In bed with Zappos

A cheeky title for a post about customer service through Twitter and the way Zappos nails it.

So much for the literature, better for hailing a best practice on customer service.

The story begins late at night. A warm summer-like night in Paris, France. The stage is set in a random flat, home to a random, mustache-wearing guy … (blame Movember for that; and show support too) lying on a sofa/bed (and now the title does make some sense …).

Suddenly, the silence of the night is broken by a shout. A tweet in fact.

Listen to the noise.

Indeed. Do listen.

Back to business and the use of networks (Twitter in particular, here), it is crucial not only to have a presence but also to listen to the overall “noise” made on the network.

Your brand may appear there – hopefully it does because otherwise you are non-existent – for either good or bad reasons.

In any case, capturing the positive and/or negative feedback is key to the customer experience and service you are providing.

The tweet I received was, in fact, a reply to a tweet I sent about an article I curated about Tony Hsieh and the Downtown Project in Vegas. The reply came from Zappos’ customer service handle. In a short and easy form since the tweet, to @sampavin, read “:)”.

Mind you, I am always happy to get a smile. Read a few lines above about the positive/negative feedback bit.

That was positive.

That also shows how Zappos are listening to the Twitter noise and catching mentions related to their “ecosystem” (Tony Hsieh, Vegas, Downtown Project) and not solely to their brand.

And they even go beyond that.

Engage with people.

Yes, they not only listen and take note but they do also engage with people.

Please note that I have never been a Zappos customer in the past and that was my very first interaction with them.

But here, not only am I getting a smiley (as I said earlier, it is always nice) but also a mention by a Twitter user with a lot more followers than I have. Vanity ranking : up :)

And that was not the end of it.

A short reply from me, a mention of a trip to Vegas and we ended up sending half a dozen tweets each with me getting an invite to have food at the Zappos campus.

Let me say that again, I have never been a Zappos customer and that was the first time I would interact with them.

From a brand point of view, having paid attention (to the noise, again) and taken time to engage with an individual is a positive message sent out.

And going the extra-mile by having a chat and being nice is just amazing.

Be amazing, create value.

This is a wonderful experience. First because it goes far beyond customer support.

I am not a customer. And I did not tweet to them, be it to ask a question or complain. My only move having been to tweet an article related to “acquaintances” of the brand.

Yet they showed appreciation.

And we could chat.

And they offered value to me, by offering a tour of the campus, followed by food (supposedly good – I need to check that now) at the campus.

All out of nothing. I did not expect a thing (even the contact in the first place) nor was I asking for anything.

By doing so, they create an amazing value for the brand.

I now “know” Zappos beyond the sole name and brand. Further than knowing, I have had a taste of a wonderful customer experience. So, just a few tweets transform into customer acquisition and, not the least, advocate acquisition too.

Proof is … this post. I am writing about best practices with customer service through social networks but Zappos provide the real-life example of a best practice.

Listen, engage, be amazing.

Keep these three bits in mind to create a mind-blowing experience for customers.

And a quick reminder (an actual major one in fact), this does work when there are real people behind the wheel.

That is my last take from this Zappos best practice, the people handling the Twitter account are real people. They act, speak, engage and behave like real people, not scripts.

That does make the difference.

I had written a wee piece on the good, the bad (and ugly) use of Twitter for customer service, I shall add a fourth; the best, which is described here.

Now, way to go for all, sort your tweets and be amazing ! (at customer service for a start …)

… And high five to the Zappos people !


By the way, whoever agrees/disagrees, do feel free to hit me in the comments below.


Apple iBrains …

Smartphones, laptops, tablets, all “smart” tools.

My phone is indeed certainly smarter than me.

Welcome to the era of machines, finally.

I recently spoke about the need for an app but, for now, here is my very own version of … iBrains, powered by Apple.

Apple iBrains

Note : iBrain and iBrains are already registered names … not by Apple though.


Oscar Wilde

Entrepreneurs, workers, people; whatever your occupation strive everyday for an enjoyable life.

I do not mean wealth or success here. Just manage to make your day a good day and enjoy the life you built and are still building.

I am not a user of quotes but here is the one having inspired this short piece :

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”

– Oscar Wilde

So, live!

(Picture : Wikimedia Commons)

Exit - Sortie - sign for startups on samuel pavin group Ltd

Mentoring = ass-kicking

“I am a mentor”.

A few words to be read on CVs or biographies; to be heard in the mouths of people at startup events;

Being a mentor does apparently sound like an achievement in a career nowadays.

Driving various kinds of people to become “mentors”.

However, the very foundations of mentoring and being a mentor are the ability to listen, understand and advise.

Let’s not lose the focus of what really matters : helping the mentoree settle down, progress and (hopefully) succeed.

I like to read this in an easy way : Mentoring = kicking someone’s ass.

Out of habits

Out of comfort zone

Out of mistakes

And whenever startups (mentorees in general) are on the right track, keep kicking them ahead of the crowd towards success.

Now being called a mentor does not mean being able to be one.

On to the next step, let the startups provide feedback and whenever needed, kick the so-called mentors out of the way.

Mentoring & ass-kicking








So that mentoring can definitely kick ass!

(Photo : samuelpavin)

App Camp 2013, in a summarized flash

Vilnius (Lithuania) App Camp 2013, hack, mentor, network, get apps done and talk kite-surfing!

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When marketing is fun

Good #marketing – fun message

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