Until about three weeks ago, I had never heard about Zappos. Maybe it’s because I live in Norway, or because I’m not that into shoes. I don’t know. Now, everywhere I go online, I seem to get the story about Zappos.
In three weeks I know that I actually love Zappos without even being a customer.
Some of the reason for this might be the new book by CEO Tony Hsieh. I’ve read about it on many blogs, I believe that the first time I heard of Zappos and the book was from the review by Chris Brogan.
I’ve ordered the book, but I haven’t read it.
The 5 Reasons
The five reasons are (listed in no particular order):
1. The Core Values
2. It’s Always Personal
3. 5 Weeks of Training
4. The Tony Hsieh Quotes
Let me explain.
What I really enjoy about Zappos is the culture. Everything I’ve read and every video I’ve watched, they focus on the company culture. All my five reasons for loving Zappos is based on their company culture.
#1 – The Core Values
Zappos have defined 10 core values, and they’re commited to the values, which means that they hire and fire people based on the values.
Too many companies have core values, but close to nobody knows them and they’re just words on a paper or on a website. Core values should define who they are and should be part of the daily work process.
Not only are they commited to the core values, but I believe in each core value. They all sound honest and when I read them it was like I trusted this company that very minute.
Here are the core values of Zappos:
1. Deliver WOW Through Service
2. Embrace and Drive Change
3. Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
5. Pursue Growth and Learning
6. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
8. Do More With Less
9. Be Passionate and Determined
10. Be Humble
#2 – It’s Always Personal
Their customer service seems to be extraordinary (remember, I’m not a customer, and I’ve never contacted them). Their warehouse is open 365 days a year, and their call centre is open 24/7. They’re always there. They’re not using a script, they’re people communicating.
A few days ago I watched a video of CEO Tony Hsieh talk about their customer service and telling a story of when he and some of his friends was out drinking (somewhere in the US). They got back to the hotel and one of his friends wanted a pizza, but unfortunately the hotel room service stopped serving hot food after 11 pm. She ended up calling customer service at Zappos and asked if they could help her get a pizza (Zappos don’t make or deliver pizza). The end of the story was that the person at customer service located all the open pizza restaurants close to the location where she was at and sent them to her.
The people at Zappos want to talk to you. The longest phone conversation at customer service was 6 hours (at least it was at the time of Tony Hsieh’s talk).
#3 – 5 Weeks of Training
All new employees at Zappos go through 5 weeks of training. All the training is identical, no matter if you’re in customer service or your a production manager. This means that they focus on the core values of the company, and that it’s very important that every single person working at Zappos are there for the same reason. Every single person will have to answer the phone calls at Zappos during the training.
5 weeks of culture, core values, customer service and warehouse training.
They even pay new employees $2000 to quit during the training.
#4 – The Tony Hsieh Quotes
When I heard two quotes by Tony Hsieh I knew that the Zappos culture was close to perfect (I don’t want to say perfect because I know way too little about the company and the people working there).
Here is the first quote:
It’s one thing to read about your company, but when a customer can associate it with an actual person, it creates a deeper, more meaningful connection to the brand.
This is why people in a company should be more out in the public. They should represent the company, not only when working, but also when not working. If they’re really happy, they’ll talk about their company at all times and everywhere.
This is the second quote:
Customer Service Isn’t Just A Department!
Every person in the company and every part of the company is customer service.
#5 – Passion
It’s not about the shoes (or the other products they’re selling), it’s about happiness. Happiness converts people into lifelong customers.
Zappos are using money from their marketing budget for their customer service (at least that’s what I heard), they understand that marketing is really about the customer.
They have a culture and training community where everything is public. Visit Zappos Insights to read about it.
Image credits: lowlevelrebel