Companies that are devoted to their customers’ satisfaction reap loyalty and recognition that will reverberate across the business sector and beyond.
Such is the case with Zappos.com, an online shoe and clothing shop based in Nevada. Zappos.com raised the bar high in terms of providing the best client experience, you’ve most likely heard about them too!
They have stood by their core values which includes giving their customers a WOW service—being unconventional and innovative in their approach. They have modified their customer service metrics from the usual call time, tickets opened, tickets resolved, response time, and the like to what they call a Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Personal Service Level (PSL) for each of their service reps.
Its goal is to identify how customers will frequently shop with them and share the experience with others as well as qualify the time spent with customers. And because they have invested time with their clients, the good feedback about their company and their services just kept pouring in.
So we have rounded up the Top 10 inspiring Zappos customer support stories that will challenge businesses how to become better at offering first-rate customer service experience:
1. The Best Man and his shoes
Jay purchased his shoes off Zappos.com for his best man stint mainly because they were the cheapest. Unfortunately, the courier routed his package to the wrong location and won’t be arriving on the day he’s supposed to wear it. So he called Zappos about his dilemma and immediately got his issue solved in no time. Not only did Zappos settle the problem by offering to overnight a replacement pair of shoes at no cost, he was even upgraded to a VIP account and given a complete refund.
Jay, blown away by the great customer service he received only has this to say, “Zappos has earned a customer for life — In addition to all of this, I originally ordered from them because they had the cheapest deal on the shoes I needed.”
2. Free toll for Massachusetts Turnpike motorists
Zappos spreads good cheer for Thanksgiving. They teamed up with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to cover the tolls on a particular section of the road from 5-7PM back in November 2011. Massachusetts Department of Transportation CEO and Secretary Richard Davey said they wanted to make the drivers’ travel less stressful due to the holiday. Ain’t that thoughtful?
3. Record-breaking 10-hour customer service call
Contrary to accepted call duration metric, Zappos doesn’t hurry its customers just to beat a call time requirement. This particular customer service phone call on December 8, 2012 was not even about a complaint. The Zappos customer service rep took time to have a conversation with the caller about living in the Las Vegas area which clocked in at 10 hours and 29 minutes!
While the phone chat may have went beyond clothes and shoes, it still ended with the caller purchasing a pair of Ugg boots. One Zappos rep explains, “Sometimes people just need to call and talk…We don’t judge, we just want to help.”
4. Refusing a shoe exchange
No, it is not a bad feedback. Truth is, Sarah was a happy Zappos customer. She emailed Zappos to have his son’s Keen Kids Newport H2 sandals exchanged because one of its straps broke. A prompt reply was sent back to her saying that they will be overnighting her order for free and she doesn’t have to send back the defective pair.
When the shoes finally arrived, it was actually the wrong pair. She tried sending it back to Zappos but they refused. Instead, they told her to donate the shoes to charity while they overnight the correct ones to her.
5. Leather-free shoes for vegans
As per Wikipedia, “veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as following an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals.” Hence the very limited options vegans have when it comes to purchasing food and other items like clothing and footwear. But Tabathia S. was so delighted for Zappos to consider vegans like her.
She posted this on Zappos Customer Testimonial page, “I just found out that Zappos added a category for Vegan shoes and products! You don’t even know how happy this makes me to find leather-free goods. I just forwarded the link to a group of about 150 people. Thank you so much. Keep it up and please continue to increase your offering.” How’s that for effective marketing?
6. Six pairs of shoes and a bouquet of flowers
This customer, whose mother’s left foot was numb and sensitive to pressure due to a recent medical treatment, bought six pairs of shoes for her in hopes that one of them would work. But after receiving the orders, the mother called Zappos to explain her medical condition and to ask how to return the shoes.
Two days later, a large bouquet of flowers was delivered at her doorstep from Zappos, with a sweet get-well-soon message. Two days after that, the customer, her mother, and even her sister, were all given VIP memberships granting them shipping on all orders without charges.
7. Sympathetic gesture for a grieving customer
Zaz Lamarr needed to return some shoes to Zappos but her mother just passed away and was still coping from the loss that she didn’t have the time to do it. When Zappos emailed her to ask about the status of the shoes, she replied about what happened. Zappos took care of the shipping and had the courier pick up the shoes for her at no extra cost.
Zappos didn’t stop their customer care there. Zaz writes, “Yesterday, when I came home from town, a florist delivery man was just leaving. It was a beautiful arrangement in a basket with white lilies and roses and carnations. Big and lush and fragrant. I opened the card, and it was from Zappos. I burst into tears. I’m a sucker for kindness, and if that isn’t one of the nicest things I’ve ever had happen to me, I don’t know what is.” Now, that is what you call “going the extra mile.”
8. A hand-written card to remember
Beth, a blogger, first called Zappos because one of the zippers on the Ugg boots she purchased for an 11-year-old family member was broken. So Zappos arranged for the boots to be returned and will have the new pair shipped to them the next day. However, since the style was discontinued, they picked out a different pair which is cheaper than the first. Zappos refunded them the $30 difference and had the defective boots returned free of charge.
Two months later, the boot broke again so she called customer service once more. The replacement pair was actually $30 more than the defective one. But Danielle, the Zappos rep she spoke to, insisted that Zappos cover it, send a label with a free return of the defective shoes and ship the new ones the next day. And they followed through it.
You’d think the service ends there. Beth received a thoughtful thank you card in Danielle’s handwriting. She was so satisfied with the service she received that she blogged about it and encouraged her readers to pass along the story to others.
9. Timmy wants to chat about Timmy
This particular one was taken from Zappos Live Chat. The chat support was given to Timmy who had a quirky request which Zappos most happily indulged. He basically just wanted to verify the quality and flexibility of Zappos’s chat agents. Read on:
You are now chatting with Jonathan
Jonathan: Hello Timmy. How can I help you?
Timmy: do you know how wide the G-Shock Atomic Solar – AWG101 SKU #7403774 is?
Timmy: i mean, how big a wrist it would fit?
Timmy: Timmy has a big fat wrist
Timmy: Timmy need watch grande
Jonathan: I’ll see what I can find out for Timmy.
Timmy: awesome. and can we please continue to talk about Timmy in the 3rd person? Timmy likes to boost Timmy’s ego by talking about Timmy that way
Jonathan: Jonathan would be happy to neglect the use of pronouns for the duration of this conversation.
Timmy: Jonathan and Timmy shall get along just fine
Jonathan: Will Timmy be able to measure Timmy’s wrist?
Timmy: Timmy’s wrist is big, but not Biggie-Smalls big. Timmy doesn’t have the required measurement instruments.
For sure both of them were all smiles after that chat support, as we were writing this. Just as you are smiling now, reading this.
10. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s personal story
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, has shared this story to almost all the presentations he was invited to. It was his personal story that he most fondly narrates to his audience.
Hsieh took his clients out for a night in the town so when the bar closed they all went back to their hotel room. One of his clients craved for pizza but the hotel’s room service was closed for the night. Hsieh suggested that this client call Zappos for this request, even though his company is a fashion retailer. He was that confident about his company’s customer service.
Of course Zappos did not deliver pizza, but the rep who took the call at 2AM, found three pizza parlors that were still open near the hotel and made the order for the client.
There are too many good customer service stories that we can only list ten. Zappos was able to cultivate a culture that offers only outstanding customer support. They make customers so satisfied that one actually describes Zappos as “Happiness in a box.”
Our takeaway: make every encounter with customers count. Give them a unique experience, and you’ll be sure to reap benefits from years to no end.
This curation is also available on Slideshare: