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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Zappos’ WOW Philosophy: Tips for Fostering Customer Delight

    Posted by Bill Faeth

    Improving Customer Delight in Your Business 


    As inbound marketers, it is easy for us to get caught up in the process of generating leads. After all, isn’t the purpose of business to acquire customers and make money? However, we often become so focused on attracting customers that we forget about a factor that is just as important: customer delight.

    Customer delight is stage four in the Inbound Methodology, and its significance cannot be overlooked. In fact, did you know that it is six to seven times more costly to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer? By delighting current customers, you establish trust and create relationships, so your customers will want to repurchase your product or service. Additionally, when your customers are happy, they become promoters and attract new customers to your business.

    Did you know? It is six to seven times more costly to attract a new customer than to retain an existing customer. 

    Zappos.com is a company known for its commitment to delighting its customers. By studying Zappos’ culture, we can gain insight on how to best delight our customers and, in turn, create lasting relationships that strengthen our businesses. Let’s take a look at the two fundamental strategies the company uses to please its customers.

    “Deliver WOW Through Service” 

    Zappos’ #1 Core Value is to deliver WOW. They have aligned their entire company around one mission: to provide the best customer service possible. Although “wow” is a simple word, it encompasses going above and beyond to please your customers, co-workers, vendors, partners, investors, etc.

    Zappos’ commitment to this philosophy was evident in 2010. Due to an internal error, one of their sites, 6pm.com, accidentally marked down nearly all of its stock to $49.95 for six hours. Items that should have sold for almost $2000 were sold at over 97% off! This mistake cost the company an estimated $1.6 in revenue.

    So what did Zappos do? Nothing. CEO Tony Hsieh described it as a learning experience and decided to honor all sales made during the time period. Although this was an expensive decision, it generated a lot of positive buzz and goodwill in Zappos customers. They realized that Zappos truly cared about their needs and would rather suffer a massive financial loss than lose their trust or compromise their happiness. Not only did customers return to Zappos in the future, but they also promoted Zappos and attracted new customers to the site.

    This example shows the importance of customer delight. As a member of a business, your priority should be to serve people. Every small interaction is important because they combine together to create a larger experience and culture. Although there are significant costs to embodying this “WOW” mentality, they are made up when customers return due to their satisfaction.

    Now, I am not suggesting that money should be wasted in order to create customer delight. I am saying that utilizing resources to develop customer trust—whether it be investing money or spending less time acquiring leads—is undeniably beneficial for a business in the long run.

    Happy Employees = Happy Customers

    On their website, Zappos states, “We are not an average company, our service is not average, and we don’t want our people to be average. We expect every employee to deliver WOW.” Customer delight starts with a business’ employees, for a customer will never love and trust a company unless the employees love it first.

    Zappos has made Fortune magazine’s 2015 “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for the past seven years. This is because Zappos continuously strives to delight their employees through many methods.

    First, they value being fun and “being a little weird.” The company celebrates and embraces employee individuality and encourages them to think outside the box. Second, they place a lot of emphasis on building a positive team and family. Employees form open and honest relationships and strive to eliminate cynicism. Lastly, Zappos promotes passion and determination. They hire people who have a positive attitude and believe in what the company is doing and the direction in which it is going. Because they are working toward a common goal, employees are excited and eager to make an impact.

    Although these are just a few of the ways in which Zappos empowers their employees and promotes a happy work environment, they all illustrate the importance of employee delight. When employees are satisfied, passionate, and excited, they are more eager to serve the needs of their customers.

    Applying Zappos’ Philosophy to Your Company

    It is important to incorporate these tactics into your business’ work environment from its inception. First and foremost, your company’s leaders must sit down and decide what sort of company they want. The larger a company grows, the harder it is to communicate with everyone, to get consensus on every decision, etc. When you develop team principles that you feel your business should live by and reinforce them constantly, everyone in your business will be aligned behind a common goal, and employees will have the proper framework to guide and empower them in their decisions.

    Additionally, establishing a strong and clear company culture starts with hiring good employees. While hiring, don’t only consider skills and experience. It is also important to evaluate a potential employee’s culture fit, beliefs, ideas, etc. The better an employee fits with a company’s culture, the happier they will feel, and the more eager they will be to provide your customers with excellent service.

    We should strive to emulate Zappos in our business functions, specifically by going above and beyond to serve our customers and by fostering and empowering happy employees through a well-defined company culture. By utilizing these two tactics, we will “WOW” our customers and create customer delight.

    I hope this post served as a great refresher on the importance of customer delight in inbound marketing. While customer delight may not be at the forefront of your marketing strategy, it should never be forgotten. When you cultivate current customers, you develop trust and create relationships that lead to better business in the future. So, next time you’re tempted to solely focus on acquiring leads, remember Zappos and remind yourself the importance of “WOW”ing your customers.

    Top photo credit:thetaxhaven

    Inbound Marketing for Beginners  

    Sallie Gayle Saunders is a Spring 2015 intern at Inbound Marketing Agents. Sallie Gayle is from Austin, Texas, and is currently a junior at Vanderbilt University. She is studying Communication Studies and Spanish, and is minoring in Corporate Stragegy. After college, she plans on going into marketing, and this summer, she will be working as a Marketing, Sales, and Service intern at Ford Motor Company.

    Topics: Inbound Marketing