Transform Your Customer Experience: 5 Service Steps Inspired by Zappos

In a world where so many brand interactions are automated, direct human-to-human contact with customers is both a privilege and an opportunity. When a customer speaks to a team member by phone or in person, it is a rare and special chance to humanize the relationship.

I was fortunate to work for Zappos when Tony Hsieh was the CEO. While many leaders viewed contact centers as “cost centers,” Tony saw them as “loyalty builders” and, as such, “revenue generators.”

As a result of my work with Zappos, Tony supported my authorship of a book titled The Zappos Experience: 5 Principles to Engage, Inspire, and WOW.

In that book, I outlined Zappos’ experience template, which serves as a benchmark for driving engaging customer interactions. This comprehensive model focuses on critical elements in an outstanding customer experience.

  1. Greeting: These moments set the tone for the customer experience. Zappos emphasizes the importance of a warm and personal greeting. Employees are encouraged to introduce themselves by name, fostering a sense of familiarity and trust from the outset.

  2. Personal Emotional Connection: Zappos refers to this as a PEC and a PEC involves Zapponians communicating helpfulness, patience, sincerity, and genuineness. This emotional connection is crucial in elevating a routine transaction into a memorable and personal customer experience.

  3. Service: This element focuses on resourcefully addressing the customer’s needs by offering multiple solutions, giving customers choices, and fostering empowerment.

  4. Seeking/Supplying Information: Effective communication is bi-directional. This component of the service template encourages employees to gather and process information solicited from customers. It also involves sharing accurate and complete information throughout the interaction.

  5. Conclusion: Since interactional endings are especially memorable, Zappos’ model requires employees to review what was discussed, ensuring customer clarity and understanding. Furthermore, it emphasizes the importance of offering a perk or an extra touch of kindness before closing out the interaction.

By rigorously applying this experience template, Zappos contact center employees (referred to as the customer loyalty team – CLT) ensure that each customer interaction fosters a meaningful connection. This approach has been instrumental in building Zappos’ reputation as an exemplary customer experience provider.

Adopting a similar template (not a script) can significantly improve your customers’ engagement and loyalty.

Related: Customer Care vs. Speed of Service: Finding the Right Balance