If you follow customer service industry you may be aware that Zappos, renowned for their service, had some recent issues.  Upgrading its Warehouse Management System (WMS) caused Zappos to delay customer order shipment.  This stumble is important only because it will further strengthen their company.

Any other company and you might be forgiven for declaring the end of the world.  For Zappos, however, their customer-centric DNA will win the day.  Their brand is built on service and their engaged employees take personal pride in that reputation.  They will take the necessary steps to right the wrongs, to improve as a result, and to re-earn our loyalty.  And don’t forget the benefits the integrated WMS brings.  Zappos gained access to the Amazon inventory and now both companies can take advantage of Zappos’ legendary customer service.

Why might a customer forgive Zappos?  Zappos’ reputation was earned through repeated focus and execution.  We trust them, believe they will learn from the mistakes, and have confidence they will find ways to improve.  They won’t rest until this blemish is erased from memory.

The pivot point is that when your company is known for service, customers give your company the benefit of the doubt and continue to do business with your firm.  The reverse is true as well.  Companies that are known to have little vested interest in service create the conditions that make exodus a distinct likelihood.  Next time you think about cutting costs by cutting service, think about whether or not you could suffer a set-back successfully.

What problems would cause customers to deny you a second chance?

Zappos Customer Service Stumbles, Doesn’t Fall
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3 thoughts on “Zappos Customer Service Stumbles, Doesn’t Fall

  • 26 October 2011 at 11:37

    Thanks for the great post!

    Zappos truly has done a great job establishing themselves as a brand that is identified by exceptional customer service.  It ensures that they will survive a crisis like this.  Their success is also due to their internal values system.  Check out our post about Zappos’s values here: http://bit.ly/r062OQ


    Conga Consulting

    • 26 October 2011 at 13:09

      Thanks for the comment. Establishing the value system you mention is the lynchpin for everything else they do. Their values influence who is hired (and who is not), establish and reinforce customer interaction norms, and give people a sense of purpose and pride in their work.

      To the skeptics… scoff at values at your peril.

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