Inspiring Us. From Zappos to Zendesk.

February 12, 2014 10:25 am Published by

“We believe that customer service shouldn’t be just a department; it should be the entire company.” 

–          Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos

Buying shoes is an odd thing. I personally hate it. Wandering from shop to shop, looking at shoe upon shoe, judging and testing a vast array of colours, styles and brands. Is it the right colour? Do I like this style? Are they comfy? Are they good quality? Do they EVEN have it in my size?! No wonder I only do it twice a year!

The Zappos Way

About a month ago I learned of online shoe retailer Zappos. It’s surprising that I had never heard of them before. Especially considering their much publicised $1.2 billion takeover by Amazon in 2009. Maybe I had heard of them in the past but – to be blunt – my distain for shoe shopping stopped me from caring!

For me, Zappos is a fascinating company. Not because they’ve taken something so laborious and frustrating and turned it into a no hassle, few clicks service but because of their customer centric approach to business. Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO, recognised the importance of creating an exceptional customer experience. It is this passion and drive for creating high quality customer service which elevated Tony and Zappos to where they are today.

A company culture of going above and beyond to satisfy customers was ingrained in the Zappos DNA. One particular example I like is the story of an employee remaining on the phone with a customer for 10 hours and 29 minutes, striving to help solve a query! It’s this great ethos which led Zappos to 11th on the Fortune magazine list of “Best Companies to Work For” in 2012.

Rethinking Customer Relations

Currently, my commute-to-work book of choice is Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purposeby Tony Hsieh. The book is a must read for those working in companies with customer orientated strategies. Reading Tony’s book has opened up a whole new way of how I think about and see my role as Customer Relations Manager at Text Republic.

My role is not just to answer calls and emails and consult with customers and clients but also to drive a culture of superior customer support through a whole organisation approach. The customer is our core. As part of our customer focused strategy we need (and want) to delight all of our customers! By delighting all our customers the goal is to reverberate the good feelings, generating from our core, throughout Text Republic.

I’ve heard it said that happy staff make for happy customers. But do happy customers make for happy staff? I believe so! Both are variables in a customer centric strategy and neither are independent of the other.

Introducing Zendesk

As part of our strategy to delight our customers we have launched our new, easy to use Text Republic Help Centre. The Help Centre, created using the brilliant Zendesk, has been extremely popular with customers and staff alike! It has allowed for the application of a highly efficient, effective and (importantly!) simple customer support structure, which will benefit customers and the team at Text Republic HQ.

So, the story of Zappos has inspired me. Has it inspired me to buy my shoes online? No, absolutely not. Has it inspired me to grow a business and sell it to Amazon for bazillions? Maybe! Has it inspired me to believe in the power of delighting customers? Yes, yes it certainly has!


Image: Help!!

Peter Furey

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