The Value of Great Customer Service According to Tony Hsieh

Disconnectivity is a prevalent culture in fast-paced internet companies. Employees are quick to assume a robotic, predictably amicable manner when dealing with customers. This attitude is prevalent specifically among call center agents who have to endure numerous irate callers every day.

These arguments make it seem unlikely that companies would ever be capable of providing authentic customer service, but one man’s vision and leadership is going to turn the critic in all of us into believers.

The Value of Great Customer Service According to Tony Hsieh image Tony HseihThe Value of Great Customer Service According to Tony HsiehMeet Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, 2011’s #6th Best Company to Work For. Tony Hsieh’s goal is to create a customer service-centered company with a strong and united company culture. He is most probably the only person who has successfully attained that goal.

Setting aside expensive marketing plans in favor of providing more valued service for the customer may seem counterproductive in the short-term perspective, but Tony is looking much farther than that.

Initially, when you read interviews about how Tony managed his company and come across his strict rules on hiring only “culture fit” employees and how he wants a company built on customer service, you would think: “Now THIS is an idealist.” However, when you look at the larger picture and see beyond the revenues (from practically $0 in 1999 to $1 billion in 2009), you will see satisfied repeat customers providing free and highly-effective word-of-mouth marketing and employees who enjoy their work and are proud to be a part of the company despite a $2000 sign off fee. These are authentic proof that the man’s vision has come true.

Why does the man value customer service so much?The Value of Great Customer Service According to Tony Hsieh image goodThe Value of Great Customer Service According to Tony Hsieh

According to Tony, by providing exceptional customer experience to clients, like receiving orders just 8 hours after ordering, or having sales reps who go “above and beyond” for the customer, his company is able to build a lasting relationship with its customers. Unlike other companies who have to spend millions of dollars on advertising just to get their brand name noticed, Zappos enjoys the privilege of having its customers do the marketing for them. The company’s profits rely much on repeat customer sales, accounting for at least 75% of sales on any given day. By providing these customers the best possible customer service they can offer, Zappos is assured that customers will not only keep coming back, but also keep spreading the word about their company.

The road leading to his goal was obviously not easy for Tony, but he wasn’t daunted by obvious setbacks on profits brought about by his unconventional business plan. By remaining passionate and believing in his goal, Tony has not only sold footwear, but he has also sold his brand Zappos to each and every customer.

He has proven that great customer service CAN exist in this fast-paced world, and that a little kindness can go a long way, especially when there is no apparent incentive for doing so. Tony Hsieh is now touted as the greatest advocate of providing the best customer service, with Zappos being the embodiment of the success brought about by that great service.

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