Customer Service is Branding … is Marketing … is Advertising … is PR

This was one of the most popular blogs in 2011, and based on some recent stories that I have heard it is worth repeating:

Customer service and the way your customers experience your brand has the power to make or break you.  Here is a short quiz:

1. Why are we in business?  Because of the customer.

2. Why are existing customers forgotten about?  Because of focus on new customers.

3. What is the best way to get more business?  Existing customer referrals.

Obviously, it makes sense to take care of your existing customers, but there are still so many businesses that don’t, and some even complain that they are bothered by their existing customers.

If you want to be the best, then learn from the best, and set the bar high.  Zappos is the prime example of customer service. You may have heard them say that they are in the customer service business and just happen to sell shoes.  Tony Hsieh, the CEO,  helped Zappos grow from almost no sales to over $1 billion in gross merchandise sales annually, while simultaneously making Fortune magazines annual “Best Companies to Work For” list.  Now that you know their focus and their results, let’s take a look at the top 4 ways they back up their customer service branding promise:

“Powered by Service”

  1. “Help” is listed at the top in two places, on the side, and on the bottom of their website. {How many websites bury this option + don’t show a phone number?!}
  2. Customer service agents are empowered with tools, authority, and flexibility to make the customer happy. {Every employee starts in this department!}
  3. Open 24/7 to call or get live help, 365 return policy, and free shipping both ways.
  4. With 4,783,835 Total Products available, you can still easily navigate the website.

Now, you don’t have to be at this extreme level of customer service, but as I have mentioned before: The more work required of customers, the less sales return you will realize.  So, instead of running out the door each week to try to meet new customers, how about doing these two things:

Put on your customers’ shoes (no Zappos pun intended) and walk in them for a week to see what work you can reduce, and how you can improve the customer experience:

  • What steps, information requested, or forms can you eliminate?
  • How can you reduce time required of customers without compromising quality?
  • How can you WOW them?

Look at your product or service offering as if you are buying your own company:

  • Is your product or service of the highest quality?
  • Have you received any complaints, and how can you proactively fix them?
  • How can you innovate and improve, or find ways to add more value?


  • Less IS more.
  • Quality, not quantity.
  • Work smarter, not harder.

I hope you decide to spend some quality time to figure out how to get more efficient and effective so you can start seeing better results.

Want more info on the Zappos Family Core Values that back up their brand?


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