When you think you’ve got the corner on the market for…well, just about everything, it’s nice to know that even big headed people can learn a thing or two.

Enter Kanye West.  Big Head Galore.

It’s not enough to re-brand the Confederate flag and consider it “his,” Mr. Big Mouth took a shot at Zappos and failed. 

Evidently and not surprisingly, you don’t offer advice to the Big One, even if you are the CEO of Zappos, one of the most customer service-oriented companies on the planet.

West didn’t like it and said that Zappos “sells shit product to everybody.”

So what did Zappos do? At first, nothing.

Then, Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, tweeted, “Kanye West says Zappos sells sh-t product. It’s true.”

In a brilliant move, Zappos took a potentially harmful situation, and not only de-fused it, he flushed all objections. In the end, West was the one looking foolish. (Although I doubt he knows that.)

Zappos launched The Zappos.com Shit Product. You can check out the video here.

The point of this very biased harangue is to show that you, too, can take harmful, unjustified criticism and turn it to your advantage without the incident going viral on the Internet.

Usually, these kinds of assault happen individually and much less publicly. Unlike Kanye West, you don’t have to make a video and broadcast it to the world that the customer is unreasonable and unfair.

It does mean:

  • You can listen and repeat back to the client the complaint as you understand it
  • Ask how the client would like to have the complaint resolved
  • If the request is reasonable just do it

And for bonus points, offer him/her a gift certificate of $25 to enjoy later.

Sometimes that’s the hardest part; going above and beyond when all you really want to do is slap them around a bit.

But when you offer something so unexpected in addition to resolving the complaint, you knock the wind right out of their sails.

What are they going to say, “They were so awful they also gave me a $25 gift certificate!”

The whole point is to rise above and let your company’s integrity speak for itself. That’s what Zappos did.

When you look at the bigger picture, handing over that gift certificate is a whole lot easier because you get the last laugh.

North by North West,




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