October 14, 2014 / Melissa Faudree

Customer Service

Few people I know actually like to call customer service after receiving the wrong or broken product. Most dread it. Mainly because they fear the company won’t give you a refund or worse, make you pay extra to return the item.

How many stories have you heard about excellent customer service? I’m talking about the kind of customer service that goes above and beyond to make someone satisfied. Many businesses can have good customer service but there are some you simply cannot forget.

One company sticks out in my mind for having excellent customer service, Zappos. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Zappos, it is an online shoe and clothing store that began in 1999. CEO, Tony Hsieh strives to make not only all his customers happy but his employees as well.


Hsieh has a refreshing view of Zappo’s work environment and happiness. “Businesses often forget about the culture, and ultimately, they suffer for it because you can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees.”

The culture and customer service at Zappos is unique. Part of the mission at Zappos is that employees deliver a “WOW” factor for their customers, making sure they go above and beyond. There is no time limit per phone call nor is there a script for employees to follow. Because of this kind of environment and culture, employees are able to perform gestures that most companies wouldn’t even think about doing in order to please their customers. Zappos has some pretty amazing customer service stories.

Hsieh often tells the story about a woman who had just lost her husband in a car accident after ordering a pair of boots for him on Zappos. The woman had called to return the boots and the next day received a bouquet of flowers from Zappos. The Zappos employee did not ask for permission and even billed the flowers to the company. The woman told this kind gesture at her husband’s funeral. She is probably a customer a life and the company could have gained 30 or more. Word of mouth can be a powerful marketing strategy.

Customers want not only great customer service but also personalization. According to research, 78% of people would share information about themselves in order to receive more personalized service. How would you create personalized customer service? Here are some ideas for good customer service.

customer service

Make the customers feel comfortable
If you can have a conversation with a customer where they feel confident that you can find a solution to their problem, they can relax. Instead of sounding like a computer machine, add in some of your personality into the conversation. Adding personalization will help make it sound less scripted. Don’t be afraid to get to know your customers. And more importantly, listen to your customers.

Prompt response
In today’s society, people expect answers right away. No one has time to wait especially when the customer has been inconvenienced. Therefore, customers expect promptness and immediate answers. Whether it is a quick email response, short hold time, or even fast chat reply, it is critical to handle customers without delay.

Problem solving skills
Along with the prompt response is also problem solving skills. Employees should have the ability to solve problems quickly. In order to do this, they need to listen and assess the needs of the customer. It is important to determine the facts and then evaluate the priority of the problem before offering solutions to the customer.

Reward loyalty
You know who your loyal customers are and they shouldn’t be treated anything less than that. While it is important to be attentive to new customers, loyal customers are usually ones you will have for years. There are many ways to reward your loyal customers. You can offer discounts, offers only available to them, rewards for referrals or using a loyalty-card scheme.

Well-trained staff members
Staff members should be well trained in all products and services for your company. The more knowledge your members have with your products or services, the better they can assist your customers. Other qualities staff members should possess: professionalism, patience, and flexible.

Clear and concise
Staff members should use language that is clear and concise for customers to understand. Communication is key in customer service.

Staff members should be empathetic for customers. Listen to what they have to say because everyone wants to be heard. It is good to apologize for any inconveniences and understand why they may be frustrated.

Language of choice
It is helpful to have staff members that speak many different languages, specifically languages that the majority of your customers speak.

Wrapping up.

It is important to give more than expected to customers. Companies like Zappos try to find unique ways to keep customers happy. The end result usually has return customers. How do you compare to your competition’s customer service? Think outside the box in order to go above and beyond for your customers.

What stories do you have about a company that went above and beyond with their customer service? We’d love to hear about them!

Posted In: Blog, Customer Service