One of the best business models we have found that can help luxury real estate marketing professionals distinguish their brand from their competitors comes from a $1 billion dollar online shoes merchant that “hug” their customers with spectacular customer service. It can help you to increase client and employee/team member loyalty. So, if the shoe fits… take it from here.
Once you have purchased your first pair of shoes from Zappos you may never go back to shopping in shoe stores again? Zappos is a take-off on the word zapatos, which means shoes in Spanish. They specialize in footwear, handbags as well as niche shoes (vegan shoes and narrow and wide shoes). They have a central warehouse and two brick-and-mortar outlet stores. Zappos really understands how “hugging” their customers and their employees translates in to big profits.
The Zappos business model is based totally on loyalty and relationship marketing. A loyalty model means that a company focuses its resources so customers’ expectations are consistently met or even surpassed. Relationship marketing is also about the long term value of keeping customers but is focused on the importance of triggering word-of- mouth advertising as a means of acquiring new customers.
How do they do that? They hug their customers! Zappos builds the culture of the company and promotes its brand through superlative customer service. Their slogan is “Powered by Customer Service” The result is 60% of Zappos’ customers are repeat customers, and the rest have come from word-of-mouth marketing. Naturally this business model reduces marketing costs.
Zappos puts the “WOW” in every customer interaction. They do so through free 2-way shipping (receipt and return), a 365-day return policy, a 24 hour call service. Hugs!
Zappos also hugs their employees! New employees, regardless of position are required to attend a 4-week Customer Loyalty Training course. This includes two weeks of talking on the phone with customers: hug training. After the first week of training the new employees are offered a “quit now” bonus of $1,000 to leave the company immediately, no strings attached. This ensures people are there for the love of the job and not just the money. Over 90% turn down the buyout.
Tony Hsieh, the CEO, is somewhat of a celebrity in his own right. You can follow him on Twitter along with over 62,000 others (as of this writing). If you called Zappos customer service over the Holidays, chances are you reached Tony himself. Personal CEO hugs!
In your luxury real estate marketing practice, how can you put the wow in your service and hug your clients today? Does this resonate with your brand of doing business? If, the shoe fits…
by Ron Seigel