Zappos! You Get It!

This posting has little to do with human resources but it's a great story and an example of stellar customer service which has everything to do with marketing.

I recently purchased a pair of GoLite trail running shoes from Zappos and after just two short runs, part of the sole became unglued (an outlier because these really are excellent shoes). I figured I'd just suck it up and deal with it because I did not have the time to start a complicated exchange process. But a co-worker, Andy Benkert (a serious runner - competes in 50+ mile runs), encouraged me to send an email to Zappos (Andy heard their customer service was excellent).

So I did - on a Friday afternoon. And this is what happened:

I find 3 emails from Zappos in my inbox within one day.
And I didn't even have to speak with anyone. Efficient.


Zappos came out ahead in this deal, even with the free shipping and $20 gift to me because not only did Zappos buy a customer for life but I've told many people about my great experience with Zappos.

Compare this to most other e-retailers or the phone companies, cable companies, airlines, etc. that make it the customer's responsibility to solve problems they did not create - and require the customer to take a lot time and in some cases spend money in the process.

My hunch is that in spite of their generosity, Zappos actually saved money by having responsive, understanding, efficient and generous customer support. Zappos will likely spend less money on customer care than companies who make it difficult - e.g., how many times have you called customer support at the phone company or airlines, waited on hold for an hour, complain to a rep for 30 minutes and then have to ask to speak to the manager because a so-called customer service agent could not or would not help? That's a lot of staff time and costs.

And Zappos isn't exactly a small company - they expect to do $1 billion in revenue this year.

Kudos Zappos - its great to know some companies still get it.

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