Jan. 29th, 2008

Why I Heart Service. (And not Bank of America).

So last night I get two telemarketing calls at dinnertime.  One from Bank of America offering me some new program and another from Audi seeking input on their customer service.

Considering both organizations have my email and home address I find myself amazed that their corporate marketing honchos continue to approve home phone invasions.

But then today, I get an email from a client about this incredible story of customer service by the tiny, online shoe company Zappos:

"One bright, extraordinary note in all of the sad stuff of the last few weeks – in May we had ordered several pairs of shoes from Zappos for my mom. She’d lost a lot of weight, and her old shoes were all too big. She had a whole new wardrobe of clothes in pretty colors, that fit, so I wanted her to have some pretty shoes that fit, too, when I took her up to Oregon to stay where her sister is. Out of seven pairs, only two fit….

The rest were here waiting to be returned. Because of various circumstances – lost label, my mom being hospitalized and me being away, the shoes were never sent back. There’s a time limit on the return of 15 days. Remember this. When you do a return to them, they pay the shipping, but you have to get the shoes to UPS yourself. Remember this, also.

When I came home this last time, I had an email from Zappos asking about the shoes, since they hadn’t received them. I was just back and not ready to deal with that, so I replied that my mom had died but that I’d send the shoes as soon as I could. They emailed back that they had arranged with UPS to pick up the shoes, so I wouldn’t have to take the time to do it myself. I was so touched. That’s going against corporate policy.

Yesterday, when I came home from town, a florist delivery man was just leaving. It was a beautiful arrangement in a basket with white lilies and roses and carnations. Big and lush and fragrant. I opened the card, and it was from Zappos. I burst into tears. I’m a sucker for kindness, and if that isn’t one of the nicest things I’ve ever had happen to me, I don’t know what is. So…" (Original post here).

Why is it that the big brands are willing cede decency and flexibility to the little guys?

Let’s hear it for the challengers. Thanks for the note Tim!


  • Jan. 30th, 2008

    Beautiful example of good service! It goes to prove that it is truly the little, thoughtful touches that make the difference between an okay customer experience and a great one.

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