Zappos Has Otherworldy Customer Service

Over at Freakonomics they’re swooning over Zappos.com’s excellent customer service, and indeed the post reads like some sort of shopping fantasy:

My wife had ordered a pair of sandals from Zappos. When they arrived, she found that they didn’t fit. She tried to order the right size, but Zappos was sold out of her size. So here’s what the company offered: she could return the sandals (for free), Zappos would refund the purchase price and they’d send her a $25 coupon toward her next purchase.

But wait — there’s more! Zappos also offered to try to locate a pair of the sandals in her size from another vendor. (Hah! Sure, they will!) Fifteen minutes later, the company called my wife and told her they’d found her sandals, in her size, at another online merchant — “and,” the Zappos clerk told her, “they’re even cheaper at this other site!”

Wow. That’s… wonderful. —MEGHANN MARCO

Customer Service Heaven
[Freakonomics]

RELATED: Shopping Online: More Revenue From Clothes And Shoes Than Computers

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  1. cakesandsteaks says:

    I once ordered a pair of shoes from Zappos and when I got home from work the day they should have been delivered they weren’t there. I called Zappos and within minutes we were having a 3-way convo with UPS on what happened. Zappos immediately offered to ship me another pair of shoes free of charge, but it turned out that UPS had dropped the shoes off at a neighbors condo (I’m ghetto, so I ran over and yanked it off their porch). Even though it was 100% UPS’s fault, Zappos gave me a $15 gift certificate for the hassle! They’re great!

  2. hubris says:

    It’s so sad that people swoon when they’re treated decently by a company. At the same time, those companies that do actually know what customer service is truly deserve to be recognized.

    I’ve shopped at Zappos, but never needed any kind of customer service. But hell, free shipping on purchases and returns can’t be beat. I will definitely continue to buy from them.

  3. AtomikB says:

    I’ve bought a lot of shoes from Zappos. About half of them have been the wrong size or have had to be sent back for some reason, but it’s always been really easy. They always pay for shipping both ways, and they’ve sent stuff overnight for no extra charge a bunch of times. I still buy running shoes at the running store so I can try them on the store’s treadmill, but I go to Zappos for all other kinds of shoes.

  4. synergy says:

    I am extraordinarily picky about sandals, but I found exactly what I was looking for at Zappos and their customer service was excellent. I’d recommend them any day.

  5. HollyHiggins says:

    zappos customer service is out of control. often they have free overnite shipping and it is so easy to return. also, they will match any price PLUS an extra 10% off and you can still get the overnite shipping. they are really the best company i’ve used for pretty much anything, ever.

  6. MarcAnthony says:

    Nordstrom will do the same thing for you!
    Zappos is kool! I’ve ordered from them several times, and the CSR who answer the phones are swell!

  7. Youthier says:

    When I was getting married, my mom had a hell of a time finding a dress. She settled on one a week before the wedding. As she had no time to shop for shoes, she ordered about 8 pairs from Zappos. Had them within two days and there was absolutely no hassle with returning the other 7.

  8. not_seth_brundle says:

    Don’t trust their “vegetarian shoes” section. I ordered a pair of shoes that were supposed to be vegetarian; when they arrived I saw that they were suede. I e-mailed Zappos and they insisted that, no, they’re microfiber. Pretty authentic microfiber, I thought! I contacted the company that manufactures the shoes and they confirmed that they were indeed made out of cow. I had to forward that e-mail for Zappos to believe me and take the shoes out of the vegetarian section. That was my last Zappos order.

  9. Beerad says:

    I have bought several pairs of shoes from Zappo’s and would wholeheartedly endorse them to everyone. It’s not just being “treated decently” – Zappo’s really does go way beyond normal customer service expectations. Great prices, great selection too. If Consumerist readers are serious about rewarding good companies with their business, everyone should head on over to their website. No, I am not a Zappo’s employee!

  10. Katie says:

    I’ve been mightily impressed with Zappos’ customer service – they respond quickly and effectively. No having to deal with layers of reps to make a return or anything, at least in my experience. And they are awesome about the price matching. My husband found a better sale price on his favorite type of running shoes at another site, and they did indeed offer him an additional 10% discount down from the other site’s price. With free shipping to boot, which the other site did not offer.

  11. enm4r says:

    @Beerad:

    I agree completely. There is “decent service” and then there is above and beyond. Zappos goes above and beyond. I think half my orders have been upgraded to free overnight, and when I had to return a pair for a size they had run out of, I was given some free cash to use next time, which is appears is fairly standard practice.

    Zappos really does go above and beyond, and I’m just as comfortable there shoe shopping as I am in the store. Which is quite a feat indeed.

  12. Parttimesaint says:

    It’s sad that every time a post is made praising a company’s customer service, someone ALWAYS has to respond with “Why are people praising a company for doing what they’re supposed to be doing?” Especially in a case like this where Zappos obviously went way beyond decent customer service.

    Yes, companies should provide decent customer service but considering how many don’t, it’s refreshing to hear about the ones that make shopping a pleasure.

  13. I couldn’t agree more–Zappos is above and beyond, every time. I bought a bunch of shoes there when I started my new job (in SEPTEMBER). Several pairs didn’t fit, and in all the flux of new-job-starting, they got shoved in the closet and forgotten. A few days ago, I called Zappo’s and asked about returning them. “No problem!” says the CSR. “One-year return policy, and we’ll pay the shipping!”

  14. elf6c says:

    I buy my Ecco’s from them- very fair prices and fantastic selection.

    Me likely Zappos. Maybe a little too much. . .

  15. cgmaetc says:

    @MarcAnthony: Unfortunately, some Nordys are clamping down on returns. I know the manager at the Westside store here in LA. I know for a fact that if you return too many items within a certain period of time, you will get flagged. Of course, these rules are for the people who abuse their lax return policy, folks who return a much-worn pair of shoes they bought 3 years earlier, or stockings with runs and nail polish on them, claiming they came out the package like that.

  16. zl9600 says:

    Zappos is owned by Amazon, FWIW. I actually think they raise the bar in several areas, including how you shop on the site, making it easy to browse as opposed to other sites (including Amazon!)

  17. zl9600 says:

    Wait, scratch that comment. I had them confused with the other site, endless.com. Gilda Radner’s character Emily Letella would say “nevermiinnd” (showing my age)

  18. Treved says:

    Just to echo everyone’s comments: Zappos rocks. I was going on a trip and needed some walking shoes. Didn’t know what kind I wanted, or what size, so between my wife and I we ordered 13 pairs! They all arrived the next day, we picked two, and return the rest. Zero hassle, and when I called for help on the phone, they were so nice. Best online shopping experience I’ve ever had.

  19. ElizabethD says:

    I like Zappos a lot. My shoe size isn’t carried by most stores (women’s size 10.5 medium; Euro size 41 or 42 depending on cut), so I need to do a lot of shoe-shopping online. Sites without free shipping and free returns don’t get my business.

    A newer site that is also excellent is Piperlime.com, an offshoot of the Gap family. The service, packing, free shipping both ways, etc. are all awesome, and they carry a wide range of sizes, like Zappos.

  20. Uriel says:

    ya, when you do as much business as they do, you can have otherworldly customer service. I hear that 1 out of every 4 UPS packages that are shipped out in the world are one of zappos’.

  21. oneTee says:

    i think zappos just earned a new customer…i’m checking out the site right now.

  22. Erico says:

    Zappos has awesome shipping and they send your tracking information only after it’s been physically shipped out. I’m currently doing an in-depth comparison review between 3 of the top online shoe retailers – which is updated almost daily here: http://www.botl.org/community/forums/showthread.php?t=1363

  23. John Stracke says:

    @nerodiavolo: UPS ships 14 million packages per day. Do you seriously believe that Zappos sells 3.5 million pairs of shoes per day?

  24. rachmanut says:

    only mildly related: here’s a video of the zappos ceo and some friends chowing down on a 100×100 from in-n-out:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6i49qU0M6-E

    why wouldn’t the ceo of one good company want to patronize another?

  25. kenposan says:

    My wife loves Zappos. No shipping and overnight delivery? Who else offers that?

  26. 2Legit2Quit says:

    I don’t get shoes anywhere but Zappos. I’ve literally gotten shoes the next day, even though I’ve ordered the standard shipping. Returns are fast and hassle-free. I love the site period.

    They rank up there with NewEgg and Crutchfield.

  27. alk509 says:

    I hadn’t even heard of Zappo’s until last month, when I was looking online for a pair of sunglasses. Not only did they have the pair I was looking for cheaper than any other place online or off, but they shipped them to me overnight for free. The real kicker, though, is their return policy: I can use my glasses for a full year, and if I don’t like them, I can return them (shipped on their dollar) for a full refund or exchange!

    Truly remarkable customer service. :-)

  28. VG10 says:

    i must say, i really like zappos. ordered shoes, they were comfortable, sent back, got another pair, it was great. i believe their return period is 1 year as well. great company.

  29. Snakeophelia says:

    Zappos is my new best friends. Not only am I spending unhealthy amounts of money on shoes these days, but the one time I had a real problem with a pair, Zappos could not have been more helpful. I ordered a pair of Skechers to wear while walking around on a trip, and then the first time I tried them on, the strap broke. I called Zappos and they sent me a replacement overnight, at no charge. I mailed the broken pair back (for free!) and everything was good to go. They rock.

  30. nan says:

    I’ve never had a bad experience with Zappos. Last year I got a pair of shoes from them. It had a defect that became very apparent after a month of wear! I dropped them a quick line, and the next day I had a fresh new pair at my door and an apology coupon for next time in my inbox. I didn’t even have to send the old pair back. I was pretty wowed.

  31. infinitysnake says:

    Same story here. I love, love, love Zappos. My first order was too big, and they not only shipped the return for free, they overnighted the replacement before I sent the old ones back. They’re fast, too- I bought two pairs for my sons the day befgore yesterday- after 5pm- and they were here yesterday afternoon all the same.

  32. adamark says:

    OK, I order a pair of Keen Yoguis (greatest shoe ever!) I wear them for a week when I notice a tear in the fabric by the sole. I call CS and they tell me to keep the pair I have and a new pair is on the way. Less than twenty four hours later I have new Yoguis and an extra left shoe. Not only were they uber helpful but the price I paid was half of what I paid for my first pair at REI.

  33. MoogleLally says:

    Zappos was really great to me! I bought some Reebok work shoes, think they’d work out great for my new retail job. The shoes for some reason, had torn at the toe within a couple months. I emailed, asking them if there was anything they could do, that I had brought the work brand shoe thinking they’d last, well, retail work.

    Zappos replaced the shoes for me at no charge. And the pair I have now are perfect!

    So yes, yay yay! More praise to Zappos!

  34. rdm says:

    I bought a pair of Birkenstocks (yes, I am part-hippie) from Zappos. A couple months later the flimsy [part that goes between the toes] ripped off when a friend kicked me accidentally at a restaurant. Zappos gladly accepted the return, and then the second return when the second pair of the same shoe did the same thing. Next time I need some shoes I will definitely go there.

  35. lucidpsyche says:

    The only thing that bugs me about Zappos is that a very large portion of online shoe stores just order through them. Made it very annoying when I was trying to find a specific pair of shoes in a specific color in a specific size. (I did finally find the shoes at lovemyshoes.com, shoes were about $10 cheaper than they were originally at Zappos, shipping was $5.)

    Solestruck.com also has the free shipping and one year return policy. I had good luck with them.

    Like another poster, it’s hard for me to find shoes that fit — I’m a women’s size 4. Most brands don’t even make 5s, let alone 4.5s or 4s.

  36. StudioGeek says:

    @not_seth_brundle:
    Thats not really the site’s fault – you can only do so much to verify claims from suppliers catalogs. I’d give them another shot – I’ve shopped with them for a long time and love their site and customer service is amazing…

  37. Uriel says:

    @John Stracke: yes.

  38. Anonymous says:

    I just ordered from Zappos for the first time about three hours a go; I checked my email and they said they would upgrade my shipping just because! Awesome =D

    “Although you originally ordered Standard (4 to 5 business days) shipping
    and handling, we have given your order special priority processing in
    our warehouse and are upgrading the shipping and delivery time frame for your order.
    Your order will ship out Monday, November 3rd 2008 and be given a special priority shipping status so that
    you can receive your order even faster than we originally promised!”