US shoe retailer Zappos’ customer service is legendary – from sending flowers to a customer who ordered shoes because her feet were damaged by harsh medical treatments to buying from a competitor’s store when Zappos was out of stock.
And that extra mile hasn’t escaped their clients’ notice – the company cleared more than $1 billion in sales last year. So why aren’t more companies following their lead?
That’s what marketing blogger Seth Godin wants to know, as he looks at companies choosing to cut down customer service training across the board. Instead of focusing on the standard goals of decrease costs and increase productivity, Godin suggests companies adopt new goals: increase alignment and decrease fear.
“Alignment to the mission, to the culture, to what we do around here – this is critical, because in changing times, we can't rely on a static hierarchy to manage people,” Godin said. “And a decrease in fear, because this is the reason that we're stuck, that we fail, that our best work is left unshipped. Your team might know what to do, might have an even better plan than the one on the table, but our innate fear of shipping shuts all of that down.”
Instead of focusing on calls per hour, Zappos allows and encourages its employees to make a personal connection, with a focus on sufficient recognition, reward and training. HR is ideally positioned to help effect change by showing the c-suite the benefits of improving training, engagement and alignment.
It’s a common refrain that people are an organization’s greatest asset, so it’s vital to invest in their productivity and well-being.
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