Archives for June 2009
A few weeks ago, I posed the question ‘is customer service really empowered?” Well, at Zappos, the reputation for excellent customer service is legiondary already. So while many organizations, for reasons of fear or cost containment or a belief that it actually improves customer satisfation, are driving towards further and further scripting of customer interactions, here’s an exchange found on the web that demostrates Zappos has a completely different approach. Are Zappo’s customer service reps empowered? They ROCK!
Zappos Live Chat June 1st, 2009 Zappos is known for service…and for letting their service agents “be themselves”. I put this to the test tonight and threw a curveball or two at the guy helping me in a Live Chat. I used the name “Timmy” as my alias and asked a totally random question about a random product. See actual chat log below. Zappos rocks! I could not even make this stuff up, I swear.
–You are now chatting with Jonathan
Jonathan: Hello Timmy. How can I help you?
Timmy: do you know how wide the G-Shock Atomic Solar – AWG101 SKU #7403774 is?
Timmy: i mean, how big a wrist it would fit?
Timmy: Timmy has a big fat wrist
Timmy: Timmy need watch grande
Jonathan: I’ll see what I can find out for Timmy.
Timmy: awesome. and can we please continue to talk about Timmy in the 3rd person? Timmy likes to boost Timmy’s ego by talking about Timmy that way
Jonathan: Jonathan would be happy to neglect the use of pronouns for the duration of this conversation.
Timmy: Jonathan and Timmy shall get along just fine
Jonathan: Will Timmy be able to measure Timmy’s wrist?
Timmy: Timmy’s wrist is big, but not Biggie-Smalls big. Timmy doesn’t have the required measurement instruments.
Timmy: Timmy is 6′4″ 220lbs if that helps Jonathan
Jonathan: Luckily, that is roughly the size of Jonathan’s brother, so that does help.
Jonathan: Jonathan thinks that this watch will work out well for Timmy. The watch’s circumference is 9 inches, so it will probably fit around Timmy’s wrist.
Timmy: Ok cool
Timmy: Do your watches and stuff have free return shipping like your Zapatos?
Timmy: in case Timmy wants another one or something
Jonathan: And if it doesn’t work out, as long as the watch is in its original condition and in the original packaging, Timmy has 365 days to return Timmy’s order. We will even pay for the return shipping! As always, our shipping to Timmy will be free.
Timmy: Timmy thanks Jonathan for good help
Jonathan: Jonathan welcomes Timmy.
Jonathan: It’s Jonathan’s pleasure!
Jonathan: Can Jonathan do anything more for Timmy?
Timmy: no that is all timmy needs
Timmy: timmy happy
Jonathan: Good. Does Timmy have an account se up with Zappos yet?
Jonathan: Jonathan will upgrade Timmy’s account.
Timmy: yes timmy is repeat shopper
Timmy: but “Timmy” is my alter ego and not my actual name
Jonathan: Well, what is “Timmy’s” email address? I’ll hook you up.
Timmy: Timmy has placed orders using email@example.com in the past
Jonathan: Alright TODD!
Jonathan: I’m going to upgrade your account to VIP status! This will ensure that all future orders go out with 1-business day shipping free of charge!Just place your future orders at http://vip.zappos.com/.
Timmy: Timmy Likey!
Jonathan: Good. Good…
Jonathan: Let Jonathan know if there is anything else that Jonathan can do for Timmy.
Timmy: Ok, Timmy ok now. Timmy time to go shopping!
Jonathan: Have fun!
After seeing this information come to me in Twitter this morning from Jerry Owyang of Forrester Research @jowang, it started a dialog on the topic and then this commentary from Jerry on his blog:
Although I understand this practice varies by property, it is still the franchisor’s responsibility to set service standards for franchisees that protect and enhance the brand. McDonald’s french fries are McDonald’s french fries – whether in New York, Tokyo or Moscow.