Send all of your Crazy Customers to Zappos Contact Center


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Zappos wants to provide excellent service to everyone in their contact center, including the crazy customers that want to stay on the phone for 10-and-a-half hours.

This story makes me really sad. You know, I love a good public relations story just like everyone else. And when you hear many of the (genuine) customer service stories coming out of companies like Zappos you understand how they have built an enviable reputation in the marketplace for generating high customer loyalty. I appreciate what they have been able to do and I hope that people don’t try to take advantage of them and companies like them.

But when a Midwestern college student called the Zappos contact center to buy a pair of UGG boots, their reputation was put to the ultimate test. This call turned into a call that was probably more appreciated by the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce; at least they didn’t have to spend 10-and-a-half hours talking to him about moving to Las Vegas. The contact center agent actually had to put the caller on hold to take some breaks during the call. This caller went way too far.

I feel sorry for Zappos spokesman Jeff Lewis when he commented about their customer values: “We feel that allowing our team members the ability to stay on the phone with a customer for as long as they need is a crucial means of fulfilling this value.”

What else could he say? He needs to protect their free-spirited culture and not send the public message that probably played in his mind.

I think the response playing in his head could have gone something like this…

“I am sure this was a fraternity prank. We don’t appreciate our values being exploited like this. I mean, WTF, after 10-and-a-half hours and you only bought a pair of UGG boots which you don’t even need if you are moving to Las Vegas?! You are a total inconsiderate slob of a human being. I see long periods of unemployment in your future.”

I can’t even understand how a customer can think that keeping an agent who is committed to delivering the best possible service on the phone for 10-and-a-half hours is behavior that is morally acceptable. I have to believe this person was mentally unstable or that this was a fraternity prank. I am not trying to offend those battling mental illness, but this is not healthy behavior.

Where is the dignity and respect on the part of the caller here? This must be a farce…I hope to God it is a farce.

I have read many stories in the media that praise Zappos for their behavior with this interaction. I do have to agree with them. They stuck to their values even when it was put to the ultimate test. They turned the other cheek and refused to bend. Gosh, if we only had hedge-fund managers, bankers, and politicians that would do the same, the world would be a better place.

So don’t send all of your crazy customers to Zappos, I think they have earned a break. But if you see a Midwestern college student tell them to show some respect.

Visit the Contact Center Resource Library for Customer Experience Know-how…

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jim Rembach
Jim Rembach is recognized as a Top 50 Thought Leader and CX Influencer. He's a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner and host of the Fast Leader Show podcast and president of Call Center Coach, the world's only virtual blended learning academy for contact center supervisors and emerging supervisors. He’s a founding member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association’s CX Expert Panel, Advisory Board Member for Customer Value Creation International (CVCI), and Advisory Board Member for CX University.


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