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Zappos’ Warm Interaction, Customers Attack Burger King Employee, Unified Commerce

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Brian Cantor

Zappos Delivers A Warm Customer Experience

Big surprise: a Zappos Customer Loyalty Team agent did something great for a customer – and for a community.

Shortly after Christmas, Carson Cogdill used Zappos gift cards to purchase new shoes for her husband. The shoes that arrived were not, however, of the correct size and model.

The mistake may have been atypical, but the response from Zappos’ agent was customary for the famously customer-centric brand.

The representative quickly apologized. She also quickly confirmed the company’s plan to ship the correct shoes without additional cost or hassle.

When dealing with many brands, receiving a quick apology – and quick replacement product – would be a best case scenario.

For Zappos, it was only part of the company’s effort to remedy the situation.

In addition to shipping the correct pair of shoes, the representative permitted Cogdill to keep – and perhaps give away – the errant pair.

When Cogdill explained the value that gesture would have for a Summerton, South Carolina farm community affected by a flood and in need of donations, the agent decided to elevate his company’s response. He surprisingly shipped a box of twelve fleece blankets for the community in need.

"I wanted to send you something else to donate to the people in need," read the note. "Thank you for being amazing and helping those around you who’ve had such a hard year."

While this story may be particularly touching, it is certainly not a dramatic departure from the Zappos approach. Zappos routinely strives to deliver personalized, memorable experiences and even, as revealed on a tour held during last year’s CCIQ Call Center Week, celebrates agents for going the extra mile.

Giving away blankets may not be an option for your company. Working to turn all customer interactions into positive, rewarding experiences absolutely is.

And so the next time you give a customer a hard time when requesting a return or make-good, think about whatbusinesses like Zappos – your competitors in the "age of the empowered customer" regardless of whether you sell shoes and clothing – do in such situations. If they can send a dozen blankets and let the customer keep the errant shoes, how can you justify making the experience remotely difficult?

Angry Customers Attack Trash Burger King, Attack Employee

Some thought leaders claim efficiency metrics – and speed in general – are irrelevant in today’s marketplace.

Those thought leaders have evidently not met the violent customers responsible for an incident at a Bradenton, Florida Burger King.

"Upset about how long their order was taking," a pair of presently unidentified drive-thru customers became belligerent. They entered the store and began arguing with Bret Swain, an employee.

Their behavior and rage soon escalated; one of the disgruntled customers hopped the counter and began throwing items around the restaurant.

When the customers eventually exited the store, Swain followed them outside and began to call the police.

One of the customers responded by punching Swain in the jaw. He then threw – and broke – Swain’s phone.

Police are actively pursuing the duo.

Rise of Unified Commerce

As 2016 gets underway, omni-channel commerce is predictably taking center stage.

85% of businesses identify unified commerce as their top priority, reports Boston Retail Partners in its annual POS/Customer Engagement Survey.

In pursuit of this unified commerce platform, organizations must avoid the lure of a "faux" omni-channel model. It is not enough to merely provide some connectivity across some channels.

Such half-hearted endeavors fail on two levels:

1) They place unwanted limits on customers who expect a complete, seamless, consistent, omni-channel experience.

2) They result in executional failures, which render the already-limited customer experience even more disappointing for customers.

60% of businesses say they have inventory visibility across channels. Mindful of the need to deliver a complete omni-channel experience, 80% of those businesses admit that their systems require improvement.

[Image Credit: Sigbal]