What Any Catalog Success Reader Should Learn From Zappos.com
Zappos relocated its fulfillment center to Kentucky where both United Parcel Service and FedEx have hubs, Hsieh said. “If your distribution is located on one of the coasts,” he said, “I recommend you move it central.”
6. Customer service is an investment, not an expense. “We originally thought of it as an expense,” he recalled. “We had to reduce it like other expenses.”
But today, Zappos’ goal is to build lifelong relationships with customers. “So we don’t try to get customers off the phones as quickly as possible,” he said. “If customers are looking for particular types of shoes and we’re out of stock, we’ll steer them to competitors who have it. Customers are surprised, but next time they need another pair of shoes, we’re the first site they’ll look for.”
Hsieh shared a sad story. Last month, a woman bought a pair of shoes for her husband and Zappos overnight shipped them to her. Unfortunately, later that night, her husband was killed in a car accident. “She called us a few days later, wanting help with the return process. Our rep sent her flowers a few days later.”
Zappos doesn’t have a specific policy or procedure for situations like this, but as Hsieh explained, the woman was so touched by this that at the funeral, she mentioned the experience to 30 or 40 close family members and friends, and all said they’d become Zappos customers, Hsieh said.
He considers this not only an example of the right thing to do, but also, had Zappos considered this kind of customer service action only as an expense, it wouldn’t result in revenue. “Do what’s right for the customer even if it doesn’t result in direct sale or costs a little more,” he shared. “Make sure you go above and beyond for the customer.”