There are two famous customer service legends about Zappos.com, the largest online shoe outletin the universe. These are tales that we can emulate:
1 - A few years ago the CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh, was out with some vendors from a shoe manufacturer. One of the vendors had a hunger for a late night pizza and suggested they should call Zappos customer service for help. The group laughed. The CEO of Zappos didn't. He thought calling Zappos customer service to ask about pizza was a great idea. Tony Hsieh was so sure of his company's customer service (a shoe company, remember) that he told the vendor to call customer service and ask about pizza.
So, the vendor called the Zappos customer service number. The Zappos rep briefly and very politely ensured the caller knew he was calling Zappos, then said, 'absolutely, I can help you with that, give me just a moment.'
After a very brief pause, the rep politely gavea list of five nearby pizza places that were still open. She even passed along her personal recommendation in a very professional way, offered to read the list over the phone, text it, or email it—whichever was best for the caller.
As you would guess, the entire table was stunned. Everyone but Tony Hsieh.
Now, another example from Zappos, this one from their website:
"One of the craziest stories," said Jerry Tidmore, who manages Zappos' help-desk concierge service, "was that a guest checked in to the Mandalay Bay hotel (in nearby Las Vegas) and forgot her shoes."
According to Tidmore, the guest called Zappos, where she had originally purchased the shoes, looking for a replacement, but they didn't have any in stock. So the company found a pair in the right size at a local mall, bought them and delivered them to the hotel - all for free.
Indeed,this is wonderful customer service.
Keys to Providing Incredible Customer Service
Whole libraries have been penned on customer service, but here's a few tips.
1 - Do what you can do. Never, ever say 'I can't,' or 'I'm not allowed.' Who cares if you do not have something in stock, or if corporate policy prohibits you from fixing the problem? Focus on how you can help the customer. Get creative; call business partners, to your uncle, even to competitors—whoever! Help the customer no matter what!
Remember this: you are not guaranteed to have everything in stock all the time, you are not guaranteed to be able to answer every concern every time, but you are guaranteed to help the customer all the time. Period.
2 - Helping them is your job. If you're a salesmen or a manager and somehow you get a call about an IT or a technical issue, your first reaction is, 'this isn't my job.' After all, you don't know anything about the question they're asking. Heck, you don't even know what half the words mean in the question they're asking. This isn't your job.
Helping them is your job! So serve them. If you can't fix the problem, find someone who can as fast and efficiently as possible.
3 - Warm transfer vs. cold transfer - Have you ever called a company to explain a situation/problem? You explain it one time, and they transfer you? 'I'm gonna transfer you to Mary.' Mary picks up the phone and you have to explain who you are and why you're calling all over again. And if that person still can't help you…they transfer you; and the process of repetition and explanation and frustration repeats itself.
That is a cold transfer.
A warm transfer goes like this: you call the company to explain a situation/problem. You explain it and that rep says 'I'm going to transfer you to Mary, she'll be able to help you.' But instead of pushing transfer and forgetting you, this rep calls Mary herself, with you on the line, and explains to Mary what you've just told her. She does the work for you, so you don't have to explain everything 47 times.
That is epic customer service.
4 - Outlook - The first three keys were really tactics, specific things to do or not do. But the most crucial secret is an attitude. You must have an attitude of 'owning' every issue that comes across your desk. You must follow it through to the resolution. You have to realize that helping the client is your first job (even if your official title is mechanic, front desk clerk or salesman). Your job is to help the customer.
Start Being a Legend and Grow Your Business
You want to grow you business? Then improve your customer service. The Zappos website says it best, "We've been asked by a lot of people how we've grown so quickly, and the answer is actually really simple... We've aligned the entire organization around one mission: to provide the best customer service possible."
So, maybe you don't have the best products, the most competitive prices, or even the brightest employees…but guess what, by practicing these tools you can have the best customer service. That is something you can control.
And your business can become legendary.
ContactPoint is the world leader in sales and customer service optimitics. Their patented technology records and scores customer phone calls so companies hear what their clients hear. For more information visit http://www.contactpoint.com or http://www.contactpoint.com/about-you/sell-with-power
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