Customer service in most companies can make or break you. How you are treated can define whether you will continue to do business with that company. You can spend millions on brand building and still fall short if customer service is the weak link in the chain.
I was at a trade association meeting listening to one of the speakers talking on this subject, and he kept referring to this company called Zappos in Las Vegas and what kind of brand they built around customer service. I had never heard of them (a billion dollar company that was recently purchased by Amazon), but my wife had. She sang the praises of this online company that sold shoes. Not their own branded ones, but everybody elses.
I wondered how they could make money selling “me too”-type things, but soon found out that it’s the way they sell them that makes the difference. They offered free shipping both ways so if you didn’t like them or they didn’t fit, it wouldn’t cost you anything. My wife has a narrow foot and has a hard time finding shoes. Zappos carries a better selection on not only the standard, but the hard-to-find narrow and wide sizes.
So what I did was get Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness, that told his story of the Zappos adventure over the last 10 years. It was a good read of the ups and downs of trying to grow a company. What do selling shoes have to do with selling stuff to the professional tradesmen? I’d say plenty if you follow Zappos ‘ 10 core values. Here they are:
- 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
Many companies have core values but fail to follow them. Maybe it’s time for all of us to relook at our core values and see if we’re actually working towards them. Next time you’re in Vegas, give them a call and take the tour. They’ll come and pick you up at your hotel. My youngest son who is a business coach took the tour the last time he was out there and said it was worth seeing the culture at a billion-dollar company. All you have to do is call and set up an appointment.