The Essential Ingredient of Great Customer Service


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Customer service isn’t just one thing, it’s the whole enchilada. The service experience customers have will either make them glad or mad. Glad means they stay with you. Mad means they not only leave, but they probably tell their friends how rotten you are, too.

Sharon Drew Morgan gives a ‘mad’ example in “give ’em hell: getting a refund from bad providers“. Oh, the power of the social media.

One ingredient is essential to your customers being treated well–employees who feel valued. It’s that simple.

Online clothing and shoe company Zappos was built on a culture of treating people as people. Their customer service is legendary. And why? Because from the beginning Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh made sure the employees knew they were valued.

Tony Schwartz tells the story in his book, The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working: The whole Zappos work environment was tailored to convey this. Hsieh gave them perks like free lunches, ice cream socials, and a life coach to help them through work-related issues. Employees are even empowered to give bonuses to each other for doing something special.

With management encouragement, Zappos employees stay on the phone as long as it takes for the customer to feel good about the outcome of the service issue. Obviously this time is not wasted—the company has grown to the point that Amazon purchased it last year for more than $900 million.

Check out, Zappos Insights, to learn how to create a strong culture where people love to work with service that WOW’s your customers.

To transform your own work environment, Schwartz suggests four action steps for leaders:

  1. Think of a time when a leader or supervisor most inspired you. How would you describe that person? What would it take for that description to fit you? Emulate him or her in specific ways to light fires in those you lead.
  2. Write notes of appreciation to those you work with or lead. Be specific. Aim for at least one a week. As Schwartz says, “People are energized and inspired by feeling recognized and appreciated.”
  3. End meetings on a positive note.
  4. Is there some thorny issue you’ve failed to address? Often avoiding conflict just makes things worse. Make your approach open rather than accusatory, and ask questions as much as possible. Truly listen to other viewpoints before deciding how to resolve things.

In a business CSR’s, customer service representatives, can access this knowledge about their customer’s interests quickly from their CRM system. Nothing feels quite as good as helping the customer quickly and providing valuable information!

Energy is contagious. Value those who work for you, and they’ll help you spread positive energy to customers like a virus for good. That’s what I call success.

More on Leadership development and organizational development

As a business professional how can you provide a WOW experience for your customers?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dick Wooden
CRM specialist to help you get the answers you need with sales, service, and marketing CRM software. I help mid-sized businesses select, implement and optimize CRM so that it works the way their business needs to work. My firm is focused on client success with remarkable customer experience, effective marketing and profitable sales using CRM strategy and tools.


  1. Those are great action steps that you provided, Dick! Thanks for the shout out to Zappos Insights. Come check us out in Henderson if you are ever in the neighborhood; Schedule a tour at

    Have a great day,
    Amelia and the Zappos Insights Team

  2. Thank you for the comment Amelia. I appreciate the content from the Zappos Insights Team and will certainly plan a visit!


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