This is part of our occasional series called CX Stories, which are personal accounts by COPC Inc. employees about their own positive customer experience. This story is from Judi Brenstein, vice president, COPC Inc.
I have been buying shoes from Zappos.com since 2001. When I first started using Zappos.com, I thought it was a great way to purchase shoes for me and my daughters because of two simple things. First, I travel a lot for work and often do not have time to shop at the mall during regular store hours. Second, Zappos.com eliminated the worry about trying things on by allowing me to easily return any product if it does not fit.
While Zappos.com prices are competitive, for me, their main differentiator is that they have always treated me like they truly want me to be satisfied with each and every purchase. As a result, I’ve been buying from them for 15 years, starting with shoes and eventually clothing as well.
I work with companies every day to help improve their CX operations and I use my Zappos.com experience as an example of how every company should make their customers feel—especially if that company wants to achieve exponential growth. While everyone talks about excellent customer service, Zappos.com is a leader in putting the theory into practice.
A few years into my buying relationship with Zappos.com, they didn’t seem satisfied just to ensure my customer satisfaction and meet my expectations. They pursued customer delight. And, thus, my orders that were set to arrive in 2 to 3 days often were upgraded to be shipped overnight—much to my surprise and delight.
Then one day, I received an email from Zappos.com asking me if I wanted to be a part of their VIP program. All I had to do was raise my right hand (which I did) and state that I would buy my shoes for the rest of my life from Zappos.com. (I remember that the whole process made me chuckle.) Then I clicked a button in the email and was immediately deemed a VIP, which has given me free overnight shipping on anything I buy from Zappos.com. Even when all I bought was a headband.
Now their policy of free shipping and free returns is resetting the bar for customer expectations and other companies are starting to follow this practice.
As the years passed and my daughters grew older, I would joke with my friends that I might be one of Zappos.com best customers. Last year, Zappos.com decided that I indeed was one of their best customers. They sent me a handwritten card in the mail that told me so. It reads: “You’re the best.” The card was not mass produced, but written by hand.
Since I was one of their best customers, they wanted to send flowers. However, because I travel so much for work, I knew that receiving flowers would be difficult. I asked them if they would instead send the flowers to my daughter—who now is in medical school—and was studying for finals. They, of course, agreed. Zappos.com sent my daughter a vase of beautiful flowers along with this note: “Someone who loves Zappos.com loves you.”
The customer experience has never been more important than today. Any company that wants to grow and thrive has to differentiate itself. For Zappos.com, their focus is all about customer service. This shows up beyond the tagline “powered by service” or their first core value: deliver WOW through service. They live this brand promise not only through their everyday processes and policies, but also through their unexpected and sometimes industry-changing focus on exceeding customer expectations.