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Exploring the Customer Experience In-Store & Online

Wow Your Customers, Starting with The Zappos Retail Experience

Posted by Christine B. Whittemore on Nov 4, 2011 8:45:00 AM

This is a 4 minute read.
The Zappos Experience

If you are serious about the retail experience, you are surely paying attention to Zappos which embodies an intensely-consumer focused approach to the customer retail experience.

You might also dive into Dr. Joseph Michelli's latest book titled The Zappos Experience: 5 Principles to Inspire, Engage, and WOW.

[And, then, take Zappos up on its offer to tour its offices outside of Las Vegas and experience firsthand the Zappos magic.]

In case you're still figuring retail experience details out, let me share with you words of wisdom from Joseph Michelli, which are guaranteed to set you on the right path. He discusses what great customer experiences have in common.

Online, Phone, Email, Brick and Mortar – What all Great Customer Experiences have in Common

By Dr. Joseph Michelli

Did the service provider get it right? Were their staff knowledgeable? Was the product or service delivered with an appropriate level of swiftness? Did the provider care about you as a person or just care about the money you were bringing to the transaction?

Whether you are providing products or services at www.thehottestcompany.com or are serving from a strip mall in Poughkeepsie, customers are evaluating each service experience based on the preceding questions. They want your deliverables provided accurately, knowledgeably, swiftly, and in an environment of caring.

Your customers are also forming opinions based on the look and feel of each contact point and the consistencies or inconsistencies they encounter from pre-purchase, purchase, post-purchase, and re-engagement phases of their journey with you.
 
Zappos, the focus of my just released book The Zappos Experience: 5 Priniciples to Inspire, Engage, and WOW!, understands the importance of each of these core components of an optimal customer experience. Let's take a look at just a few of the approaches Zappos leaders take to hit customer experience objectives:
  • Get It Right – In The Zappos Experience, I spend a considerable amount of time looking at the multiplicity of processes Zappos puts into place to assure that the pictorial representations of products on their website are calibrated for color accuracy and how painstakingly staff work to verify content descriptions of online products. Similarly, if you want to see processes involving checking, double checking, triple checking and more, all you need do is examine the lengths Zappos staff go through to "pick" items at the Zappos warehouses to secure delivery of a Zappos box with the right items inside.
  • Knowledgeable Staff – Not only does Zappos select for staff that possess a characteristic reflected in the company's core value "pursue growth and learning," but leaders have also provided staff a comprehensive curriculum on service excellence and product specific knowledge that so closely resembles a college curriculum that I refer to it throughout my book as "Zappos University."
  • Swiftness – Whether it is the speed with which their website loads (one of the fastest of all online stores), the urgency with which customer calls are answered, the rapidity that tweets to @zappos_service are addressed, or the often unexpected and expedited shipping of customer products, Zappos understands the importance of service velocity in today's "I want it yesterday" world.
  • Caring – Zappos leaders understand it's one thing to "care for" the customer by delivering an effortless experience and it's quite another thing to "care about " a customer by forging a personal relationship with them. In the language of Zappos, every customer interaction (be that through twitter, website design, a telephone call, or in-person contact) is in opportunity to form a PEC (personal emotional connection) and deliver "wow through service." It's not enough to satisfy customers, at Zappos you have to personally deliver happiness and wow!
Imagine translating that to your organization!
 
As Joseph asks,
 
"How does your customer experience compare to The Zappos Experience; particularly, when you audit for accuracy, knowledge, speed, and caring across all channels? Companies like Zappos should serve as an impetus to redouble our efforts and execute on the dimensions that truly move the experience needle for customers!"

Thank you, Joseph!
 
Here are a few more references and resources as you consider how to wow your customers and deliver an inspired retail experience:
 
Articles that my visit to Zappos HQ inspired:

I'm looking forward to diving into Joseph's book about The Zappos Experience. Plus, he quotes me on page 213 (so cool!). Furthermore, he is spot on in his advice to inspire, engage and Wow!

What's your reaction?

Let me know in the comments.

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Topics: customer experience, retail experience

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