Customer Experience News & Trends

3 reasons Zappos’ customer service is better than yours

Zappos is mentioned in nearly every conversation there is about great customer service. How is that even possible, considering customers never see its employees, it has no storefront and it sells a product (shoes) that’s sold everywhere? 

What are the people at the Nevada-based Internet retailer doing right – that you might be able to do to make your customer service better?

Recruit right

After several rounds of interviews, which include tests on how creative and crazy candidates are, Zappos offers new hires big money to bow out of its initial training program.

After a week’s worth of training, new recruits are offered their one-week pay, plus a few thousand dollars to walk away if they don’t think they want to be part of the team. The idea is to weed out people who don’t buy into the esprit de corps CEO Tony Hsieh has created. Those who stay — and it’s about 97% of the trainees — adopt the corporate culture of customer service.

When training is done, they know how to adapt to customers needs and feel empowered to do so.

Have fun

So much of the corporate world — customer service, in particular — can be mundane, which can wear at employees’ morale and energy to do a job well. While Zappos and its customers offer plenty of challenges for employees to grow, the routine tasks and obligations can leave them overwhelmed (or underwhelmed, however you want to look at it).

That’s why Zappos’ leaders do what they can to make the workplace more fun, according to Joseph Michelli, author of The Zappos Experience.

Examples: When mandatory fire drills were run and everyone was outside and deemed safe, managers started dishing out snow cones in the parking lot. Another time, everyone got water guns for a quick battle in the lot.

Be flexible

Empowerment is a nice concept, but often it’s not much more than that. Employees never feel “empowered” to do much beyond what the policy or their supervisor says.

At Zappos, that’s not the case.

Customer service reps are given the resources to do what they feel is right for customers — anything from ordering and sending pizza and flowers to taking a $1,000 return at a loss to the company.

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