topics.

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