Zappos Customer Service Is Pleasant And Effective In The Third Person

Yes, Zappos has famously good customer service, and should be regarded as the gold standard of awesome. We know this. We just had to share this highly amusing customer service chat transcript. The post’s author (and chatter “Timmy”) wanted to check out the quality and flexibility of Zappos’s chat agents, and started with an odd, but not implausible, scenario.

You are now chatting with Jonathan
Jonathan: Hello Timmy. How can I help you?
Timmy: do you know how wide the G-Shock Atomic Solar – AWG101 SKU #7403774 is?
Timmy: i mean, how big a wrist it would fit?
Timmy: Timmy has a big fat wrist
Timmy: Timmy need watch grande
Jonathan: I’ll see what I can find out for Timmy.
Timmy: awesome. and can we please continue to talk about Timmy in the 3rd person? Timmy likes to boost Timmy’s ego by talking about Timmy that way
Jonathan: Jonathan would be happy to neglect the use of pronouns for the duration of this conversation.
Timmy: Jonathan and Timmy shall get along just fine
Jonathan: Will Timmy be able to measure Timmy’s wrist?
Timmy: Timmy’s wrist is big, but not Biggie-Smalls big. Timmy doesn’t have the required measurement instruments.

Yes, it goes on from there.

Zappos Live Chat [Todd’s Blog] (Thanks, Lisa!)

(Photo: EricaJoy)


Edit Your Comment

  1. smileboot says:

    I think all online chat sessions that deal with customer service should go down like this. At the very least it will make it alot harder for bots to be used.

  2. metsarethe... says:

    “Jonathan: Jonathan would be happy to neglect the use of pronouns for the duration of this conversation.”

    Friggin hysterical

  3. XTC46 says:

    I have found that in almost all cases, chat service is much better than talking to people. You have the oppertunity to read what you are about to say, and if they ask what you mean you can copy paste, its also much harder to inturrupt a person when in chat.

  4. dlayphoto says:

    Zingerman’s is also considered to be a gold standard of customer service:


    • jgarfink says:

      @dlayphoto: They really are. They screwed up a sandwich order of mine once and sent me a note saying I could get a free sandwich AND free side next time I came in. They’re really quite fantastic.

    • vladthepaler says:


      I’ve never placed a mail order from them, but they make good sandwiches. Drop by if you’re ever in Ann Arbor.

    • HogwartsAlum says:


      Oh damn that looks good. I might have to order something from them.

  5. KylieH says:

    I got stuck on the most mind numbing chat with Comcast not long ago. How I wished I would have gotten Jonathan!

  6. WeAre138 says:

    Zappos is a cool place. I got to interview there for software engineering position a few years back and got to sit in that very throne in the picture above. It’s actually pretty funny – they have you pick from like 4 or 5 crowns then take your picture and stick it to the wall (yes, those are all polaroid pictures on the wall).

    Even though I didn’t get the job (they do PERL, I do Microsoft), they still gave me a chance and I would have loved to work for them. One of the few places I’ve interviewed at that seems to take care of their employees and truly care about the customer beyond their wallet.

    Another funny thing – the specialist really are specialist. When they walked me through the customer service area, they had a few guys that were truly skaters (and even dressed like skaters at work) handling calls about those type of shoes/accessories. This was true for other categories, but that one stuck out the most to me.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @WeAre138: I shudder to imagine what the section who handled Crocs*.

      Mildly amusing Google anecdote. I forgot what Crocs were called, so Googled “ugly plastic sandals”. Yup. It worked!
      (Is that good or bad for Crocs?)

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @Trai_Dep: Middle aged gardeners and the elderly. And Mario Batali.

        • Skankingmike says:

          @pecan 3.14159265: Or nurses, Children, and people who like to be comfortable and don’t care what others think….

          They are super ugly god.

          • nakedscience says:

            @Skankingmike: There are plenty of comfortable shoes that don’t look like Crocs.

            • e.varden says:


              Yabbut I wear comfy Crock knock-offs from China, $4 vs $40. “Real” Crocks for $40? What a crock! Their prices are ridiculous.

              And no, I don’t care what other people think of them, visually…my feet feel good.

              John Christ, people still wear Birkenstocks, which look like cow-pies strapped to your feet!

      • WeAre138 says:

        @Trai_Dep: Yeah it’s bad for crocs ;) But really, nothing is going to help their reputation. I bet you could pull a toothless drunk out of his trailer and offer him a pair crocs branded with his favorite nascar driver and he’d tell you those were too trashy for him!

      • HogwartsAlum says:


        I just spent a bunch of money on some nice black leather work shoes from Crocs that look NOTHING like the sandals. I’m not allowed to wear those kinds of shoes to work; this way I can have the squishy goodness and my boss won’t pitch a fit.

        I haven’t gotten them yet but I can’t wait.

    • chiieddy says:

      @WeAre138: That’s actually useful to know. I’ve considered their ballroom shoes but it’s good to know if I called about them, I’d get someone who dances.

  7. Elizabeth Rowley says:

    I just have to say that as a customer service rep who does chat, I think its much easier for us, also. Except occasionally for very odd situations, or when you have a customer who doesn’t read what you type.

  8. SGAC says:

    Best thing about that link is the comments afterward from the Zappos staff. It was simply refreshing that Jonathan upgraded Todd to VIP simply because he “enjoyed the conversation”. I wish all customer service reps are that generous. :)

  9. Trai_Dep says:

    That’s pretty decent ‘bot scripting: the turning off of pronouns, and how it was done, made me laugh.
    OK. A $20 Zappos gift certificate to the first person that can trick the ‘bot to say, “Open the pod bay doors, Hal”.

    • MostlyHarmless says:

      @Trai_Dep:I’m sorry Dep. I’m afraid I can’t do that.

      I can get him to admit to the cake being a lie, if you want.

  10. PLATTWORX says:

    Jonathan gets an A+++++++++ for picking up on Timmy’s joke and rolling with it!

  11. MMD says:

    @Jonathan: Marry me!

  12. IT-Chick says:

    Where’s the rest?? This is amusing and I want MORE.

  13. zandar says:

    I so want to meet this Timmy man-child with the mind of a five year old.

    I bet he can do complex mathematics on command as well. Sit up, Timmy! Bark like a dog! Really mean it this time, Timmy! Now, what’s the square root of 573,234,568?

  14. nakedscience says:

    Jonathan: Will Timmy be able to measure Timmy’s wrist?
    Timmy: Timmy’s wrist is big, but not Biggie-Smalls big. Timmy doesn’t have the required measurement instruments.

    I am really trying not to lose it at work right now.

  15. kbrook says:

    These are the kind of customers that CSRs treasure – both because they liven up the tedium of the day, and because they give us stories to tell. Like the lady with the baby elephant eggs. Or the guy who threatened me with voodoo curses if his package didn’t arrive on time. Fun times, man. Fun times…

  16. You-Me-Us says:

    For the South Park fans: “TIMMY!!!!”

  17. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Give that man a raise.

  18. SlappySquirrel says:

    If you’re ever in Vegas and want a tour of Zappos, just give them a call and ask. (We never would have thought of doing that but mny husband met the CEO of Zappos and was invited to.)

    The tour shows you how seriously they take the “wacky startup” ethos. My husband and I have also both gotten our pictures taken in that chair and they gave us awesome Zappos laptop bags and let us pick some free books. It was great.

  19. INsano says:

    If you are hard up for entertainment, go to the U.S. Army’s website, they have an automated chat bot that “answers all the questions you would have” about the Army. All of them. I put it through the paces and got some funny results. It mostly stonewalled me, but when I started mentioning foreign policy it disconnected me.

  20. SugarMag says:

    I love Zappos! Service is always great with them and they are cool yet professional.

    I had a good online chat with them once. I was blabbing along, like: “…so I can’t find where I…oh – btw – I LOVE ZAPPOS!!…so anyway, when I enter the CC info I don’t want to save it and…”

    The CSR answered with “You need to go to the main menu – and WE LOVE YOU TOO!!! and hit the tab that…”

  21. HogwartsAlum says:

    I want that chair.