Another great speaker at the Inc. Conference in September was Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh. Tony came to talk with us about customer service. I decided to sit up straight and listen because this guy took a small-time internet company with less than $2 million in revenue to generating $1 billion (yes, with a ‘b’) in sales in less than 10 years. His main philosophy and road to success? Great customer service. Now many companies say the same thing, but here’s what makes Tony’s company different:
• All new employees – no matter what level – work in the call center and shipping docks for at least two weeks. This gives them a solid understanding of the needs of the customer.
• Zappos doesn’t spend a lot of money on direct marketing (magazine ads, billboards, etc.). Instead they put their money into the ‘wow’ factor for customers. This may take the form of free overnight shipping or other enhancements.
• The company doesn’t have restrictions on their customer service call centers. Customer service reps can talk as long as needed to ensure that the customer gets their needs met. According to Tony, the longest customer service call was over 5 hours!
• Lastly, Zappos has very easy access to customer service. The customer service hotline is on every page of their website (instead of buried at the bottom of a ‘contact us’ section) and they boast a 365-day return policy.
Way to go Tony! To learn more about Zappo’s culture and how Tony is leading the charge in customer service, check out their website.