Summertime = Shorts and Sandals…But Is That OK In Customer Service?

shorts for workIt’s August. It’s hot. It’s vacation time.  We like to wear shorts. More specifically, I like to wear shorts.

Growing up in Florida, I guess that is to be expected. So, every day when I come home from work, I change out of my work clothes (business casual) and put on shorts. It’s comfortable.

Now, I wish that I could wear shorts to work, but I happen to work in a company where, although there is no interaction with the outside Customer, there is a, albeit relaxed, dress code.  Which made me start thinking.  And, as King Julian from the movie Madagascar would say, ‘After much deep and profound brain things inside my head,’ I have arrived at the conclusion that it is OK to wear shorts and sandals to work, IF…there is no direct, face to face interaction with the Customer.

Take for instance, the fabulous online shoe empire of Zappos. They have Out of This World Customer Service and are well known for it. And their employees who man their phones in sizzling Las Vegas can wear shorts to work. I know because I called them (thanks, Amy, for taking my call, your greeting and manner were just as I expected, fabulous!) to confirm it.

After all, what exactly does what we wear have to do with how we perform on a phone call?  I know that I may get drowned in email after this (please send them here instead), however, in all seriousness, I have been observing this in my 15 years of Customer Service.  And I have arrived at the conclusion that it is not the dress code that determines the Customer Service, but rather the company culture.

Go ahead, test this. Give Zappos a call. Order some shoes. I think you will arrive at the same conclusion as me.

Thanks for reading,

Brandon (wearing shorts)

P.S. Their phone number is: 800-927-7671, tell them I sent you!

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2 responses to “Summertime = Shorts and Sandals…But Is That OK In Customer Service?

  1. Some very interesting points raised here, which has got me thinking!

  2. I agree. I too have had many jobs with different scenarios and beliefs from the corporate management of the place of business.

    An example, while in between IT jobs I was trying to find anything to keep the bills paid and I landed a low paying job collecting on credit cards that were overdue. For this company I was collecting on Fingerhut accounts for people who lived in the mid-west. If you don’t know what Fingerhut is they sell lava lamps, card shufflers, and useless things of that nature. Even though these low income mid-west residents racked up the bill over a thousand dollars at times, and knowing they don’t have the money to pay for their mistakes, somehow wearing a mandatory shirt and tie, dress slacks and dress shoes was supposed to make us feel empowered to get that money$$$ 🙂 To say the least, I did not feel empowered, just hot and uncomfortable.

    On the other side of the fence, while working IT for Hewlett Packard, we had a very loose dress code. Basketball Jerseys, cargo shorts, and flip flops were definitely acceptable, and I felt empowered and happy to come to work and be the best at what I do. Was it because I was back in my field of IT, or the dress code was easy-going and you felt at ease? Probably both. 

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