Get your Zappos Experience in time for Christmas!

Thank you for your patience with my less frequent blog posts.

I have two bits of  good news and then on to this weeks blog…

1) the first draft of my upcoming Starbucks book is done (working title The Starbucks Connection) freeing me up to return to blogging soon

2) a couple of bloggers have kindly stepped-up to share their expertise in the void between now and when I restart my blog writing in January.

This week enjoy the writing of Ashley Verill.  Ashley a CRM analyst shares her insights on the subject of my The Zappos Experience book.  Here’s Ashley….

Zappos is renowned worldwide as the model for customer-centric culture, in part for the e-retailer’s unique approach to performance management. The company invests in the call center not as a cost, but as a marketing opportunity.

Recently, I sat down with the company’s Customer Loyalty Operations Manager Derek Carder. He said the company’s whole strategy is to create loyalty through incentivizing ‘wow’ moments and emotional connections. Here are the four KPIs they use to monitor, track and improve performance:

Measure Total Call Time, Not Time Per Call
Instead of valuing quick time to resolution or processing high call volumes, Zappos looks at the percentage of a time an agent spends on the phone. Agents are expected to spend at least 80 percent of their time in customer-facing communications. This measure – called personal service level – is a way to empower the team to utilize their time how they see best promotes customer loyalty.

Quantify and Reward Wow Moments
Zappos measures calls against a 100-point scale called the “Happiness Experience Form.” This is based on answers to the following questions:

1.    Did the agent try twice to make a personal emotional connection (PEC)?
2.    Did they keep the rapport going after the customer responded to their attempt?
3.    Did they address unstated needs?
4.    Did they provide a “wow experience?”

Agents are expected to achieve a 50-point average or higher. Agents earn incentives for meeting their goals, while under performers are required to take extra training.

Zero in on Idle Chats
Zappos monitors “abandonment time,” or periods when an agent has a session open even though the customer already disconnected from the chat.  Carder said sometimes agents do this purposely to avoid responding. This strategy of looking for idle chats zeroes in on the cause of unproductivity. When agents aren’t productive, customers wait longer. And the longer they wait, the more apt they are to abandon the session.

Make Attendance and Punctuality a Priority
Zappos uses a program called Panda to combat absenteeism. Employees receive a point for every day they miss work or come in late. Staff with zero points in a given period receive a varying number of paid hours off. These hours can be accrued and stacked for an entire paid day off, Carder explains.

The primary take away is that Zappos created metrics that emphasize creating a relationship with the customer rather than rushing them through the call. At the same time, these KPIs still successfully improve performance and make employees feel appreciated and rewarded.

Ashley Verrill is a CRM analyst for research firm Software Advice.

Thanks Ashley!!!!

Smoke over black background

Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

1 Comment

  1. Janessa Lantz on January 4, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Great insights from the Zappos experience. Many companies are still focusing on satisfaction measures that are like asking “We didn’t dissapoint you too much, right?” The Zappos metric is substantially more stringent, but their passionate followers are evidence that it’s worth measuring love over like.

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