I spend a lot of time visiting with companies and figuring out what
ideas they represent and what lessons we can learn from them. I usually
leave these visits underwhelmed. There are plenty of companies with a
hot product, a hip style, or a fast-rising stock price that are,
essentially, one-trick ponies—they deliver great short-term results,
but they don’t stand for anything big or important for the long-term.
original in its strategy, so determined in its execution, and so
transparent in its thinking, that it makes my head spin. Zappos is one of those companies. Two weeks ago, I paid a visit to Zappos headquarters in Henderson, Nevada, just outside Las Vegas, and spent time with CEO Tony Hsieh
and his colleagues. I could write a whole series of posts (and just
might) about what I learned from this incredible operation. But I want
to focus this post on one small practice that offers big lessons for
leaders who are serious about changing the game in their field—and
filling their organization with people who are just as committed as
Bill Taylor has been around - his resume includes:
agenda-setting thinker, writer, and entrepreneur. His new book, Mavericks at Work, has been a New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller. As cofounder of Fast Company,
he launched a magazine that earned a passionate following among
executives and entrepreneurs. He is an adjunct professor at Babson
College and a former associate editor of Harvard Business Review.
Why Zappos Pays New Employees to Quit—And You Should Too - Harvard Business Online's Bill Taylor
So the value proposition is a winner. But it’s the emotional connection that seals the deal. This company is fanatical about great service—not just satisfying customers, but amazing them. The company promises free, four-day delivery. That’s pretty good. But most of the time it delivers next-day service, a surprise that leaves a lasting impression on customers: “You said four days, but I got them the next morning.”
Zappos has also mastered the art of telephone service—a black hole for most Internet retailers. Zappos publishes its 1-800 number on every single page of the site—and its smart and entertaining call-center employees are free to do whatever it takes to make you happy. There are no scripts, no time limits on calls, no robotic behavior, and plenty of legendary stories about Zappos and its customers.