Several years ago, I saw the CEO of Zappo’s, Tony Hsieh, on Oprah. I was completely taken with him, and have tortured friends ever since with my adoration for this guy. Did you know that no matter what job you are hired for, you must spend one month in customer training (at full salary), two weeks of which is taking phone calls. After one week, you are offered $3,000 to leave, no questions asked. 97% turn down that offer.
In 2010, Zappo’s introduced their marketing promotion, The Zappets. Created to resemble actual Zappo’s employees, these puppets starred in commercials designed to underscore the company’s commitment to customer satisfaction. Zappo’s CSRs are not given scripts nor are there time limits per call and employees are encouraged to keep their offbeat personalities, all of which are clearly illustrated in the commercials.
Interestingly, actors were hired to call actual CSRs with quirky scenarios (one customer wants to exchange her workout clothes for a deep fryer, another claims that she is not “ready” for a dress that she received), but the CSRs were under the impression that they were authentic calls and not material for a marketing promotion.
The Zappets are just another example of puppets being used lately in advertising. Having quirky puppets stand in as the visual for such ridiculous audio is pretty brilliant and almost forgives the excruciating CGI eyes that the Zappets have. Really, what were they thinking? Either way, big thumbs up to Zappo’s.