Zappos' Customer Service

Tips to Take from Zappos’ Customer Service

Do you buy from a particular company because their service is so much better than others? Some companies just know how to treat people and it allows them to really stand out, not only among the competition in their industry but among businesses in general. We think Zappos is one of those companies!

Since the phenomenally successful online shoe and clothing retailer Zappos first came on the e-commerce scene in 1999, their primary goal has been to deliver the best possible service experience to their customers. The Zappos company motto is “Powered by Service,” which means every aspect of their operation puts customer service first.

Here are tips to take from Zappos for providing excellent customer service:

  1. Personalized Service – Zappos trains and empowers their customer service team aka Customer Loyalty Team (CLT) to provide not only outstanding but personalized, service. Unlike other online retailers with call centers that have pre-written scripts and a time limit per customer interaction,  the CLT is encouraged to take whatever time they need to serve their customers and make sure all questions and concerns are addressed. The Zappos website also reflects their personalized service approach by offering a tailored shopping experience, size recommendations on product pages, and “Best for You” search results.
  1. Employee Autonomy – Customer service reps are given a certain level of autonomy to be able to serve and follow up with their customers as they see fit. This could be in the form of a personalized email, or a gift or note, to ensure customers are not only satisfied but happy. 
  1. Service-Based Relationships – Zappos sees the importance of building and maintaining long-term relationships with their customers. Employees know that every interaction – large or small- is important, so the emphasis is placed on the relationship rather than the transaction.
  1. Company Culture aka Happiness Culture – Zappos has an employee culture that is focused on customer service, both internally and externally. Zappos really cares that their customers are happy. It is baked into the company mission, core values, customer interactions, who they hire, and how they train their workforce. Which brings us to the last but probably most important part of the Zappos success story…
  1. Employee Development and Training – In an interview with Fast Company, Zappos founder Tony Hsieh, describes how crucial his customer service training program is for all hires, regardless of their position in the company. “Everyone that’s hired, it doesn’t matter what position–you can be an accountant, lawyer, software developer–goes through the exact same training as our call center reps. It’s a four-week training program and then they’re actually on the phone for two weeks taking calls from customers. At the end of that first week of training, we make an offer to the entire class that we’ll pay you for the time you’ve already spent training plus a bonus of $2,000 to quit and leave the company right now.” His goal with this is to weed out anyone who doesn’t grasp their company culture or are “just there for a paycheck”. 

These tips say a lot about how important each and every role is in a company. So, whether you are a call center rep or customer experience professional, your attitude and approach to your customer makes all the difference when it comes to the overall success of your role and your organization. 

We’ll leave you with this quote from Tony Hsieh that is sure to give you some food for thought! 

“For individuals, character is destiny. For organizations, culture is destiny.”

Tony Hsieh

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Customer Service Institute of America