Zappos Is So Good At Customer Service, It’s Infuriating.

by Nathan W. Burke on September 24, 2010

The following isn’t really about a startup, but instead, a story of how a company turned my experience completely around and made my perceptions change completely.

Damn it Zappos. I’m sitting here shaking my head in disgust. You’ve stolen something from me that simply cannot be restored: my disappointment of your company.


Last Wednesday was my fiancee’s birthday, and I ordered a bag she wanted on I paid extra to have it shipped overnight so she’d get it on Wednesday, and on that afternoon she called me. No bag had arrived.

I looked at the UPS shipping site, entered the confirmation number, and saw that it had been delivered to the door. Only it hadn’t.

I got home that night and looked around for the box and found nothing. I called Zappos:

Me: Hi. I ordered a bag from Zappos to be delivered here today. I checked the shipping number, and it says it was delivered to my door. It’s not here.

Zappos: Did you look around?

Me: Everywhere. It’s not here.

Zappos: Let me call UPS.

I waited, and the gentleman came back on the phone to tell me that the package must have been signed for, and that it must have been stolen. He then offered to ship me the same order overnight, apologized, and then enrolled me in a VIP program. I then had to convince him to refund my shipping cost, as I’d paid for overnight shipping on an item I didn’t receive on time.

Summary: I paid extra to have an item shipped for my fiancee’s birthday. The item didn’t show up, so I was offered enrollment in a VIP club for a store that wouldn’t even offer to refund my delivery fee? I was pissed.

The next day the bag arrived, and everything was okay. I saw an email asking me to do a survey about my experience with Zappos’ customer service. Sure, I thought, why not explain how pissed I was at them?

And I did. And I was a total dick about it. I did add the caveat that it was likely not the fault of Zappos that the delivery wasn’t there, but still, I was a dick.

I just got a call from Zappos apologizing for the delivery problem. The rep apologized that the CSR didn’t immediately offer me a refund on my shipping, and said “we mean for enrollment into our VIP program to be a bonus, not a band-aid, and we’re sorry if it came off that way. We just found out that the delivery driver dropped off the package to the wrong address completely, and it was shipped back to us.”

He then said “To make things right, I want to give you $50. You can either have it in the form of a gift certificate, or have it taken off the purchase you made last week. Up to you. There’s no way for us to get better at what we do without getting feedback from people when we aren’t doing the best we can. And I hope the $50 will help to make up for it.”

I was smiling while shaking my head in disbelief. Damn it Zappos. You’re as good as everyone says.

And of course, I took the gift certificate, and I’m going to by my fiancee a “making up for not having your present on time” present. And I’ll shop there again.

Zappos, I just can’t stay mad at ‘ya. Nice job.

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