If you aren’t familiar with Zappos.com they are the leader in buying shoes online. I am very familiar with Zappos since I spent the first 8 years of my career in e-commerce (between iChoose, JCPenney.com and Blockbuster Online). I was lucky enough to meet the founders (and other execs at Zappos) in several occassions and was always impressed with the thought and analysis they put into running their business and, more importantly, how they did everything they could to put the customer first. That being the case, this story is a must read.
I’ll give the Clifnotes version for those of you that are time-strapped. The mother of the author had recently lost a lot of weight, to the point where none of her shoes fit. The author ordered a bunch of new shoes for Mom from Zappos and was planning on returning many of them (not right size, color, whatever). When mom passed away. The author later received an email from Zappos asking about the shoes, since they hadn’t received them. The author replied that my mom had died but that they would send the shoes as soon as they could. Zappos emailed back that they had arranged with UPS to pick up the shoes, so the author wouldn’t have to take the time to do it. Then several days later the author received a beautiful arrangement in a basket with white lilies and roses and carnations. Big and lush and fragrant – it was from Zappos.
Unfortunately, most companies don’t really empower their employees; therefore, even a good employee can only provide average customer service at best. It’s nice to see some companies still go the extra mile.