I read an inspiring article today by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos - a very successful company that sells shoes online. The article was called "Going to Extremes for Customers" and highlights the importance of customer service to Zappos' success.
One of the early challenges for Zappos was customer service - specifically, finding the right sort of people to staff the large call centre. By recruiting the right sort of people, implementing great processes and adhering to some key principles Zappos soon found that their call centre became the foundation of tremendous customer loyalty and a source of a large number of continuous and sustainable referrals to new customers.
Tony goes into detail about the key reasons Zappos has been able to achieve incredible profitable revenue growth and cites the adherence to certain customer service principles as the key drivers to this growth. In brief, the 7 ways to achieve exceptional customer service are:
1. Make customer service a priority for the whole company. It’s not just a department.
2. Empower your customer service reps. Rarely should they have to escalate a customer’s issue to a supervisor.
3. Fire customers who are insatiable or abuse your employees.
4. Don’t measure call times, don’t upsell, and don’t use scripts.
5. Don’t hide your phone number. You want to talk to customers.
6. View the cost of handling customers’ calls as an investment in marketing, not an expense.
7. Celebrate great service by telling exceptional stories to the entire company.
How do you deliver exceptional customer service? How important is it to your profitable growth?