Zappos Continues Awesomeness

Zappos online shoe store, famed for its amazing customer service, has done it again.

Arslan writes:

I wanted to tell you guys about an awesome experience I had with a company. I ordered a pair of sandals from Zappos.com. Right off the bat I got an email that my order was upgraded to two day shipping just because (standard shipping is 4-5 days and is free). I got the sandals but sadly one of straps ripped after a month. I called them and found out they actually have a joke of the day option on the menu.

I listened to the joke and then was automatically transferred to a customer service rep with no hold time. I told her what happened and she apologized several times for the defective sandals. She said because they were defective they would send me new ones for free and I didn’t even have to send back the old ones. She even upgraded the shipping to overnight.

I was shocked at how painless and pleasant the whole experience was. The first thing I thought was to let you guys know. I told her how happy I was with their customer service and she gave me the email of the company’s ceo (CC’d). Here’s a company that knows how to win over customers!

This is the company that after training new hires, offers to give them $1000 if they quit right there, the idea being that if you’re not totally committed to the unique Zappos customer-centric culture, they don’t want you onboard. Looks like policies like that are reaping dividends with ecstatic customers like Arslan.

Comments

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  1. eekfuh says:

    Zappos is amazing. I love that company.
    Even more, I love twitting (twitter.com) with the Ceo of Zappos and half the staff over at zappos. (twitter.zappos.com)

  2. fenrisulfr says:

    One time I ordered Doc. Martens on sale, well I got them and never wore them because they fit badly. Eventually I noticed they sent me the wrong size(one size to small) well i called them, returned them and they refunded my money over a year after I ordered them. They def. have the best customer service around. Also, super fast shipping…

  3. CountryJustice says:

    Very cool. Anyone know where their customer service is located? I’m gonna be in need of a job here in a couple months…

  4. JulesNoctambule says:

    And as luck would have it, I’m in the market for several pairs of shoes at the moment. Thanks to this story, Zappos is at the top of my list for shopping now.

  5. djsyndrome says:

    My wife has ordered a good half-dozen pairs of shoes from Zappos, and all orders have arrived quickly and correctly. It’s nice to read (again!) that if we ever do have a problem, they’ll likely take care of us.

  6. BrianDaBrain says:

    That’s such a lovely start to my morning. Thanks, Consumerist! I’ve never shopped at Zappos, but it looks like I may have to start.

  7. xnormajeanx says:

    I ordered shoes from there a couple weeks ago and they literally came the next day. I’m not sure how. But there they were, less than 24 hours later. I was really amazed.

  8. nicemarmot617 says:

    They did the same for me! I had a pair of Fitzwell ankle boots from them with a gel pad on the bottom for comfort. After 4 months one of the gel pads literally exploded while I was walking around in the middle of the day. I limped home in horrible pain and when I finally got my boot off, my sock and the gel had merged to become this horrible mass stuck to my foot. Once I got my sock off, there was a ridiculously huge blister on my foot. I limped for a week.

    I shot them an email – not really expecting anything, more wanting to let them know that they were selling a shoddy product. I received an email back from them the next day informing me that, since they no longer sold that particular pair of shoes, they were refunding the ENTIRE purchase price.

    It cost them $90, but they earned a customer for life in me.

  9. LoriLynn says:

    Sometimes a little on the pricey side, but I guess a good pair of shoes and a great customer service experience is worth it!

  10. Britt says:

    I wish the Canadian website had the same customer service and shipping policies.

  11. ARP says:

    Zappos and Nordstrom’s are living proof that people WILL pay extra for good service. Now if only this message can get to other segments other than retail. It’s too bad that so many others take the “price is king” approach.

  12. AvDub says:

    It’s great to hear of such positive customer experiences. But is anyone else curious as to how a company could do things like this consistently and remain profitable?

    • SpdRacer says:

      @AvDub: It is simple, happy customers equal repeat customers, and they also get free word of mouth advertising from stories like this one. Just look at the comments there are at least a half-dozen who say they have never shopped there but will now. They more than make up for any losses thru good business practices.

      • HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

        @SpdRacer: Amen. There are so many companies that think that the only road to profitability is to cut costs and screw the customer. I’m glad there’s at least a few that realize the value of nurturing a relationship and spreading good word of mouth.

    • @AvDub: Because only a very small percentage of their orders are screwed up. It’s my understanding Zappos does a LOT of business. They’re the Amazon.com of online shoe sales. Their volume is just huge.

      The profit margins are probably also pretty healthy.

    • RedOrDead says:

      @AvDub: I heard a story about them (NPR I think) that said they use robots to improve productivity. The robots work in the warehouse and they are able to save tons of money on things like heating/cooling and lighting because the robots don’t need these things.

  13. wellarmedsheep says:

    With the 6% cash back Zappos offers on a certain site, and the gush of praise Ive always heard about them, i decided to get a pair of shoes from them just this week.

    I ordered the shoes at 7pm est and they were at my house at 10am the next day, that was with the free shipping option. The shoes were too small, so I called them up, explained, and they overnighted the larger size and told me to just send back the too small pair within two weeks.

  14. MissTicklebritches says:

    My only problem with Zappos is that they do inflate prices to cover their free shipping. I’ve noticed over time that their prices are usually $5 more than prices elsewhere.

    • little stripes says:

      @MissTicklebritches: Yeah, but they also pay for the return shipping if you need to return something, and as others have said, they will gladly refund or exchange defective shoes … even after a year.

      That “extra” $5 is well worth it, imo.

  15. rmgustaf says:

    Wow, I think I’m going to shop for shoes there when I need a new pair. Even if they’re a few bucks more expensive, the customer service sounds worth it.

    Dell, take notice!

  16. Kevin says:

    Consumerist does America’s worst company but do they do America’s best? If so, I’d nominate Zappos. What a great ending!

  17. laserjobs says:

    Zappos also owns 6pm.com with awesome prices on name brand shoes.

  18. scottpee says:

    i’ve ordered several pair of shoes from zappo’s and have always had an amazing experience. the first time i ordered from them was a pair of hyde authentics ($115) in which case i hit the order button on the wrong color. right after i noticed this i called their customer service and was immediately connected to a very polite lady (at about 2am) who said that the order had already been processed in their system. she took the order for the color that i meant to order and emailed me a return label for the other pair, trusting that i would send the first pair back when they arrived. both pair arrived within a couple of days. of course i sent the first pair back, but i think it’s very rare to find a company who actually gives their patrons the benefit of the doubt anymore.

  19. PsychicPsycho3 says:

    I’ve <3ed them for a long, long time. Just look at some of their job postings, they’ll show you what kind of company they are — AN AWESOME ONE.

  20. Etoiles says:

    And this is exactly the kind of story that will get them my business — I’m a really, really hard-to-find shoe size (when it’s even manufactured, it’s never sold) and so an online retailer I can trust, that will give me good service if/when I have problems, is a good thing to know about.

  21. Miss Scarlet in the Hall with a Revolver says:

    I’ve always had really good luck with them and I have had to call a couple of times and it has always been pleasant.

  22. zenigmatic says:

    last night 10pm Eastern my dog ate the shoes I was approved to wear in the wedding I’m standing up in tomorrow. I called zappos in panic, at 10 at night. They mailed them with free shipping overnight and I have the shoes on my feet now. 14 hours later.

  23. emis says:

    I bought a set of shoes on Saturday afternoon labor day weekend w/ standard shipping… later that day they emailed me and said they had shipped them already and used overnight shipping.

    They arrived Tuesday morning… Not that I’m complaining at all, but I was dumbfounded… I’ve never had a company upgrade my shipping for free and for no good reason.

    Hurray for them!

  24. itmustbeken says:

    I’m reluctant to buy shoes on line but this kind of thing makes me change my mind…
    Which is exactly why they do it.

    Well played.

  25. EllaMcWho says:

    Zappos is in fact incredible. They offer the best selection on Danskins and great price/support. As an aside, anyone near the Louisville, KY area should visit their outlet store there (it’s on the outskirts somewhere and is their returns center, so it’s in an industrial park, no retail-space-overhead). It is super amazing awesome and I always buy 4 or 5 pairs of shoes and a few handbags when I visit family in Southern Indiana.

  26. crackers says:

    I adore Zappos! Last time I ordered from them, I said to my husband, “I just ordered some shoes from Zappos.” and without missing a beat (or looking up from his email) he said, “Better go to the mailbox. They’re probably here by now.” High-larious!

  27. tspack says:

    I love Zappos. They’ve been my sole [heh ;-)] source of shoes for a few years now. My foot is wide, so online is my best option to have a large selection of shoes that fit well, and I won’t go anywhere but Zappos. Their shipping is always so fast, and their customer service impeccable.

    In addition, my foot seems to fit totally differently in different brands, so I’ve frequently had to send shoes back to get a different size, and it’s always been quick and painless.

    They do cost more than many other places, but it is totally worth it for their customer service.

  28. HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

    I had a great experience with Zappos, too. I ordered a pair of shoes from them on Friday and got a free upgrade to overnight shipping, so I had them on Monday. I began wearing them, but by Thursday, I notice that the leather near my ankle was already wearing away. I called them up, and asked for a replacement pair, and got one… no hassle, and they arrived that Friday (again, overnight). I actually felt kinda bad, since I didn’t send back the bad pair until Saturday (and, by the way, they paid for the shipping on them).

  29. 310Drew says:

    Seems to me if they are sending out replacement shoes all willy nilly, they must be making a killing on them! I know if I was ripping people off and making a living at it, I would do my best to be nice too !

    I do like the Joke of the day option. I’m going to have to get that at my office.

    • little stripes says:

      @310Drew: “know if I was ripping people off and making a living at it, I would do my best to be nice too !”

      Uh, what are you talking about? This makes no sense. How are they “ripping people off” exactly?

    • floraposte says:

      @310Drew: Not following how this is ripping people off. Is it less of a customer ripoff not to replace faulty merchandise?

      I’ve never had anything actually faulty from them myself; I’m just hard to fit and try a ton of stuff to buy a single pair. No place, brick and mortar or online, can beat them for breadth of choice in my size and for ease of service.

      • little stripes says:

        @floraposte: I have a hard time finding shoes that fit, too (I have small-ish, square feet and a bunion, yay!), so I LOVE Zappos. How, exactly, is it ripping me off if I buy 20 pairs of shoes, get free shipping, and return half of them because of poor fit … for free?

        Yeah, totally ripping me off, right there!

    • AdvocatesDevil says:

      @310Drew: Wow, someone has to complain even when companies do something right, eh? “Oh no, they’re doing good for their customers and they’re making money! Someone call the Socialist Agenda Police!!” :)

  30. _NARC_ says:

    My wife just bought from Zappos for the first time last month.

    She was shocked when they came the next day! This is a business model that really hooks in your customers.

  31. tbone13 says:

    unfortunatly, zappos no longer price matches :(

  32. madfrog says:

    This is good to know. Will use them next time for my shoe shopping

  33. ctaylor says:

    Next time I need shoes, they’ll have my order because of their good customer service.

  34. donovanr says:

    After reading this I am going to order a pair or two from these guys. But and this is a huge but, I am ordering from Canada. If Zappos uses UPS to ship them then I will get royally screwed over as UPS always charges me a “brokerage” fee and nails me for absurd duties when the same item shipped via FedEx or USPS would have no additional fees on my end.
    I know one person who ordered a $12 t-shirt from the US and UPS wanted $70 in brokerage fees and duties when as an American made textile it should have had none. I feel that UPS might be pocketing these duties and not passing them along to customs.
    What I should do, is as a test, order the cheapest pair of flipflops from Zappos and then I can tell the delivery guy to go to hell if any fees are tagged on.

  35. Ajh says:

    I was going to look online for new shoes..guess I know where to start.

  36. SgtBeavis says:

    I’ve never tried Zappos. I’ve never tried buying shoes online period.

    However, after reading this I’m going to give them a try. I need some new Born shoes anyways.

  37. camille_javal says:

    I’ve been enjoying Zappos this week. I have “sturdy” calves (thanks weight training and German farmer heritage), and difficulty finding knee-high boots that fit me. I ordered a pair I thought would fit over last weekend; when they arrived Monday, they were the wrong boots. I called, and in addition to being very helpful, the CSR was extremely apologetic, and said she would have the right boots sent immediately, and make sure that the box was checked. I got those boots Tuesday – unfortunately, I wasn’t quite happy with how they fit, so I put the prepaid return labels on both boxes and took them to UPS. According to the tracking information, they got the boots back yesterday afternoon; I just got an e-mail saying the return has been processed. I already ordered another pair from them this morning – and, all three pairs of shoes were upgraded to overnight for free.

    Zappos is brilliant – they figured out what made people afraid to buy shoes online, and fixed it. I will usually pay a little extra to buy from Zappos because of the customer service (and the fact that if I have to return them, it’s already paid for), rather than go with an unfamiliar company.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Seriously, another Zappos fan here. @camille_javal: hit it right on the nail with:

      Zappos is brilliant – they figured out what made people afraid to buy shoes online, and fixed it.

      It’s so true. I’m iffy on buying clothes online precisely because it costs me to ship items and if I have to return them, I lose the shipping I paid. With Zappos, free shipping both ways means less risk for me. If something doesn’t fit, I can return it pain free. Their prices might be a tad higher than other sites, but Zappos gets a lot of my business because the customer service is fantastic, and they usually have the color I want whereas other sites might have the shoes for less but don’t have the same colors.

      The most important thing about Zappos, IMO, is the ratings and the comments. They encourage people to comment on the shoes and to write good/bad reviews. I’ve purchased shoes on the recommendations of others, and I’ve been persuaded to not buy shoes for the same.

      One particular brand of shoes is known for using clear plastic bands in their sandals, and the straps are really hard to see in the photo, even when you look at the bigger version. I was browsing for a pair of shoes for my wedding and thought I had found the right ones, when I got about 5 or 6 comments down and someone mentioned the clear strap. Then more comments about the clear strap trickled in and I am glad I didn’t get those shoes.

      Also, 6pm.com has really amazing customer service as well. They do charge shipping ($7 flat fee, I think) but their prices are really, really low and they have great brands. They recently had an Anne Klein sale and I got a pair of heels for $20 and shipping. On other sites they were $60 to $85. You do need to pay for shipping back if you return them, but paying $7 to ship shoes back to get your refund when you could’ve been buying them for $60 isn’t too hard of a decision.

  38. h_pinkerton says:

    I sell shoes to Zappos and can tell you it is the most fun company to deal with and the people throughout the company is awesome.
    The company offers free lunch and dinner to all employees as well as Dove Bars, sodas, water, etc. Their customer service is beyond anything offered by any other company. If only the airline and Dell would take a page from their book.

    The company is based in Henderson Nevada (Las Vegas) and if you visit their website, there’s a link to available jobs which are always plentiful. If I was younger, I’d work for them in a heartbeat.

  39. Smackdown says:

    God, I am a total Zappovangelist. That company is the bomb.

  40. picardia says:

    I’ve shopped at Zappos several times and will continue to do so. Great prices, selection, search engine, customer service, you name it. This is a company that truly proves it can be done.

  41. lidor7 says:

    Wow, I just read the Zappos sending flowers story. If they went out of the way to send me flowers after my mom died, I’d buy shoes from them for the rest of my life.

  42. magstheaxe says:

    I’m in Louisville, and I didn’t know that they had an outlet near here (knew about their shipping operation, but not the outlet). I checked out their web site and sure enough they list two in Kentucky and three in Vegas:

    [www.zappos.com]

    Thanks for the tip, I will definitely check them out!

  43. Trencher93 says:

    Zappos rocks – sent me an e-mail that my all-time favorite boots were discontinued – that wasn’t good but at least I ordered a final pair out of their stock.

  44. foreveryoung48 says:

    I love when I read all these articles on what a great company Zappos is. I know first hand, they are. I have worked with the company now for three years, and hope to be hear till I must retire. People wonder how they do all the great customer service things they do, and I can tell you it is because they are a company that truly believes that giving people a pleasant experience and to make them feel very much appreciated, is more important than being top dog. They are a company that believes in being humble, as it is one of the 10 core values that they as a company live by, from the CEO to the person loading the boxes onto the UPS truck 4 AM in the morning. I noticed the comment here that one made about the company ripping people off, and I have to say, what business isn’t in business to make money. If the company was to stop making money, it would fold and be no more. Giving people more than they ever expected can in no way be a rip off. But, after my many bad experiences in the past couple of months that I have had with Sprint, I feel proud of what we do to make sure that our customers feel like they were treated with great respect and they are one that will continue to come to our site when they are in need of shoes, clothing, electronics, etc., even after they have had a problem with something that comes from us. Thanks to all of you that have inspired me to strive more to make sure that your shopping experience is the best that you could ever want to receive from an online order company.

  45. .
    Hmmmmm, I have never heard of Zappos, but you can bet where my very next stop on the interwebs is going to be….

  46. YoHenYo says:

    Zappos has always seemed overpriced to me. I have always been able to find cheaper prices on sneakers and shoes on either Amazon or at a “real” store.

    To some, their customer service may warrant the higher prices, but when it is a 20 dollar difference, as I have seen many times, it does not seem worth it.

    However, when they do have a good deal, it is great to know that this great customer service will be applied to it.

  47. orlo says:

    Zappos has great customer service, but you pay a lot for it. Considering the huge markup on shoes I can’t justify shopping there since they stopped their 90% price matching. Also the “free shipping upgrade” to 2-day/overnight (which was their old standard shipping) is a very lame gimmick. Apparently it works though.

  48. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    It’s all relative, really. If you spend $35 on a pair of heels that are $50 to $80 anywhere else (not on sale) then Zappos has a history of good prices. If you’re used to spending significantly less on a pair of shoes, Zappos is a lot of money. Me, I use Zappos as a way of doing price-comparison research. Endless.com might have a pair of shoes for less, I’d shop with Endless.com as their customer service is good and they offer free shipping. If Zappos is a little more expensive, but has the exact color I want, I’d rather pay more to get what I want. Spending less but getting something unsatisfying is money wasted.

    I only use Zappos when I just can’t find what I need elsewhere. For instance, many department stores are only now stocking up on boots. I was shopping online for boots long ago, keeping track of sales and deals online.

    And Zappos is fantastic for items that are probably long gone from stores. I saw a pair of boots in a magazine, reminded myself to look for them and (of course) promptly forgot. A year later, I saw the magazine again, saw the boots and knew they wouldn’t be sold in stores anymore. I went to Zappos and found them, and even had a selection of four colors.

    My mother shops at The Walking Company because she has a hard time finding comfortable shoes. If she were a little more internet savvy (and more trusting of ecommerce) she would be shopping on Zappos left and right.

  49. Julia789 says:

    I love, love, love Zappos!

    I find their shoes to be an average of $5 more per pair (at least the type that I frequently order) but they’ve made up for that with free shipping both ways, and awesome customer service.

    For example, I frequently return shoes. I have a high instep that is hard to fit, so I will order say, 3 pairs, try them on, and return two. I’ve done this at least a dozen times.

    And their free shipping – unlike other companies that take 10 days to arrive with free shipping, mine frequently arrive one or two days later.

    I order shoes for me, my husband, and my kid from Zappos. They are the best.

  50. Quilt says:

    Suddenly I want to buy some sandals. That story was amazing!

  51. maniacswailsome says:

    This story makes me feel like buying some shoes. Guess where I’m going?

  52. ImpossibleCheeseburgerPie says:

    My mother just bought a laptop from Zappos. I didn’t know they sold anything aside from shoes.

  53. comicgeek77 says:

    i bought a pair of sneakers from zappos and they were delivered free on the very next day. the shoes were too tight so i called about exchanging them for a bigger size and instead of making me wait i got the new pair in the mail the day after i called along with the return shipping labels and a note explaining they had arranged to have them picked up in a few days and i just had to leave the package out front for the ups guy saving me a trip to mail them back. they do charge more then other shops but with free next day shipping its pretty much a wash. and i don’t mind paying the extra money to them because i know from experience that if i have any problems that they will sort things out and treat me right. also knowing that they treat all of their customers so well makes me want to give them my business.

  54. MeMikeYouNot says:

    My job at a major world bank with offices in lots of “CITI’s” was outsourced to India last December. I got a severance package but still had to find work. I’m nearly 60 years old so it’s not that easy. But I live in las Vegas and had heard so much about Zappos and was acquainted with a couple of people who worked. So I applied and was offered a job. I began a training class of 30+ people on June 2nd, and about 10 of them were already Zappos employees, who are all required to take “Customer Loyalty Training” no matter how long they’ve worked for the company, including 2 weeks of taking phone calls.At any rate, I’ve been there 3 months, still enjoying it and it’s nice to be at a company that offers a different culture than anywhere I’ve ever worked. BTW, at the end of our training class, they offered everyone $2000 to quit. No one did.

  55. MeMikeYouNot says:

    PS: Come join us on Twitter

  56. ljhorsefeathers says:

    I’ve worked for Zappos for almost two years and love it like a child. The reason our customer service is so good, is because the company treats us good as well. Happy Employees = Happy Customers. Tony, our CEO, takes amazing good care of us. He even goes so far as to take a salary less than some of our call center employees and he sits in a little cubical on the floor with everyone else; no fancy office for him. We have an internal saying, “We’re a service company that just happens to sell…everything.” Which brings up another point, nobody but one has mentioned all the other great stuff Zappos sells besides shoes!

    We have handbags, sunglasses, housewares, cookware, bedding, watches, camping equipment, snowboards, climbing gear, solar powered cell phone chargers, DVDs, laptops, video games, etc!! We even have a few specialty websites designed to showcase them like Outdoor.Zappos.com, Bags.Zappos.com, RideShop.Zappos.com, etc. Check it out!!

    Okay, I’m done plugging. But seriously, Zappos is the best place to work in the world…and shopping there is a lot of fun too. ;)