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Monday, July 14, 2014
Has Zappos Taken Customer Service Too Far?
The last time you had a really horrible experience at a restaurant or received stellar service at a hotel, you may have jumped online to write a review.
Or, when you needed your air conditioning fixed, you may have consulted what others were saying about the business before giving the repair company a call.
Welcome to the age of age of customer feedback, where businesses can be made – or torpedoed—based on what Irene in Iowa says about her customer service experience.
Such feedback has become highly valued by companies hoping to grow quickly. What better way to succeed than having customers rave about their experience?
Of course, that means employees have to roll out the red carpet for every customer, no matter if they spend $5 or $5,000. Zappos often is held up as one of the gold standards for customer service, and every business is rushing to emulate them.
But is that really such a good idea?
Wharton University marketing professor Peter Fader thinks it’s not. While that may be a controversial idea, he believes more companies will begin to consider it.
“I have a tremendous respect for Zappos, and their culture is really unique,” Fader says. “But even they could stand to be a bit more choosy” about who gets top-drawer customer service.
Fader explains that 20 years ago, providing stellar customer service was a way for a company to distinguish itself and could reap the benefits of loyal customers. But now, customers expect such treatment and therefore aren’t as impressed – or as loyal – to companies that provide that service, he says.
“Today, the bar has been raised so high for companies that it’s harder and harder to distinguish themselves and the ROI gets less,” he says.
If an employee spends too much time trying to please a customer that may never return to the business no matter what – even when offered numerous freebies – then that employee’s time and the company’s resources may be better spent elsewhere, he explains.
“There are some customers that will be loyal no matter what. Then there are the customers that no matter how well you treat them they are not going to change how they feel about you because they don’t want a relationship,” Fader says. “What you have to do is find (read more here)