When it comes to running a successful business, customer service is often the key differentiator between a mediocre company and a great one. In fact, studies show that customers are willing to pay more for products and services if they receive excellent customer service. But what exactly makes for great customer service? And how can businesses ensure that they are providing it consistently?
One company that has become well-known for its exceptional customer service is Zappos, an online shoe and clothing retailer. In his book ‘Delivering Happiness’, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh shares the story of how the company built its culture around the idea of delivering happiness to customers, employees, and vendors. In this article, we will explore some of the key lessons from ‘Delivering Happiness’ and how they can be applied to any business looking to improve its customer service.
Lesson 1: Make Customer Service a Priority
At Zappos, customer service is not just a department – it is the entire company. From the CEO to the warehouse workers, everyone is focused on delivering the best possible experience to customers. This starts with hiring the right people who share the company’s values and are passionate about providing excellent service. Zappos also invests heavily in training, with new employees undergoing a four-week customer service training program, regardless of their role.
Lesson 2: Create a Positive Company Culture
In order to provide exceptional customer service, employees need to feel valued and motivated. Zappos achieves this by creating a positive and fun work environment, with a focus on employee happiness. This includes perks such as free snacks, on-site massages, and a pet-friendly office. By creating a culture that values and supports its employees, Zappos is able to attract and retain top talent, who in turn provide great service to customers.
Lesson 3: Empower Employees to Go Above and Beyond
One of the key ways that Zappos sets itself apart is by empowering employees to make decisions and take actions that go above and beyond what is expected. For example, if a customer is looking for a product that Zappos does not carry, employees are encouraged to help them find it elsewhere, even if it means sending them to a competitor. By giving employees the autonomy to make these types of decisions, Zappos is able to provide a truly personalized and exceptional customer experience.
Lesson 4: Listen to Customer Feedback
In order to improve customer service, it is important to listen to feedback from customers. Zappos takes this to heart, with CEO Tony Hsieh personally reading customer emails and responding to them. The company also uses social media to engage with customers and gather feedback. By actively seeking out customer feedback and using it to make improvements, Zappos is able to continually enhance its customer service.
Lesson 5: Be Transparent and Honest
Finally, Zappos believes in being transparent and honest with customers. This includes being upfront about shipping times, product availability, and pricing. If there is a problem with an order, Zappos does not try to hide it or make excuses – instead, the company takes responsibility and works to make things right. By being transparent and honest, Zappos builds trust with its customers and creates a loyal customer base.
In conclusion, delivering exceptional customer service is not easy, but it is essential for long-term business success. By following the lessons from ‘Delivering Happiness’, businesses can create a culture of customer service excellence that sets them apart from the competition. Whether it’s making customer service a priority, creating a positive company culture, empowering employees, listening to customer feedback, or being transparent and honest, there are many ways to deliver happiness to customers and create a truly exceptional customer experience.