There’s Zappos and Then There’s Everyone Else

There’s Zappos and Then There’s Everyone Else

There’s Zappos and Then There’s Everyone Else 1440 527 Marsh Williams

Updated: 1:15 pm 4/24/14

I’ve just had an interesting customer service experience to share and hopefully learn from.

I bought a Jot Script stylus to use with my iPad a few weeks ago and last week it exploded in my hand, not literally, but it certainly fell apart. I reached out to Adonit via Twitter and asked for help. They responded which was wonderful and they offered to replace the item which was great, but here’s where it went sideways, at least in my opinion.

I was asked to package the stylus “very carefully” and ship it to them for inspection after which they would send me a new item and pay for the postage it cost me to ship it, but only via PayPal. Sounds good right? Then my Zappos customer training kicked in. I literally found myself thinking, “What would Zappos do?”

Zappos would have said, “…we’re really sorry, we’re sending you a new one tonight and when you get it tomorrow please use the same box to return the broken one, and we’ll pay the postage both ways.”

Why? Why does Zappos do this? And, more importantly why doesn’t everyone else? After thinking about it for a while I realized something that I’d never thought of before: Zappos doesn’t make anything…nothing, nada, squat.

The only thing they sell is service. They have no emotional investment in the product purchased, or what it took to design, manufacture or engineer it. They are not attached to the product. Yes, they evaluate it to make sure it’s made well and stands up to their expectations, but they did not make it and are therefore free of all the baggage that goes with creating a product and getting it to the market.

So here is the question for every organization selling anything online…what do you really care about? Do you want happy customers, or do you want customers to like your product and appreciate all the work that went into creating it? They are very different things.

In my situation with the Stylus, it seemed as if Adonit was more concerned with getting their broken product back than in getting a new one to me. They put the burden on me to do everything first and then wait to get a replacement product, and to be honest while their intent is good, they are not putting the customer (me) and their (my) needs first. By the way—the real underlying issue here is that they don’t trust me to hold up my end of the bargain and return the broken stylus.

So I encourage you to think about the end game of customer experience if you’re going to sell online. If all you want to do is sell more product then you probably will not succeed. If you want to create an incredible customer experience then it is likely you will win big. It can be done. If Zappos can make money selling commodity items and doing it better than the brick and mortar joint down the street, imagine what you can do with your product and how incredible it can be.

Give your customer service/support the gift of not caring about what it took to design, manufacture or engineer your product(s) and let them focus on making the customers fanatics about the experience. If you don’t want to service the customer, if it’s too much trouble or it’s too expensive, or you believe the customer will just rip you off, or if your only goal is to sell more product, then do not be surprised if you get your butt kicked…just my opinion.

Set your course toward a Zappos experience. You’ll have bumps. You’ll learn a lot. But putting your customers first is the only strategy that will ultimately create a win. And instead of customers you’ll get fans, which are infinitely more valuable.

Post Script

I’m probably just going to go buy a new stylus because it’s a great product and that’s the easiest route for me, but I’m not feeling very good about the experience or the company behind it.

Post Post Script 4/24/14 1:15 p.m.

Now that ‘s what I’m talking about! After Adonit blew a chance to be customer service heros, Evernote stepped in and actually did it right. Evernote’s Social Media team had been listening in and filed a customer support request on my behalf. I then received an email from Theo (my new hero) at Evernote Customer Support with the following information:

“I sent a new stylus to you with one-day shipping; I don’t have the option for overnight unfortunately, but you don’t need to worry about covering that cost. You’ll receive an email with tracking information as soon as it ships.

Please let me know if I can assist you further.



Score Evernote! That’s the way it should be done…

Photo Credit: mdanys

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