How Zappos built a billion dollar business through better customer service

About The Author

HMS Team

HMS Team

We are a small team of designers, developers, and marketers. Currently on a collective mission to create bulletproof customer relationships for our ecommerce merchants.

Why and How Zappos Prioritized Customer Service

The “Why” is Simple

A business’s purpose is to solve a customer’s problem, and make them happy as a result. And so if this is the purpose of a business, shouldn’t that be where the company invests most of it’s time and budget?

Zappos puts this thinking to work through a company policy: put most of the money they would use for paid ads, into the customer experience. And they expect that repeat customers and their word of mouth become their true form of marketing. The result has been staggering. 75% of Zappos sales come from repeat customers.

Zappos has discovered repeat customers tend to spend more, come back more frequently, and are the biggest word of mouth advocates.

How Zappos Does It

The phone call is the best way to stand out your brand.

  • The average internet user sees over 11,000 ads per month, as studied by an ad block company, Bad Ad Johnny. Obviously that number of display advertising only dilutes a customer’s attention, meaning they aren’t paying attention to any of them. But on a phone call, you have 5-10 minutes of a target customer’s undivided attention. So as long as you deliver a great experience, your brand has made a lasting impression.

Put the telephone number front and center on their website.

  • Zappos actually WANTS to talk to their customers, because they know it’s the best way to develop a trusted relationship. There are no call time limits, no scripts, no sales quotas, and customer service staff are trained only to solve their customers problems.

Go above and beyond the customer expectation.

  • If a customer calls in about a product that Zappos doesn’t have in stock, Zappos employees are instructed to search at least 3 competitor websites for the same product, and direct the customer there. Even though they lose the customer that day, they know the customer will come to them next time.

Create happy surprises for customers.

  • For example, upgrade repeat customers to over-night shipping.

We've built our apps like Scout and Pizza Party for exactly these purposes. So you can reach out and say THANK YOU in such a way that it leaves a lasting impression of your brand.

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