Alfred Lin, Zappos: Six ways to differentiate through customer service

7th Jun 2010

Online retailers has become one of the most celebrated businesses in recent years, carving out a reputation for excellent and personal customer service.

This focus on the customer experience has seen it reap enormous success, generating 75% of its business through repeat purchases. And when forked out $850m for Zappos last year, CEO Jeff Bezos waxed lyrical about the firm: "Zappos has a customer obsession which is so easy for me to admire. It is the starting point for Zappos. It is the place where Zappos begins and ends. And that is a very key factor for me. I get all weak-kneed when I see a customer-obsessed company, and Zappos certainly is that."

Need further convincing? Last month, a pricing bug on the Zappos site saw goods worth thousands listed with a price of $49.95 - in keeping with its stellar image, it honoured the purchases made during this time, which cost it a hair-raising $1.6m. spoke with Alfred Lin, COO of at European Customer Experience World 2010, to find out what other businesses can learn from the organisation.

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By Charles Nicholls
07th Jun 2010 12:01

Thanks for posting this. It’s always interesting to hear more about Zappos. I recently caught up with Tony Hseih CEO of Zappos, and he talked in more detail about his conversion philosophy, in particular about how the phone and web work together. Tony talked at length about how Zappos differentiate themselves through the phone, despite being an online business.  He refers to building the brand ‘one phone call at a time’ and goes on to explain :

“It’s not about making sales, it’s about how people feel. We want to build a personal emotional connection with our customers, to create happiness so our customers tell their friends and family. Each phone call is a branding opportunity.”

You can read the full interview here:

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