ZAPPOS FLIPPED THE FUNNEL
“We’re not a shoe company that happens to give great customer service; we’re a service company that happens to sell shoes.”
Those are the words of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. Ordinarily, claims like that are nothing more than lip service, the kind of spin not worth the paper it’s printed on. But Zappos is no ordinary company; and it walks its talk in the most extraordinary of ways.
How? By flipping the funnel.
What began as a challenge to overcome a hurdle in the traditional funnel—getting consumers to purchase—became one of the industry’s guiding lights and a competitive differentiator second to none in the flipped: a legendary customer experience.
It’s also the central reason why little David was acquired by the mighty Goliath (Amazon.com
) in July 2009.
Hsieh and Zappos founder Nick Swinmurn believed that consumers would purchase just about anything on the Web as long as it was easy to reverse the transaction. In fact, Zappos’s return policy alone went a significant way toward easing consumer apprehension about buying shoes. The company’s tagline, Powered by Service, exemplifies a commitment that makes buying from the company painless, risk-free, and pleasurable. It is such a simple process that Zappos hasn’t merely separated itself from its competitive set of shoe e-tailers but has also become a beacon of exceptional customer service among brick-and-mortar retailers. Whereas most companies are almost impossible to contact, Zappos provides a 24/7 ...