The Promise Keepers

Most all of us have experienced the disappointment of having someone break a promise to us. This seems to unfortunately be a common occurrence in the world of commerce and business. Companies promise this, that and the other thing about their products or services and then fall woefully short of delivering on them...all without seeming to understand that this will negatively affect their business. After all, they can just make some more promises in the future! The fact is, that customer confidence and loyalty is built on a relationship based on being a ‘promise keeper.’ How faithfully we fulfill our promises determines the strength of that relationship. Repeatedly delivering on promises is what creates raving fans.

Case in point: I am a raving fan of Zappos. I became a raving fan because in the space of 7 days they demonstrated their absolute commitment to delivering on their promise.

The Zappos corporate promise is, “Powered by Service.” Now if you are like me, you have seen this promise of service broken so many times, by so many companies and institutions, that ‘service’ becomes code for “we’re committed to making your experience with us as painful as possible.” I have a dozen quick examples that I won’t share here. And I am sure you could rustle up an equal number without much problem.

My experience with Zappos is the exact opposite. They promise to pay postage both ways…and they do. They promise if you don’t like something, or it doesn’t fit , send it back and they will exchange it or send you a full refund  for up to a year after the purchase…and they do. They promise to be quick and responsive…and they are!

My story starts this way: I have a large shoe size. I have trouble finding a shoe that fits. I ordered a pair of hiking shoes from Zappos and when I got them they didn’t fit (seems size 13 isn’t always size 13!) So I use the Help chat to get instructions on how to send them back and get another style in exchange. No problem, put the old ones back in the box, take them to UPS and away they go.

Couple of days later the new ones come. They didn’t fit either (again, seems size 13 isn’t always.) Get on the Help chat again, tell my sad story and am assured it is no problem at all. Order another style and am told to put the others back in the box and send them back.

So, the next day the UPS truck stops at the house and I’m thinking, ‘Wow, this is great. I don’t even have to take them to the UPS store.”  Ask the driver if he will take my box. He says, ‘sure’ and hands me my package…FROM ZAPPOS, with my new shoes!

Promise made, promise fulfilled, raving fan created! (And the shoes fit.)


Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them. Psalm 119:40