See Andy's other stuff:

LinkedIn
RSS Feed

Follow Andy

Contact Me >>

Newsletter #787: The “10 Reasons I Love Zappos” Issue

Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

As a preview for Word of Mouth Supergenius on July 20 in New York, I’m sharing a big list of all the reasons why we love to talk about Zappos.

CEO Tony Hsieh is our keynote speaker for the “How to be Great at Word of Mouth Marketing” conference, and he’ll be talking about how to build a culture around happiness that creates passion, purpose, and profits.

Why we talk about Zappos:

1> They forgive you when you make a mistake
2> They talk to you at night about your weird feet
3> They humor your shoe fetish
4> They’ll send you flowers
5> They’ll get you a pizza
6> They stop for lunch
7> They have a big family
8> They pay people to quit
9> They surprise and delight you
10> They remind us that marketing is about brains, not budgets

1> They forgive you when you make a mistake

No matter what you order, no matter how much (or little) you order, or even if you ordered over eight months ago — Zappos will take it back. If you picked the wrong color, if you change your mind, or if your feet are a little wider than you remembered, Zappos will take care of you. When it’s impossible to make a mistake, there’s no reason for customers to hesitate during the buying process.

2> They talk to you at night about your weird feet

At Zappos, their customer service reps are trained to take the time to make sure customers get the help they need — no matter how long it takes. There are no scripts or time limits. In one amazing example, one of their reps spoke with a customer for more than four hours to help them find the perfect pair of shoes.

3> They humor your shoe fetish

Zappos will let you order as many pairs of shoes as you want. You can touch them, smell them, try them on, and then return them all at no cost. Zappos shows love to shoe lovers — and they in turn love Zappos. And as any teenager knows, love is fun to talk about.

4> They’ll send you flowers

Any Zappos employee can send flowers to a customer. Because shoes are often bought for special occasions — weddings, birthdays, baby showers, etc. — Zappos takes advantage of the opportunity to help customers celebrate. And few things in this world start more conversations than a giant bouquet of fresh flowers.

5> They’ll get you a pizza

Zappos will help you get whatever you need — even if they don’t sell it. In perhaps their most legendary customer service story, CEO Tony Hsieh (half jokingly) suggested a vendor call Zappos when they were having trouble tracking down a late night pizza while on a business trip. They did, and the rep ended up putting them in touch with three different local pizza places offering after-hours delivery.

6> They stop for lunch

When we toured Zappos’ amazing distribution facility in Louisville, the entire place was quiet. It was lunchtime, and everyone had stopped to eat together. Later in our tour, we discovered they were in the process of actually replacing machines with real people in their distribution facility. Zappos’ commitment to their employees is real, and they return the favor with real loyalty and real love.

7> They have a big family

Zappos is like one big, remarkable family. And it’s not just a family of employees and customers — vendors are part of it too. Vendors can log in to Zappos’ system, track inventory, and figure out what’s selling and what isn’t. By working alongside their suppliers instead of against them, they’re able to create better deals, plan better, and help everyone’s businesses grow.

8> They pay people to quit

Negative word of mouth is extremely expensive. It’s much cheaper to have a fantastic crew of employees who love making customers happy — and it’s more fun, too. After their intense training program, Zappos offers employees a $1,000 bonus to quit on the spot. It’s a fantastic final filter: The people who are there for the right reasons stay, and the ones who were going to cost them 10 times that in poor customer service go home.

9> They surprise and delight you

Zappos doesn’t do much in terms of up-front stunts and promotions. Instead, they invest in surprising, delightful experiences for their customers. Both strategies can pay off, but at Zappos, they’ve found that surprises — like instant upgrades to overnight shipping — create instant, long lasting conversations. And even loyal customers who have ordered dozens of shoes from Zappos still feel special each time they get a note saying they’re getting super-fast shipping, even though they didn’t order it.

10> They remind us that marketing is about brains, not budgets

Word of mouth marketing is about brains, vision, energy, and giving people a compelling reason to talk. Zappos doesn’t do anything you couldn’t do. The hand-written notes, the special surprises, the friendly service — it doesn’t take big money, it just takes commitment and hustle. It’s hard work, but Zappos has a billion reasons to prove it’s worth it.

11> Special bonus reason: Tony Hsieh’s speaking at Word of Mouth Supergenius!

See Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh live. He’ll be speaking at Word of Mouth Supergenius and everyone will get a copy of his new book. For a preview, check out our live interview.

Email to a friend:

Privacy: We won't save or reuse these emails.

Comments

  1. Savvy Shopper June 22, 2010 at 9:05 am #

    I’ve tried to love Zappos, but when it boils down to what matters, I find that I rarely if ever seek them out when shopping simply because the prices are too high. Even when searching by “Lowest Price”, there is a cheezy looking average quality tie-died tank top listed on the first page that costs $45! Yes, shipping is “Free”, but is it really? Or is it just averaged in the overall cost of the goods? I can get an equal or even better quality tie-died tank top at the Target down the road for less than half that price. Though Zappos may be a great place to work, practice innovative marketing strategies, etc. etc., as a consumer it really comes down to value of the goods. If I’m looking for a particular item I tend to gravitate elsewhere first, such as Amazon.com or thefind.com or for shoes I head straight to DSW.com and endless.com (each of these site also have excellent customer rewards programs, low/no shipping costs, excellent customer service, great selection, reasonable prices, etc.), or I go directly to clothing retailers’ online stores. Wherever I can find the lowest price/best value options before I even think of going to Zappos – for shoes or anything else. Easy to love Zappos? Not really. Easy to pass on Zappos? Yes.

Get My Newsletter!

Subscribe to Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! for a weekly email full of unusually useful ideas for smart marketers. Great marketing is about brains, not bucks. The best business ideas are easy to do, inexpensive, and fun. Learn to simplify your business, earn word of mouth, and thrill your customers:

Never display this again