Zappos Branding Through Customer Service

Customer service starts with what the customer first sees on Zappos website.  Free shipping is offered as a marketing expense.  They identify their phone number on every document and page so customers can call with any questions.  Zappos believes that the telephone is a much more valuable connection with their customers.  This increases interaction with their customers and increases return customers and maximize customer service.  Zappos receives thousands of phone calls each day and run their call center differently.  They do not measure call times or try to up-sale.  When a customer calls about a shoe which is out of stock, the employee will try three different places to find the shoe.  The majority of phone calls do not necessarily result in a sale.

Ten ways to grow customer service

Top ten ways to instill customer service into a company is to make customer service a priority for the whole company, not just a department; make “wow” a verb that is part of a company’s vocabulary; empower your customer service reps; realize that it’s okay to fire customers who abuse your employees; don’t measure call times and don’t require employees to up-sell or use scripts; don’t hide your 1-800 number; view each call as an investment to build your brand, not as an expense; have the entire company celebrate great service; find and hire good people who are already passionate about customer service; and give great service to everyone – customers, employees and vendors.  Zappos provides public tours of their operations.  Zappos created many activities for their employees and have a blue and bald day wherein an employee can shave another employee’s head.  Company culture is one of the main focuses at Zappos and they try to get to personally know every employee.  Swearing, so long as not directed to another employee or customer, is allowed to release stress.

Your culture is your brand.

It is very different from years ago when it took a lot of money if you were going to build your brand.  Every employee can affect your company’s brand.  Zappos wanted to build their brand around having the very best customer service.  Advertising can only get your brand so far.  If you can’t buy your way into a brand, it’s culture.  If you get the culture right the rest will happen naturally.  The brand may lag the culture at first but eventually they will catch up.  Your culture is your brand.  You must build and maintain the culture you want by hiring the right people.  The next step is a four week training regardless of department or title, including answering customer service calls.  Less than one percent of potential employees take their offer to work there. Potential employees must be willing to deliver well through service, embrace and drive change, create fun and a little weirdness, be adventurous and 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, and be humble.  It’s important to come up with core values that you can commit.  Let all your employees be brand ambassadors in and outside of the office.  Zappos wished they had established core values much earlier.