Business · Customer Service

Do You Wish to Continue in English?

In my review of the book “Delivering Happiness” by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, I was a bit harsh on Tony. What I thought was coming across as a advertisement for Zappos was actually a lightning bolt to my brain with regard to the art of loving the customer.
I’m an enthusiastic customer. Zappos, a subsidiary of, is an online shoe retailer. In his book, Tony describes trials and tribulations of getting people to buy something that would be at the top of anyone’s list of products that demand to been seen, touched and tried. Getting someone comfortable buying a pair of shoes that, frankly, in all likelihood will need to be exchanged or returned, wouldn’t be easy. The key would be customer service.
Customer service has traditionally been the ‘complaint desk’. RMAs are issued and the metrics revolve around handling these in a cost effective manner. While there is a lot of talk around ‘delighting the customer’, most companies don’t have the passion or commitment to not only be friendly and empathetic on the phone with a customer but to also take that feedback and change the product, procedures or website to eliminate problems in the future.
Companies must examine every problem. Eliminate irritations. Make common sense part of the equation. When I use my ATM card, I’m asked each and every time whether I want to continue in English. Is this because I may have learned Spanish since my last withdrawal and now want to handle my financial transactions in my new language? No. It’s because it might be too much trouble to ask me once and automatically change my customer profile accordingly.
There are a million examples. Tony and the folks at Zappos get beyond the buzzwords to the crux of the customer experience. And they sell shoes.
What product or service are you selling? How important are your customers? It’s time to think way, way outside of the box. We know that the cost of keeping a customer is lower than the cost of acquiring one. If you think that is the key metric, you’re still in the box.


2 thoughts on “Do You Wish to Continue in English?

  1. The book was quite a pat on the back. You get a flavor for some of what I’m talking about in the earlier part of the book but the last couple of chapters really home in. It would be worth thumbing through before you buy. Thanks for reading!

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