Zappos 10 Rules of Customer-Centricity

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1to1 Magazine published Zappos’ 10 rules for creating a customer-centric culture, via Jane Judd, senior manager of customer loyalty who spoke at the North American Conference on Customer Management (NACCM). (I only got it in email, so maybe they’ll link it from their site soon.).

  1. Make customer service a priority for the whole company.
  2. Make "wow" a part of your company’ vocabulary.
  3. Don’t measure call times, and don’t force agents to upsell.
  4. Empower your customer service team.
  5. Don’t hide your toll-free number.
  6. Have the entire company celebrate great service.
  7. Create a culture book.
  8. Find people who are passionate about customer service.
  9. Give great service to everyone: customers, employees, and vendors.
  10. Make customer service part of everyone’s performance reviews.

Notice the theme? The Zappos.com mission statement is a simple one: "We are a service company that happens to sell _____."

How does this translate into revenue, ROI, margin? Best known for selling shoes, Zappos.com doesn’t want to be restricted by filling in that blank; during its seven years in business the $600 million company has added apparel, handbags, and accessories to its offerings.

Look at these Nielsen NetRatings comparison of traffic.

It’s fair that these companies are not exactly comparable, but I will assert that Zappos in comparative and absolute terms (almost $1B selling shoes!) is succeeding for the same reason Craigslist, JetBlue, USAA, Southwest Airlines, Costco, and others like them succeed. Focus on customer service drives repeat business and word of mouth (low cost aquisition).

There’s not a long list of companies that truly execute customer service and a customer-centric culture. If you want to differentiate from your competition, look at the list above.

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