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Zappos: measuring success through WOW metrics, one customer at a time.


(image via @Zappos_Service)

For anyone thinking about taking the plunge into starting up their own business, and indeed, for all of those who are now in the early stages of developing your brands’ company culture, Zappos is the number one company to inspire you.

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, is the company culture king, driving billions of pounds worth of profits annually, through delivering happiness to customers and employees.

For those who haven’t heard of Tony or Zappos, go buy his book now, do it. He documents his journey from being a seven year old kidpreneur (building his first business in worms) to selling over $1.2 million dollars worth of shares to Amazon, in just a few years.

Here’s Tony himself with a brief background on how Zappos first started… all from a slice of pizza.

In the book, Hsieh reinforces the secret to making his first billion in profits being down to Zappos’ strong company culture, and even better customer service.


(image via forbes)

Zappos is renowned for it’s high rankings in the Fortune 100 best companies to work for and a lot is owed to their strong core values. Take a look…

1)   Deliver ‘WOW’ through service

Tony put an emphasis on delivering customer service that would secure a lifetime of purchases not just one.

As a company core value, ‘anything worth doing is worth doing with WOW.’

Zappos went beyond what customers expected and aimed to have emotional impact on receivers, whether this was through surprise upgrading orders to next day delivery free of charge, or upgrading customers to VIP members after a phone call. 

2)   Create FUN and be a little weird

Zappos steered away from becoming a conventionally big company – corporate and boring. They focused on collaboration as opposed to corporation, putting more fun into the 9 to 5. 

Check out how fun their Las Vegas office is  (an on site popcorn machine?! wow)

It’s this core value that develops a unique and memorable brand personality for Zappos as well as a happy environment to work for all employees, driving productivity.

3)   Pursue Growth and Learning

Zappos believe that every employee has more potential than they realise. Zappos’ goal is to unlock potential within employees through a joint effort of challenging oneself, pursuing growth personally and professionally whilst forever learning.

Zappos offer company classes in financial learning,  wellbeing sessions as well as employee assistance programs to develop the right work/life balance.

4)   Build Open and Honest Relationships through communication

The Zappos family believe it’s about building trust with a customer that secures their custom for a lifetime not just one trip. Similarly being open and honest with fellow employees develops strong relationships and job satisfaction.

5)   Do More with Less

Emphasis is made on operational excellence alongside casual relationships. The Zappos Family strive for improvement in everything they do and work hard at staying ahead of competition through continuous innovation, incremental improvements to operations and ensuring mistakes are seen as learning curves.

A few other benefits offered to all employees:

  • Cab vouchers
  • Massage chairs
  • Nap rooms
  • On site health screenings, mediacal/life insurance
  • Monthly team outings to ‘build a positive team and family spirit’
  • Employee discount
  • Fitness Centre available 24/7
  • (Best of all) Free food in all company canteens

I recently read a brilliant article outlining Tony Hsieh’s way of Managing which highlights Hsieh’s science behind sculpting such a happy culture in his business.

So, aside from all this ‘seven day weekend’ culture, how did Zappos become so successful? 

Hsieh and the Zappos family continue to put customer service at the core of everything they do. 

They believe that the speed at which a customer receives an online purchase determines whether that customer thinks about shopping online with them again. Since the beginning they’ve put care into every purchase to ensure on-time delivery, if not earlier than expected.

Alongside this, if customers experience any problems with their purchase (these things happen!) help is at hand via the Zappos call center – 365 days a year. Each and every customer service consultant has a 7 week course in happiness as part of their training and the call center operates a ‘no-script’ zone.

Check out some insane acts of happiness from the customer service team at Zappos:

  • In 2011, Zappos sent a customer flowers after an engaging phone call with a member of the team.
  • A member of the Zappos team physically went to make a purchase in a rival shoe store for a specific pair of shoes for a customer, when Zappos were out of stock.
  • Zappos gave a free pair of shoes – that’s right free – after a best man’s shoes didn’t arrive in time for his wedding when he ordered from UPS. Zappos saved the day!

It’s this level of thought, consistency in lightning service, personalisation in every order they put out and 100% customer satisfaction guaranteed that’s built trust with customers which keeps Zappos in profit.

So when you’re thinking about how to develop consistency in profits, aside from just a peak in sales at the start of your business, learn from Tony Hsieh. Developing a trusting relationship with customers and employees secures them for a lifetime not just a day.

Learn how you can build a happy, successful business from your passion. Download our FREE e-book & startup toolkit ››

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