Zappos and the importance of making a personal emotional connection


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PEC in the form of Thank You Cards

I recently had the opportunity to tour Zappos. In one word “awesome.” If you find yourself in Las Vegas… run, don’t walk over to Zappos Headquarters in nearby Henderson.

zappos personal emotional connectionDon’t worry if you don’t have a rental car or a small fortune for a taxi. Zappos runs a complimentary shuttle service. The shuttle is just one of the many lagniappes you’ll experience on the tour. Here is a partial list:

– A complimentary bottle of water when you check-in at the front desk / reception

– Popcorn in the lobby

– A free drink or snack as you make a quick stop in the cafeteria (I grabbed a Diet Coke)

– A picture while sitting on the V.I.P throne

– A complimentary copy of Delivering Happiness and the 2010 Culture Book at the end of the Tour

– An e-mail containing a 20% off discount on your next order (thanks Valerie!)

rocco zappos culture magicianRocco was our tour guide from Zappos Insights. He is the ‘culture magician’ who guided us on the one hour journey through Zappos.

Here is a 1 minute video recap of my Tour:

One of themes on the Tour was Zappos’ focus on making a personal emotional connection (PEC) with customers. Zappos call center representatives are part of the Customer Loyalty Team. Each page on the Zappos website contains the 1-800 number. Although less than 5% of customers will engage with the Team, Zappos views those interactions as critical opportunities to make a PEC. They measure those interactions through a 3 question survey [Here is a great post by Jeanne Bliss talking about those questions].

ZapposThe one thing that really stood out was the practice of sending personalized ‘thank you’ cards to customers. Thank you’s are part of Follow-up, the seventh of 12 types of Purple Goldfish. Rocco showed us a copy of the card and how they track these interactions. The day before our Tour the team sent 133 cards to customers. I don’t have a gauge of overall daily averages, but this equates to almost 50,000 cards per year. The little things add up quickly and can make a big difference. This earns Zappos yet another example in the Purple Goldfish Project at #1004.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Here is a talk by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh @Google. It’s long, but a great primer on the company.

How do you stand out in the sea of sameness? Are you investing into your customers like Zappos? How do you win repeat customers and influence word of mouth? Are you Giving Little Unexpected Extras?

What’s Your GLUE? What’s Your Purple Goldfish?

Download the FREE eBook here

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.


  1. I’ve not yet had a chance to visit, but I have finished the book, Delivering Happiness and I’d love to visit. But I also have the pleasure of interviewing the CEO of Delivering Happiness, Jenn Lim on my TV show, Mad Marketing TV, in the next few weeks.


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