Don’t be a jerk online: Reputation where you least expect it
Zappos.com, the online store that is known for shoes but sells, like, EVERYTHING now, is renowned for it’s superior customer service: 365 day returns, free shipping both ways, humor while you are waiting on the phone. Overall, they are pretty great people and company.
A couple weeks ago, I ordered some gloves, and they sent me two right hands. Naturally, I was annoyed and disappointed.
So I called them around 11pm eastern, and they are on pacific time. Apparently they were having their quarterly meeting or something, so I was on hold for a while. I decided to livechat them as I was on hold, sort of as an experiment to see how long it would take for each method and to see how long it would take for them to pick up the phone. Since I love consumer advocacy, I try to push limits and experiment when I can.
My live chat picked up. I told Michael the situation. All he said was that they were out of stock and he didn’t know how it happened that I was sent two right hands. He said he could put me on a waiting list.
I was annoyed by this for a couple reasons:
1. I can put myself on a waiting list.
2. Waiting list does not solve the current problem.
I told him this and asked him what he was going to to do take care of me now, not in the future with a waiting list that may or may not produce. I was a bit snarky. It really bothers me when people don’t own the problem and when they don’t really try to help the current situation.
Michael offered me a $40 store credit, and I could obviously return the gloves, too, for a refund.
This made me happy. It made my troubles worth it. It didn’t give me the correct gloves, but it sure as hell shut me up and calmed me down.
Fast forward a couple weeks later. I live chatted Zappos again around the same time as before, for a minor question about the same order the gloves were in.
As I was live chatting and explaining the situation, the rep said, “Oh yeah, I remember those gloves.”
It was Michael again. He was very helpful. I joked and said I’m sure he was thrilled to hear from me.
The Lesson: You are building a reputation everywhere. Even the people you never think you will see or talk to again may cross your path again.