The Zappos Way
Tony Hseish ('shay), CEO of Zappos (online shoe retailer recently acquired by Amazon.com), writes in his best-selling book, The Zappos Way, that Customer Service is what Zappos is all about.
It's not about low prices, product quality, flashy technological gadgetry, nor even profit margins. It's about Service. Moreover, if you were to talk to any one of Zappos' hundreds of employees, they will say the same thing. It's About The Customer!
This week, I experienced one of the worst examples of customer service ever in my 51 years of life on the planet. Wait, I exaggerate; it was the SECOND WORST customer service experience...
Performing an errand for a business friend of my wife (that is a story within a story -- but for now...). She bought a Multi-CD player stereo from where? BESTBUY... It didn't work; the business friend and my wife were to open a European-themed restaurant in less than 3 days.
Anyone out there in the restaurant business? Well, besides the food plus the waitstaff...the success of a great restaurant hinges upon the Restaurant Experience -- aka, The Customer Experience. Critical to the experience, is the contribution of thematic music. European Restaurant -- European Music; Capeche?
The Store Return of the Music Box
After foolin with the stereo for 3 hours, we determined that it was defective (it was made by -- thats not important right now). I was Volunteered to do the grunt work of returning the stereo CD player. Upon arriving at BestBuy, I was cheerfully and expertly greeted at the store entrance by John, the loss prevention guy. He directed me to Customer Service (department).
No one in line; 4 staff members chatting it up, NO One acknowledged me for 7 minutes. Returning to John, I asked to speak to the Store manager. 5 minutes later, he arrives. 'What's the Problem, Sir?" he asks. 'I've been standing here...'
I tell the manager that I'm a Blogger. I say that I want to give him the opportunity to deliver WOW! He speaks to a department associate. The associate asks, "Sir, what's the problem?" 'Huh, didn't the manager tell...I have to regurgitate again to you?' Well my...
They send me to Home Theater (dept). 'April' is cheerful and knowledgeable. However, my item is Out of Stock; no comparable product is available. I say, 'OK -- give me the display model w/full warranty; put the defective one on dispaly until your new stock arrives.' She trots off to revisit the Store manager (remember him?) He says, "No Can Do!" I'm stunned...
I return to the front; intent on leaving the store with my defective merchandise. The Rightful owner can get a return credit to her card. But first...
BestBuy -- How Do You Spell Service?
I again, seek out the Store Manager (remember him?). I tell him my experience was terrible. He says sorry; and goes about his business. Later, I call BestBuy Corporate Customer Care in Minnesota. 'Vanessa' is nice; an empathic listener. But guess what? No callback, email, nor apology.
A Trip to my Texas-Friendly Grocery Store
Desperate to help my wife's friend retrieve a Multi-CD player, I make 7 calls; No One has this item. On the way home, I pop into My H-E-B to pick up some soda-water...Something said, just maybe --hmmm...
H-E-B Grocery Company prides itself on being Texas-Friendly. In another lifetime, I was one of their store mangers. Within their expanded supermarket, was an Electronic department. Guess what?
The Store Partner, Nicole, Knocked My Socks Off with service and expertise. she located an excellent Multi-CD Player with 7500 Killer Watts of Pure Texas Sound Power. The lights, speakers, and sound was amazing.
Customer Service Drives the Stock Market
Smart companies get it. Customer Service equals customer loyalty equals increased profits. H-E-B is a privately-owned corporation; BestBuy is not. One would think...take that back, BestBuy
Come to think of it, my grocery store, H-E-B, also sells electronics. And they do a Damn fine job with it. If the shoe was on the other foot, could BestBuy electronics retailer also sell grocery items? Me Thinks Not!