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Ideas from Customer Service is the New Marketing

A zillion great ideas from the Customer Service is the New Marketing conference.

  1. Check out the Company-Customer Pact. Big idea: It takes two sides to make things better – companies treating us well, and customers treating service reps like real people, and giving them a break sometimes.
  2. Anonymity gives people license to be rude. This applies to employees and customers. Putting your name on something ties ensures responsibility and civility. It’s easy to be a rude service rep, until people start asking for you by name. It’s easy to abuse an anonymous customer service rep, but harder to abuse a real person with a real name.
  3. Zappos:  3/4 of purchases are from repeat customers. Loyalty is a huge competitive advantage.  Let’s say the average cost of customer acquisition in their field is $50.  They are always $37.50 ahead of the competition. How can you beat that?  (a – Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos)
  4. Zappos:  There are no call center time limits.  “A rep would spend an hour on the phone with a customer and not result in a sale – and that’s perfectly ok with us.” What’s important is building a long-term relationship.  (a)
  5. Zappos: Everyone hired goes through 4 weeks of training on customer service, loyalty, and company culture — even executives, lawyers, accountants, etc. (a)
  6. Zappos: The company has a “culture book” that every employee can add to.  It’s full of the good and the bad.  Management doesn’t edit it. What a great way to prove that openness isn’t just talk. (a)
  7. Make WOW part of your company’s everyday vocabulary. When people ask everyday Did you wow this customer? it gets everyone to redefine what customer service is. (a)
  8. Customer service is an investment, not an expense. (a)
  9. Give great service to everyone – including vendors and employees.  They’re all part of your community and integral to your success. (a)
  10. Why most service sucks: Companies do it as an afterthought to sell more stuff. (b – Robert Stephens, Founder and Chief Inspector, The Geek Squad)
  11. Geek Squad: They set the tone from the moment they walk in the door and take off their shoes. That’s why they wear white socks. (b)
  12. When you have no money for marketing, everything you do is marketing. (b)
  13. Creativity doesn’t have to cost anything. If you have a lot of money, limit how much you use, force creative solutions instead. (b)
  14. Don’t even look at your own industry for ideas – look everywhere else. If you take it from your own industry, you’re a copycat. If you go to a different industry, they’ll tell you how they did it – and you’re the innovator in your industry. (b)
  15. The Founder’s Dilemma:  How am I going to get other people to convey our values after I’m gone? How do you institutionalize the vision? What would happen to their companies if Steve Jobs or Richard Branson left?  Geek Squad institutionalizes the culture with dress, attitude, gimmicks, and fun. (b)
  16. Hire for the skills you cannot train for: Curiosity, drive, and ethics. (b)
  17. Geek Squad puts it’s logo on the the heel of their shoes.  They average human takes 7,000 steps a day x 17,000 employees.  Even if it doesn’t show up on the balance sheet, it sends a message to the team: We want you to be different and to question things.  And it’s great word of mouth. (b)


(a) Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos

(b) Robert Stephens, Founder and Chief Inspector, The Geek Squad

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