Zappos’ Excellent Customer Service Results in a Superbly Written Response

As a copywriter, I can’t help but critique prose no matter where it may appear. It’s not something I actively try to do. It just happens. It’s like a spider-sense, except that it’s probably the worst superpower ever. I constantly analyze the word choice of books, signs, menus, pamphlets, websites… pretty much anything that strings words together in a way that forms sentences. It’s kind of a pain; however, it’s also why I probably appreciate good writing more than the average person.

The other day I was browsing Reddit and I happened upon a post entitled “My friend ordered a pair of shoes from Zappos that fell apart. This is the hilarious customer service response he received.” What followed is not only an example of fantastic customer service but also an amazing piece of copy that should make any writer proud to put it in their portfolio.

Why is it so good? Let me count the ways.

1. Grammar – Despite its almost stream-of-consciousness style, the author took time to carefully proofread his response. Either that, or he’s the best first-draft writer in this planet’s history.

2. Pacing – It reads just like the fast-paced dialogue of an Aaron Sorkin movie. You can actually hear the voice of hyperactive superhero, Captain Anomaly, as he comes to your rescue. Just glancing at an email of that length might make you think “Sheesh, I’ve got to read all this? I just want a new pair of shoes!” But because every sentence makes you want to read the next sentence (THE MOST important quality of good writing), you’re finished before you know it.

3. Attention to Detail – From monetary compensation to the exact procedure of how to return the merchandise, the email addresses every single issue that the customer might have.

4. Humor – Most importantly (to me anyway), Paul’s response is extremely funny. His exclamatory remarks, word choice, and general ridiculousness had me explaining to my coworkers why I burst out laughing. How could a story with “an experimental lab explosion involving a lamp, a giraffe, and an expired pack of Bazooka bubble gum” not put a smile on your face?

So, I’ve explained why this email is so good, but I haven’t answered the more difficult, and more important, question of “Why did it go viral?” Whenever I see something funny like this that catches fire and spreads on the Internet, it reminds me of the old Steve Martin quote: “Be so good, they can’t ignore you.” This wasn’t just a humorous chuckle-eliciting email. This was a laugh-out-loud ‘I can’t believe someone wrote this, this is so awesome’ type of email and it’s that kind of effort and creativity that will make people want to share it and help you get noticed in the social world.

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  • donkowalewski
    Posted at 17:35h, 08 December

    Totally classic. Now I’m secretly hoping some of my Zappos purchases fall apart or cause a rash on my feet so I can get my own awesomely hilarious, yet functional, response.

  • DonMedia
    Posted at 18:41h, 08 December

    I agree it ticks all the boxes for customer service, but I’m not sure I’d be so pleased with the snarky response when all I wanted was a chance to vent and get a refund on my shoes.

  • The Grammar Doctors
    Posted at 04:29h, 13 December

    This is totally fun as far as emails go. Unfortunately, I counted at least eight grammatical errors in the copy, which had me wondering and distracted me from the fun. I guess I can overlook that for the super-cool superhero references, though. 🙂

  • Tamara Vallejos
    Posted at 00:09h, 15 December

    Honestly, if I e-mailed with a complaint and got this as a response, I’d be a little annoyed by its levity–BUT I think it’s great that Zappos is a company that gives their customer service agents the leeway to be playful! Must be a really awesome place to work.

  • Jurjen van den Broek
    Posted at 12:41h, 20 December

    Brilliant! Love it!

  • R Patin321
    Posted at 15:16h, 05 January

    Love It! As a Zappos customer, I’d be flattered that I got such a personalized and AWESOME response. If I were indeed mad, I couldn’t help but to cheer up after reading this response. Kudos to Zappos for not taking life too seriously….

  • mutaura chowkwadi
    Posted at 02:17h, 24 June

    Zappos is an company and Amazon has the best customer service in Retail/online retails.

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