Is Zappos a BAD example of customer service?
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I read an interesting post recently by Robert Bacal in which he argued that Zappos Retail Inc. (and Nordstrom Inc.) is a bad example to idolize in the area of customer service:
"These companies are singular companies. That is, they exemplify what works with ONE company, with a very specific culture, in a specific industry and often the success of these companies is because of the people who drove the companies to be extremely customer service oriented. You don’t have those people. You don’t have the culture or any of the variables that you will need to effectively model your business on theirs."
It's an interesting argument. And as a graduate of Disney University's School of Customer Service, I get Robert's point. My small consulting firm in Des Moines looks nothing like Walt Disney World in any way, shape or form. I was enthralled to learn about all that Disney does to serve customers exceptionally well, but the differences between Disneyworld and c wenger group are so great that the application of service strategies and principles can be an impossible stretch.
I've always argued that the key to successful customer service is knowing:
- what your customers expect and desire
- what your company is doing & not doing against those expectations
- improving your systems, training, and service delivery to fill the gap
You don't have to be Zappos or Nordstrom to figure that out.