Last year, I listened to the audiobook “Delivering Happiness” by the CEO of Zappo’s, Tony Hsieh. It was also read by him which helped get his enthusiasm across even more. I remember thinking as I was listening “This is just too good to be true. How could anybody go to those lengths to please their customers and still stay in business?” I’d heard of Zappo’s but never knew anybody who was a dedicated shopper of theirs. The mindset and the culture were something I had not encountered in my online experience as a seller or consumer.
I ran my eBay store with a “no questions asked” refund policy but I also had a limited offering of merchandise and a pretty dedicated flock of customers too. My product was very specific and limited so I wouldn’t have thought my approach would work for a large scale, full catalog merchandiser. In recent months, I’ve seen that it IS possible for a business built around the customer to not only profit but thrive.
Then, last week I saw for myself how this level of customer service actually works. I was the recipient of one of the most outstanding customer service displays I believe I’ve ever had. It is the subject of the video that accompanies this post. Feel free to stop reading and check it out whenever the urge catches you. It is a truly awesome experience in my opinion. I think you’ll agree.
Not The Status Quo, Please!
I think most of us handle customer service more as an obligation than as an opportunity. We try our best to handle objections, complaints and even refunds with as thick a skin as we can. We are mainly trying to avoid the negative instead of reinforcing the positive. If we bruise a few egos in the process, that’s just the cost of doing business, right? I mean, all those things are just numbers. Out of X amount of customers, Y percentage of them are NOT going to be happy, and Z percentage of them will never buy from you again no matter what you do for them. If you can keep your refund rate low that’s the most you can hope for right?
Zappo’s definitely sees the opportunity in blowing away customers for repeat business, increased order sizes and word of mouth promotion. When was the last time you had somebody do something exceptional for you and you DIDN’T tell somebody about it, huh? They’ve totally figured out that meeting the customers where they are, treating them with respect and always asking how they can improve are the cornerstones of a thriving enterprise! They take great pride in over-delivering on their promises. I honestly don’t think Tony Hsieh believes there’s EVER a reason for a customer to never come back short of mental illness!
Where Do YOU Fall On The Zappo’s Scale?
How do you measure your organization’s effectiveness against the Zappo’s Code of Conduct? Here it is from their site:
- Deliver WOW Through Service
- Embrace and Drive Change
- Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
- Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
- Pursue Growth and Learning
- Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
- Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
- Do More With Less
- Be Passionate and Determined
- Be Humble
You can read the full Code of Conduct page here.
I can say for myself, I may cover a few of those at any given time. Creating fun and a little weirdness might be one of my top attributes right now-LOL!
How about you? As you read through these items, do any of them strike you as definite yeses or nos? Are there any you have no experience with that you wish you had? How Zappo’s-like is your business overall?
Food For Thought
If you come up short, have you begun to think of things you can do to start making a better experience for your customers? Can you create short programs for them and then just give them away? Can you offer to compensate your best customers to attend an online event so they can tell you how you’re doing and what they’d like to see changed? How about your lesser customers? Is there anything you can give them to help them feel like they matter more? How do you reward your team (in house or virtual) to make sure they understand how important they are to you?
I’ll bet if you took five minutes right now to write out 3-5 things you could do right now to improve your customers’ experience, you could do it with time to spare. Only YOU know your business the way you do! These are likely the things that you find yourself wishing you could do better nearly every day of the week. If you need a few minutes to sharpen your focus, don’t forget I have a free “Five Minute Mental Tune-Up” audio you can listen to before you do the exercise.
Putting them on paper can give you:
- A visual representation of some opportunities for growth in the future.
- A document that represents your commitment to making these changes.
My goal here is to give you some things to think about while you’re making your plans for the future. Your customer experience is the single most important driver of your success. The difference between having (mostly) satisfied customers and raving fans can mean the difference between making good money and living your dreams. Don’t shortchange yourself here, ok?
If you like what you’ve read and think somebody else might benefit from it, please share it with them using the social buttons below. Also, the video is my first attempt so let me know if you got anything from it but BE KIND, OK? LOL! It IS my first video! Like it on YouTube if you weren’t actually put off by it, ok? Thanks! And sorry, I didn’t realize there was a glare in my lenses-LOL!
Until next time,