Managing your reputation and creating a brand

Does your company have a reputation for great service? In the US the benchmark most business magazines comment on is online shoe and clothing store Zappos – which used to be an independent company, but is now a division of Amazon.

Every agent who works for Zappos has to undergo at least seven weeks of training and there are some legendary stories about how they will always do anything they can to ensure the customer is happy, examples include:

  • An agent sending flowers to a woman who bought several pairs of shoes because her feet were damaged by a medical condition
  • An agent sent a pair of shoes to a best man who had arrived at a wedding without any he could use – and they didn’t charge for the freight
  • An agent went to a rival shoe store and physically delivered the shoes to a customer who was not able to buy them with Zappos

The stories about Zappos play well in the business media, but what really ties all of them together – trust in your agents. If your agents are focused on doing what they can to make the customer happy and they know the culture of the organisation then they can take decisions about how best to resolve different situations.

Great service results in happy customers and, more importantly, repeat customers who tell their friends about the experience. The Zappos agent who bought a pair of shoes from a rival knew that such an example of service above what a customer might expect would bring that customer back to Zappos again and again.

Photo by Tech Cocktail licensed under Creative Commons

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