Zappos | 3 customer-centric strategies from Tony Hsieh that brands need to pay attention to!

Zappos: 3 customer-centric strategies from Tony Hsieh that brands need to pay attention to!

20 years ago, Zappos began as a small online retailer that only sold shoes. Today, the retailer sells shoes, clothing, handbags, accessories, and more. Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, the company was started by Nick Swinmurn in 1999, with Tony Hsieh serving as the CEO till 2020. Then, it was launched under the domain name Shoesite.com.

Zappos is a household name that reached $1 billion in sales in less than 10 years, since its inception. About 75% of Zappos’ purchases come from returning customers and not only are these Zappos’ customers loyal, but they’re brand advocates and promoters, too. About 44% of new customers have heard about Zappos via word of mouth. 

Zappos serves as the right example of how a business model can thrive by centering itself around customer service and satisfaction. It inspires the world by displaying that it is possible to deliver happiness to customers, employees, vendors, shareholders, and the community in a long-term and sustainable manner. 

Amazon, in July 2009, acquired Zappos in an all-stock deal worth around $1.2 billion.

Here are 3 customer-centric strategies that customers should expect from their brands and brands to implement for the ultimate shopping experience. 

1. Customer-friendly policies 

Online shopping does not guarantee the truth and sometimes can flatten hopes and expectations. Zappos has instituted a 365-day return policy for ‘new, way past the 30-day window more generous retailers extend. With this extension, they can maximize customer loyalty.

Another reason many customers choose Zappos is the generous shipping and return policy, which is free!

With super-fast shipping within 3-5 business days and 1 business day for the VIP customers, the brand empowers the customer to explore more choices. This ultimately leads to better buying decisions. 

The majority of customers hate upselling, and Zappos understands it! With more than four million stock and growing items, one won’t find them pushing customers to buy more than they plan.

2. Happiness obsessed customer service team 

The WOW philosophy of Zappos is simple – do whatever it takes to keep the customer happy. The customer service team undergoes 4 full weeks of training to make customers happy before handling calls. The agents are not given a script and instead told to form an emotional connection with the customers independently. Each phone conversation between an employee and the customer care representative happens in a manner best-suited for both of them. 

Depending on the customers’ mood, the conversations range from no-nonsense order taking, exchanges and returns, to chats about everything under the sun, right from kids, pets, sports, and the weather!

Potential employees are screened meticulously to see if their values match Zappos’s importance as an organization, especially customer satisfaction. Hear this, though – The commitment of new employees is tested early on through a program. They are offered $2,000 to quit at the end of the first week of training!

Their call center operates round the clock and with less than a minute response time, the attentive customer care team can help 24*7. Zappos’ current record for the most extended customer service call is 10 hours, 51 minutes.

3. Solution selling and not product selling Sales Strategy 

Each customer is unique, and Zappos knows it best. With mindful and empathic listening, the customer care team determines and meets the caller’s need, providing the best solution. With the customer service, the phone number is on every page of the website; one can pick up the phone any time of the day.

Do you want fast solutions to your problems? Zappos, it up! The customers love the fact that it is always easy to reach a Zappos representative, no matter what. With unlimited call times, customer service calls at Zappos take as long as they need to take. Length of calls is not limited or dictated by company call time parameters.

Zappos, per the company’s brand building, suggests that it is a customer service company that happens to sell shoes (and more). True to their word, Zappos is providing excellent customer service and creating a fantastic shopping experience.

One way Zappos takes its customer service to the next level is by fostering in-person engagements. The way they do it is by encouraging their representatives to get to know customers and create a robust and personal connection. For example, suppose a representative hears a baby crying in the call’s background. Then, they may include a small complimentary blanket in the apparel shipment. These unexpected and thoughtful actions take Zappos’ customer service to an exceptional level.

Zappos ensures that each call has social and conversational elements rather than being purely-person-focus. The bond created between the customers and the brand at each touchpoint is important in customer-centricity. 

Zappos also sees this customer’ obsession’ as a differentiator from the competition. With the rule of thumb, “wowing” our customers, Zappos is powered by service and paves the way of inspiring other brands to show them how it is done!

Credits: Zappos Facebook


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