The #1 Core Value at Zappos is Deliver WOW Through Service. In fact, they go so far as saying, “At Zappos, Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Doing With WOW.” I put the Zappos Customer Service department to the test. Would they come anywhere near WOWing me with a response? Here’s how that went…
I read that before you were Zappos, you were called ShoeSite.com. Can you please provide two other relatively unknown trivia facts about your company that would really impress women with shoe fetishes at parties?
Zappos has clearly hit upon a magic customer service formula for success based on delivering happiness. Sadly, many people I know are unhappy, miserable, anti-social, chronically cranky, pitifully pessimistic, dark, distressed, dreary and blatantly bleak by nature. In fact, nothing anyone does for them ever makes them happy. What advice do you have for dealing with people like this whose shoes no one would ever want to be in, even if they purchased them from you?
I know Zappos prides itself on delivering WOW through service. Can you please define what you mean by WOW? My experience has seen it been used in many ways ranging from, “WOW, that’s incredible!” to “WOW, what a bitch!” to waking up in the morning and thinking, “WOW, you’re not the girl I thought I left the bar with.”
Very Zapposly yours,
A Representative from the Zappos Customer Loyalty Team responded with:
Thank you for contacting the Zappos.com Customer Loyalty Team. My name is Paul, er, I mean… Captain Anomaly! I will be happy to use my super powers to aid you today!
So, you found out about our secret past, before we had a makeover and changed our name? We told them not to say anything so that we could live a life of secrecy, but alas, it seems our past has finally caught up with us. There can be no running away now! We must confront it and be proud of the path we have taken to get to where we are today! What better way to do that then to reveal even more about ourselves…?
You might or might not be familiar with the very website most infamous for simultaneously helping others to exchange random items, sell various good as proof that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and even find love from unexpected encounters in the line at the local Starbucks. Yes, I speak of Craigslist. Back in the days of ShoeSite, we were tucked away in a quaint little office on the San Francisco bay. That very same building is now occupied by those responsible for Craigslist. Perhaps it was the potently mingled aroma of new shoes and hard work that drew them in, knowing it was exactly that which would guide strangers into buying, selling, trading or giving away their belongings, their skills and their hearts. We can not be certain…
A more publicly known fact, thanks in part to the book written by Tony Hsieh, is the incident that occurred many years back when we were first starting up our warehouse. We were a baby company back then, just learning how to crawl, but we had peeked out of the window of opportunity and our big eyes gazed around at the outside world and all that it had to offer. Though, to get out of the door, we would first need to learn how to walk, and walk we did. Trucks were loaded up with every last bit of merchandise that Zappos could call its own, and left the bay to head toward Kentucky where it would find its new home. Whether it was a squirrel that poorly judged the speed of a large truck, a devious thorn with a habit of assaulting unsuspecting tires, or a fairy godmother putting some dismay in our way for our own benefit in the long run, we will never know, but the truck would never reach the warehouse. It crashed, and thirty percent of our inventory was lost. Oh woe are we, they cried! We panicked, customers panicked, panic itself panicked on that day! Did we give up? Never! We got back up and we got through it. We made it happen, and here we are today, stronger than ever with the knowledge and experience that the situation provided us. Thank you, mysterious fairy godmother-squirrel-thorn thing!
There it is. Now you know. Use these words of wisdom and nuggets of knowledge for whatever it is your heart desires that such random information could bring you. Whether it will aid you in luring some senoritas into your inescapable charisma and charm so that you can unintentionally discover just how severe their passion for shoes really is, we can not guarantee the answer to that. Either way, we will have our fingers crossed for you!
I just wish I had more beneficial lines of genius to provide you for the unfortunate situation of being surrounded by individuals that are seemingly less than happy. All I can suggest is this, dear Larry – Smile. That is right! It is a potent and powerful weapon, capable of leveling entire villages with optimism and relief, bringing divine justice down upon the unhappy and questionable, making them doubt their own way and maybe, just maybe, sway to the side of happiness and cheer in all things. If they tell you of a depressing article in the local news, you counter with a positive tale of heroism to end their doubt! If they try to knock you down with excuses and try to instill doubt, you give them a proverbial right-hook and force a grin upon their otherwise gruff features with personal experiences of how greener grass on the other side made all the difference. Should they try to lure you to the dark side with a pair of depressing shoes that would otherwise be the latest and greatest style you had ever set your eyes upon, you offer them a cookie or other delicious treat (be wary of food allergies, as it may escalate the situation in the opposite direction) and show them that it is not the gift that matters, but the relationship founded on friendship that permitted the giving of gifts in the first place.
Wow, that is a lot of typing. Wow… Hm… Ah, yes! The question of the “WOW” which legends have spoke of for centuries, inscribed upon the walls of ancient tribes, bringing uncertainty and hints of confusion to even the greatest minds in every civilization to date. It is all in the mental punctuation and the subconscious context in which your mind and vocal chords joined together in harmony to elicit the word that we aim to be the source of each and every time: WOW!
Did you order your shoes at ten last night, and you wake up with a strange woman after a night of too much drinking and even more regret to find that very order sitting on your doorstep at eight in the morning, anxiously awaiting a taxi to arrive to rid yourself of the visitor whose name you know not, making the whole situation even more awkward than it already was? Did you say to yourself, “Ermergerd, I have such a headache… I knew there was something in my drink. Wait a tick, what is that on my doorstep? I told those kids to stop co- What could this be? My Zappos order from last night?! WOW!” That is the WOW you have just fallen victim to! The fast shipping, not the hazy night of drinking, I mean.
Have you ever looked down at your feet and saw your toes sticking out of your boots after seven years of strenuous wear every day for sixteen hours a day? You wonder why your canvas shoes did not have the same lifespan as the average giant tortoise. You wish upon a star for some way of the situation resolving itself, but you realize it is just a smidgen outside of our standard return policy. Throwing your hopes into the air to be carried away by the winds of fortune, you assault your keyboard with reckless abandon in a last ditch effort to see if perhaps there is some way that we can help. Before you even get a response, you see that replacements are on the way to you at no charge and you do not even need to send back the pair that you have bonded with for so long, because we understand the countless memories that must have happened in your once athletic sneakers turned open-toe sandals. You check your blood pressure and cross reference yourself on your daily diet to ensure you are not wasted out of your mind, then upon understanding that this is reality and that just happened, you throw your arms into the air and hark to the angels up on high (or to the customer service representative in Las Vegas, whichever), “WOW!” Once more, you have fallen prey to the very product of our efforts and you experienced what philosophers and theoreticians worldwide have dubbed, “The WOW Factor”.
Larry, I hope that these words have opened your eyes to our world and enlightened you almost (but not quite) to the point of leaving your old life behind to be a volunteer traveler to spread the word of Zappos. If you need anything else, good sir, and I mean anything your heart desires, your mind can fathom or your soul can yearn for, please do not hesitate to come to us once again. Every minute of every day, we are here for you, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to do something, anything at all just to bring a smile to your face. Random questions? Check! Instructions to the local bowling alley? We can do it! Unlicensed therapists for how to deal with the loss of original packaging in a time of need for returning prior to the three hundred sixty-five day return policy? We can do that too (though you will need to sign a waiver, first). So, rifle your brain for anything else you are missing in life that we can aid with, then send us another e-mail. Rest assured, we will be here hyped up on caffeine and sugar to help you out, dropping everything from scooters and foosball, to musical instruments and confetti cannons to ensure we get to you without a second of hesitation or delay.
If you need anything else, Larry G., I would be glad to fly down there and assist you. Permitted that I am not busy fighting the evil Doctor Normality, my bitter adversary. Captain Anomaly, awaaaay!
The inconspicuously clad “Captain Anomaly”,
Final Thoughts: WOW!
As far as customer service and Delivering Happiness goes, Zappos is clearly filling the biggest of all shoes. It’s too bad that more company responses aren’t anywhere near being in the same league with Paul’s (aka “Captain Anomaly”). It’s also a shame that more customer service departments aren’t serving up more personal, informative, entertaining, humorous, passionate, compassionate, comprehensive and thoroughly thoughtful relationship-building responses jam-packed with maximum WOW when customers Write The Company.
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