Press Z for genuine communication

Once or twice a week I find myself plodding through the layers of a “Press 1 for this, press 2 for that” automated phone system: Oh, the joy of hearing about the dozens of options I don’t want just in case they mention the one I do want in terminology I might understand.

Today I called the phone support for shoe etailer and had a very different experience.

Instead of the usual droning or unctuous voice, recorded three years ago and still blathering on, Zappos’ recording was fresh. On it, two employees introduced themselves by name, mentioned the lovely fall weather, took turns offering the “Press x for y” options and included in the list of options Zappos “joke of the day.” It was like listening to two cheerful people doing a podcast. Not rocket science — but you sure don’t find their competitors doing it.

(And it didn’t hurt that the live person I got when I selected the “product info” option was energetic and well informed.)

According to this post from Silicon Valley Musings, Zappos has a policy that everyone in the company starts work by spending four weeks answering customer calls. And, according to this post from Get Satisfaction, the call center doesn’t use scripts. Each employee has to know the products and engage with the customer.

As it happens, Zappos doesn’t have the color of boots I want to order. Their rival (where I talked with a very rude, bored-sounding customer service rep) does.

You know, I’ll think I’ll just wait for that color to come in at Zappos.

Author: Karen Anderson

To paraphrase Mark Morris, "I'm a writer; I write!"

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