Have the days of great customer service and company culture gone out the window? Tony Hsieh doesn’t think so. A serial entrepreneur, Hseih at a young age of 23 had already started and sold his first company for 180 million dollars. He could have stayed and made much more but he just fell out of love with the culture that had been created. He dreaded going to work and subsequently walked out with 6 months left on his buyout. Costing him a mere 15 million dollars.
Hsieh then became a Venture Capitalist and was approached with the company Zappos. At the time it was shoes.com or something of that nature. For some reason Hseih fell in love with the company and became heavily invested. The odds were stacked against them as online shoe ordering was unthinkable at the time. Regardless, they kept pushing forward.
They implemented Raving Fans policies such as free shipping on both orders, returns and customer service that often left customers in shock of how great it was. Not only were their customers raving fans but so were their employees, vendors and anyone they dealt with. Their yearly vendor party in Vegas is a highly sought after event to attend. Hsieh even talks about how companies who aren’t their vendors try to sneak in.
In order to increase company culture, Hsieh implemented an employee quiz system. Whenever an employee logged onto their computer, they had to take a quiz on another employee. This was just one way that they increased company culture. Additionally, they don’t track vacation time. Their interview process is strenuous because they only want A players who are willing to do whatever it takes for the customer.
The overall theme really resonated with me and our team. This is the culture we want and what we want for our customers. A company that’s willing to do whatever it takes for the client, no questions asked. In today’s age, customer service is just a nice idea. Zappos made it mandatory and is successful because of it. Despite the opposition to their idea, everyone from the janitor to the CEO wholeheartedly believed that they were doing something great. In order to have Raving Fan clients, you must have Raving Fan employees. Zappos knows this and puts it into practice. I was very impressed with Tony and enjoyed reading a book where my beliefs were so in line with someone else.