retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Michael Sansolo

In the dictionary of customer satisfaction I have a suggestion for what ranks above “wow.” How about: Zappos! Because when it comes to amazing the customer, the dot com shoe giant may make everyone else look up.

My wife loves Zappos as a source of athletic shoes that meet all her requirements for style, fit, size and price. A few years back I wrote about her first “WOW” moment from Zappos, when an order she placed at 10 p.m. arrived on our doorstep the following morning. We came to learn that such blinding speed is one of elements Zappos uses to build customer satisfaction.

That was nothing!

Two days ago my wife noticed a rip in the seam of a pair of workout shoes she really loves. The shoes were just a few months old. and she was convinced that she was stuck with having to buy a new pair. So she wrote an e-mail to Zappos (where she got the shoes, of course) to complain about the flaw.

The next day a replacement pair arrived. There was no note, no request for the damaged product, receipt or anything. Instead, there was a UPS box with new shoes in the exact style, size and color of the previous pair.

Trust me, WOW! doesn’t begin to describe her response.

I can’t possibly know what was behind this at Zappos. Maybe they’ve had repeated problems with this specific shoe and are on the lookout for customer concerns. Maybe they examined my wife’s profile and determined she was a customer they needed to care for. Maybe they knew that she would instantly start blasting this news throughout her social networks (which she did) giving Zappos tons a huge dose of viral raves. The bottom line is they took customer service to a level she has never seen before.

Suddenly, “WOW" seems like the understatement of the year.
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