How many times have we heard about the benefits of customer experience? Simply put, give customers a great experience and they’ll buy more, be more loyal and share their experience with friends. Customer experience is no easy thing to achieve. But we have a lot to learn from companies who have already succeeded. Looking at what works in the market, a company clearly stands out by providing one of the best customer experiences in the world.

The company? Zappos. Zappos, an online shoe and clothing retailer, is known as one of the indisputable leaders within customer experience and it prides itself for providing story-worthy (they call it WOW) service. What are the 3 ingredients that make up this success?

Customer Obsession
Whether its free shipping and returns or a 365 day return policy everything in the company revolves around the customers’ needs. Being an online retailer, means that a big part of customer interaction happens over the phone. What truly makes Zappos different from other online retailers is that the mission of its representatives is to not only provide the best solutions possible but also develop personal connections on every call. How is that possible you may ask? Simply. Not only is the call center available 24/7, but there are also no scripts and no limit on call times. Zappos’ current record for the longest customer service call is 10 hours, 51 minutes. Yeap, that’s right! 10 hours! And what’s more? If Zappos doesn’t carry the product of your choice, the representatives have no issue finding it and suggesting a competitor who carries it.

Focus on employee happiness
Zappos prioritizes employee happiness as a way to sustain its success. They foster employee happiness by encouraging creative and fun work spaces, making employees feel their work is meaningful and allowing them to put their personal touch in everything they do. The work environment provided for employees might not be a match for everyone. But, the people who fit the corporate culture thrive working for Zappos. And how does Zappos deal with that? Employee commitment is tested early on through a program which offers all trainees $2,000 to quit at the end of the first week of training – an offer that stands until the end of the fourth week. Zappos only wants people who really want to work for the company in order to create a culture of happy and committed individuals. In return? A happy team will result in producing equally happy and loyal customers.

Company Culture
Speaking of culture, Zappos has 10 core values that play a big part in how they hire, train, and develop employees. First of which being “Deliver Wow Through Service”. Every year, the company reinforces its core values by publishing a 500-page culture book with unedited contributions made by employees and vendors. They distribute it company-wide, as well as to anyone who wants to purchase a copy. Zappos is also committed in breaking down organizational silos and moving to self-management. With no organisational chart and without titles, everyone is encouraged to pursue their passion and do their best work to make the customers happy.

Speed. Convenience. Consistency. Friendliness. And one big connector: human touch. That is how Zappos has succeeded, with 75% of Zappos purchases coming from returning customers. People are increasingly loyal to the retailers, products, brands and devices that consistently provide exceptional value with minimum friction or stress. So how can you achieve the same? Design a culture that reinforces the view of treating every customer as an individual, hire for cultural fit, trust your team, and have fun!

Is Excellent Customer Experience Really Impossible? A Look at Zappos