How Zappos Masters Customer Care Metrics

Internet shoe retailer Zappos is often cited as a paragon of customer service. The reason isn't just that its customers are satisfied: it is that Zappos know they are satisfied thanks to its finely-tuned system of metrics and measurement, according to Andy Morris, vice president of global operations at TaskUs.

"Zappos has a very, very extreme company culture that is about satisfying their customer at any cost," Morris says. "All of their customer-service agents have tremendous autonomy and latitude to do what they think is required to keep the customer happy."

Often, what's required to keep the customer happy flies in the face of traditional customer-service metrics like average call duration that typically focus more on reducing company costs than enhancing customer satisfaction. "Agents at Zappos are not tracked against how long they take on a call or how much they spend on appeasement," Morris continues. "They're tracked against the customer experience."

Indeed, Zappos is proof that companies can use metrics not only to measure customer service, but also to drive it. The key is tracking the right metrics. With that in mind, here are three of the most important data points at Zappos:

Personal Service Level

Zappos' longest call on record (at the time of this writing) lasted eight hours. That is because customer-service agents aren't praised for having quick resolution times or high call volumes. Instead, they're praised for making personal emotional connections with customers. For that reason, the company prizes a metric it calls "Personal Service Level," which quantifies how much time agents spend on the phone with customers in total, rather than how much time they spend per call. Agents are expected to spend at least 80 percent of their time interacting with customers.

Personal Emotional Connection

Because personal emotional connections are so important, Zappos measures them using what's called the "Happiness Experience Form,” which assesses four factors on a 100-point scale: 1) Did the agent try twice to make a personal emotional connection? 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”?

Net Promoter Score

Like many companies, Zappos tracks its Net Promoter Score (i.e., how many customers would recommend the company to a friend or family member). In addition to the standard survey question - "On a scale of 0-10, 10 being the highest score, how likely are you to recommend Zappos to a friend or family member?" - Zappos also asks, "If you had to name one thing that we could improve upon, what would that be?" It also asks, "Overall, would you describe the service you received from _________ as good, bad or fantastic? What exactly stood out as being good or bad about this service?" Consistently asking for open-ended feedback allows Zappos to determine not only if customers would recommend the company, but also why they would or wouldn't recommend it, which yields anecdotal information that Zappos uses to drive continuous improvement in the customer experience.

October 09, 2014