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What Multifamily Can Learn From Zappos

What Multifamily Can Learn From Zappos
Before my team and I left the NAA Student Housing conference, I wanted to come up with a great team building exercise. I’m big on culture and we were in Las Vegas...so I booked a tour and a Q&A session with Zappos! Here’s what we learned:   Don’t just sell customer service, LIVE it. Zappos will tell you all day long that they don’t sell shoes. I disagree, but I understand their point. They will tell you they sell customer service. What’s really amazing is they don’t have a customer-first mentality. It’s actually culture first. They believe if the culture is right, their employees will want to work there, and the people that work there will want to provide excellent customer service. That’s a lot of faith in people (and it’s paid off)!     “Structure” isn’t what holds a company together. Culture is. Zappos isn’t afraid to try things that are unique. Tony, the CEO, sits among others in a cubicle and openly promotes his horizontal org chart. Honestly, I thought I’d see total chaos during the tour. Don’t get me wrong—it was similar to a zoo and felt like a party—but a lot of work was getting done. The lack of structure and policies would drive most managers I know a bit crazy. But this place? They were thriving on it. And that made me think. What if we stopped selling amenities and apartments and started selling customer service? Make everyone who calls, chats, emails or texts in the most important person in the worl......
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Is there a limit to giving great customer service?

Customer service gurusCustomer service gurus Think of a company who gives great customer service and you probably immediately think of Zappos. The famous, insane and often heroic customer service stories are the things of legend. The 10 hour customer service call, how they refused to accept the wrong pair of shoes (donate them to charity they said) and sent the correct ones to the customer and how Zappos can even find local pizza delivery shops still open at 12am. These stories are feel good. They give hope that there are companies out there that really do care about their customers. The goal, of course, for all of these efforts is to create customers for life. Over the years, I’ve read endlessly about how customer service can impact our ratings and reviews and resident retention and how we should go above and beyond because customers have strong voices today due to social media. Whew. I remind myself, though, that all things aren’t created equal. We’d love to have customers for life but the fact is, that rarely happens. People move back west, they buy a home, they move back in with their parents, they elope, they go back in time to see how their parents first met and change the future. Let’s face it, a large part of our yearly turnover is filled with people who will leave no matter what you do; life happens. Is it possible or practical to offer this type of service to our residents? Sure, we can wow them. Fix those......
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