BiF-4 Insights – Tony Hsieh – Zappos.com
We have a Kentucky warehouse with 4 million pairs of shoes.
Importance of striking an emotional connection with customers.
Tony started LinkExchange before selling it to Microsoft:
- Sold it because it went from five people to 100 people
- Hired people without the thought of cultural fit
- After the sale, formed an investment fund and invested in 20 companies including Zappos.com
Now we have 9 million customers and a focus on having the best customer service:
- We sell clothing, handbags, and electronics now
- We also look at Virgin for inspiration
- We give a lot of customers free upgrades to overnight shipping
- Our number one growth driver is repeat sales and word-of-mouth (WOM)
- We want to talk to our customers (we put an 800# on all of our web pages)
- We run our warehouse 24/7 to maximize speed even though it is not the most cost effective way to operate it
- We are focused on building lifelong relationships, not on maximizing transactions
Our number one priority is not customer service, it’s company culture:
- No call scripts, we hire well and trust our employees to serve the customers
- Get the culture right to better control brand and customer service rather than planning every process
- Treat customers like people (funeral and flowers story)
- We do two different sets of interviews
- Hiring manager and team
- HR team does culture fit interview
- Have to pass both interviews
- We will also fire people if they are harming the culture
- Everybody goes through the same four weeks of training, then weeks on the phone and one week in the warehouse in Kentucky
- We have even fired people during training
Story about customer purchasing a wallet, trying it, and returning it:
- The person left $150 in the wallet when they returned it
- The person had been blaming their kids for the $150 disappearing
- Warehouse worker sent letter to customer about the $150
- Woman was very grateful and stopped thinking her kids took it
Core Values should be things you are willing to commit to, including your hire/fire decisions.
For more information on the talk, go here.
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