Tag Archives: build relationships

Three ways to build customer loyalty and your reputation

Sue Painter of EZineMark.com writes that it is as easy as 1-2-3 to deliver great customer service that is guaranteed to increase customer loyalty and your business reputation. Painter offers an example of a shopper who is looking for batteries. After approaching the battery display, she doesn’t find what she needs and then leaves the store. The potential customer spoke to no one and was not spoken to during her trip to the store. The store lost a customer and they lost the opportunity to build their reputation with her; and if the customer shares her experience, the store has lost many potential customers and sales. So what can a business do to ensure that she finds what she needs?

Painter shares three tips that drive money your way and build customer loyalty that is fierce and unwavering:

1. Carrying inventory in stock. If you are going to sell batteries, sell them fully.
2. Shorten the time it takes to make a purchase.
3. Make your item extremely easy to find.

Check out the original article for Painter’s explanation of her tips.

Customer Service – 3 Ways To Win Loyalty and Build A Reputation for Customer Service

NACCM 2009: Culture in Action: Applying the Zappos.com Culture to Your Organization ‘ Building a Brand that Matters

What does Oprah, ABC Nightline and 60 Minutes have in common? They all have featured the online retailer Zappos.com because of their customer service excellence. Maura Sullivan, Customer Loyalty Team Manager shared how Zappos.com leadership, under the direction of CEO Tony Hsieh, has built a solid foundation on customer and employee centricity.

Founded in 1999, Zappos.com has grown to a total of 1,400 employees, located in the Las Vegas headquarters and the Kentucky fulfillment center. They have over 10 million customers and on any given day, about 75% of purchases are from returning customers. Sales have grown from $1.6 million in 2001 to $1,014 million in 2008.

Zappos.com has focused their efforts on what the customer sees, what the customer experiences, and what the company does internally to help employees meet customer needs. The customer sees several value propositions on the Zappos.com website which include 24/7 customer service, 800 number on every page, free shipping, free return shipping, and a 365-day return policy. Returns average 35%, high for industry norms, but they factored that into their business model says Sullivan.

What the customer experiences is fast and accurate fulfillment, friendly above-and-beyond service, and occasional referrals to competitors for out-of-stock product. They see the value in these competitor referrals because of the ‘wow’ factor it produces. Also, they don’t limit handle times for customer calls or have sales-based performance goals for reps. The telephone is one of their best branding devices available, says Sullivan.

Their internal policies include hiring the best front liners. Interviews are 50% based on core values and culture fit. New employees receive 5 weeks of training on corporate culture, 10 core values, customer service, and warehouse training. They even offer to pay $2,000 to trainees in their second week to quit if they don’t want to work for Zappos.com after all. 98% of them stay. They even have their own Culture Book where employees can post their feelings and thoughts about working for Zappos.com. No surprise that they were rated #23 on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.

Sullivan shared these 7 steps for building a brand that matters:

1) Decide. Decide sooner rather than later

2) Figure out values & culture. Originally there was not a core value list. A list of 37 values was created but they chose to pare it down to a list of 10.

3) Commit to transparency. Be real and you have nothing to fear. Twitter has opened up getting to know other employees. An ‘Ask Anything’ company newsletter allows employees to ask questions and get answers. Extranet allows vendors to check inventory levels and create purchase orders as needed. Tours and reporter visits are encouraged.

4) Vision- Chase the vision, not the money.

5) Build relationships. Be interested rather than trying to be interesting.

6) Build your team. They hire slowly and fire quickly, says Sullivan.

7) Think long-term.

Put a little Zappos in your day. You can email msullivan@zappos.com to get a copy of the presentation or a copy of their Culture Book (include your mailing address). To receive a tour of their Las Vegas headquarters, you can contact them at tours@zappos.com. They will even pick you up at the airport!

One final quote: ‘People may not remember exactly what you did or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.’