Jeff Bezos vs ROAD iD

I have a question for you (at the bottom). But first…

Raise your hand if you remember when buying shoes online seemed stranger than a seven-legged bunny rabbit.

When Zappos launched in 1999, many people thought their founders were delusional.

Like good visionaries, however, they ignored their critics and set about building a shoe-selling empire. In the process of growing to a billion dollars in online shoe sales, Zappos changed the world’s perception of the types of products that could be purchased online. They also set a very visible example of what exceptional customer service looks like. In fact, they became famous for their magnificent customer service. Here’s a quote from their former CEO…

Then, in 2009, Amazon bought them.

As someone that cares deeply about delivering a blindingly awesome customer experience, I read this Jeff Bezos interview in Wired Magazine with rapt attention…

Wired Magazine:
Two years ago, you bought Zappos. Was that an attempt to absorb their so-called culture of happiness and customer service?

Jeff Bezos:
No, no, no. We like their unique culture, but we don’t want that culture at Amazon…Every time a customer contacts us, we see it as a defect. I’ve been saying for many, many years, people should talk to their friends, not their merchants. And so we use all of our customer service information to find the root cause of any customer contact. What went wrong? Why did that person have to call? Why aren’t they spending that time talking to their family instead of talking to us? How do we fix it? Zappos takes a completely different approach. You call them and ask them for a pizza, and they’ll get out the Yellow Pages for you.

Here’s my take…
Bezos’ answer is provocative…but seems to paint the two customer service philosophies as mutually exclusive. I think that’s nonsense.

At ROAD iD, we believe we can achieve both. Our goal, like Amazon's, is to find the root cause of customer interactions and eliminate them. For example, if our team is being asked the same question over and over again, we should seek to answer that repetitive question before you (our customer) ever has to ask it. A well designed website, thoughtfully located content, great imagery, and demos/videos are a few things that help us achieve this.

Then, like Zappos, we layer on fanatical, empathetic, live support from actual humans. Yes, actual, charming, caring human beings that have heart, soul, and personality.

Our customer-facing goals are simple. One, we want to Deliver a Fun, Frictionless, and Personal experience - every time. Two, we want to Deliver a Product, Service, and Journey so blindingly awesome that our customers can’t help but share it.

As humans, I believe that we don’t really want to do business with faceless businesses. Instead, we prefer to do business with actual people. Let me say that again. We don’t want to do business with businesses…we want to do business with people.

And, at ROAD iD, we want it to feel that way for you…even if you never need to send an email or dial us up. This is why, in all of our digital and physical touch points, we seek to engage and talk like real people - we are real people after all - just like you.

Now, back to the question I referenced above. I’d love to hear about a time when a company you worked with delivered an exceptional customer service experience. What was the situation? What made it so special? Did you tell anyone else about it?

At ROAD iD, we try really hard to deliver an exceptional and personal customer experience. But, there’s always room for improvement. Perhaps we can learn from your experiences.

I can’t wait to hear from you,

P.S. If you would like the chance to score a $100 ROAD iD gift card, it’s as simple as recording a vertical selfie video and submitting it on our website. All of the details and requirements can be found here.

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