The Importance of Staying Connected to Your Customers


There’s a plethora of examples of what happens when a company loses touch with its customers, what they want, and its brand identity. Any infamous PR disasters come to mind? Like any relationship, that of a company and its customer needs constant nourishing if it's going to survive, and if you don’t treat your customer right, there’s another company out there who will.


One prime example of how Zappos strives to stay connected with its customers is happening right now, and if you call in during the next few weeks, you’ll catch a glimpse of it! It’s our Holiday Helper program; a Q4 tradition as well as a reminder of our roots.


Since the beginning, no matter what products Zappos offers, the level of service we strive to provide has always been the common denominator. That principle is the driving force behind everything Zappos does. The customer comes first, and each employee is always encouraged to remember that regardless of what department he or she works in.


During the mad rush of the holiday shopping season, the retail world feels the buzz in the air, the faster pace, and the higher volume of everything: product, calls, and customers. As Zappos defined what it wanted its level of service to be, it found a challenge during the flurry that is the 4th quarter. Given the rigorous hiring and training process at Zappos, how could it maintain the personality of the company and that personal connection with the customer especially at peak time? It was out of that question that Holiday Helper was born.


Borrowing from part of the Zappos New Hire Training program where each new hire spends 40 hours on the phones, every employee spends 10 hours on the phones during Zappos’ busiest season. Not only does this let everyone get to know our customers first hand, but it allows us to deliver some WOW in our own individual ways. The benefits of Holiday Helper are far reaching, from being able to maintain the same level of service regardless of how busy it gets, to each employee from the CEO to the newest member of the Customer Loyalty Team having a chance to interact with Zappos' amazing customers and being reminded of why Zappos exists in the first place. "My favorite thing about Holiday Helper is all of the employees banding together to Deliver WOW Through Service,” says Regina Renda, Customer Loyalty Team representative. Megan Petrini, Senior New Hire Trainer, adds, “My favorite thing about Holiday Helper is having the chance to impact a customer's life in a positive way. It reaffirms what it is that we stand for when you get the chance to go and do it for real.”


Holiday Helper also provides valuable insight into what our customers need. “All of our other departments get a chance to ask for real-time feedback from our customers,” says Petrini. Buyers from the Merchandising department can get feedback on everything from assortment to demand while members of the User Experience team may think of a new tool or design to make the site even more user-friendly for our customer base – all from just talking with our customers. Shopping your company’s own product is one thing, but shopping it with one of your actual customers adds a whole new perspective.


So whether you're calling for the first time - or the fiftieth! - during the craziest time of the year, you may just get CEO Tony Hsieh helping you shop for that perfect pair of winter boots, or someone might answer your call by singing you a song, and either way, one thing will be really clear: especially during Zappos Holiday Helper season, Fun and A Little Weirdness are always just a phone call away!


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Author: Erica Spelman

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