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Anna G. Larson, Published September 05 2012

Thursday review: Online shoe and apparel provider Zappos’ customer service fantastic

When I first heard the term “Zapponian,” I imagined a happy little alien who sends people shoes. My imagination wasn’t too far off.

Zappos, an online shoe and apparel shop, is a one-stop shop for shoes, handbags, clothing and much more. The company offers free shipping both ways so customers are never out any money if something doesn’t fit right. But what makes Zappos stand out the most is the excellent customer service provided by its employees, who are called Zapponians.

My first customer service experience with Zappos happened years ago, when I was sent the wrong size rain boot. I called the customer support number, and within minutes, I was talking to a real person. My Zapponian immediately apologized for the mix up, sent me a $20 off coupon and mailed me the correct size. The boots were on my doorstep by 2 p.m. the next day.

I was highly impressed with the speedy service, but what awed me more was the trust the employee had in me. She didn’t question my honesty. She didn’t say I had to send the incorrect pair back before I’d receive the size I needed. She didn’t make me feel like she was in a rush to deal with the situation. She seemed genuine, and the unbeatable customer service hooked me on Zappos.

Since then, I’ve ordered more pairs of shoes from Zappos than I care to admit, and I recently had another beyond awesome customer service experience.

I was sent a pair of damaged shoes – it happens from time to time. I emailed customer support. The Zapponian who replied apologized for the defective shoes and said a new pair was on its way. He also told me to keep the damaged pair and do whatever I wanted with them. He suggested I donate them to a thrift store or make them into an art project. The end of the email included links to cupcake recipes (how did they know I love to bake?) and “With Love, The Zappos Customer Loyalty Team.”

Again, Zappos exhibited trust in the customer and unbeatable service. I don’t know of many companies that would eat a loss and suggest donating to charity, but I also shouldn’t be surprised. Zappos’ core values consist of delivering “wow” through service, creating fun and a little weirdness, and building open and honest relationships through communication.

Thank you, Zappos and Zapponians, for making online shopping awesome.

With Love,

Anna