Having one thing your company aims to be the best at is helpful because it allows you to focus and specialize, and thus become really great at something rather than being merely adequate or good at several things.
Tony and the Zappos team decided that customer satisfaction and creating a WOW experience for their customers was the one thing they wanted to become great at. They wanted to focus on extraordinary customer service, and on delivering happiness to people through great service.
Since a company’s culture and its customer service are closely tied together, delivering great customer service and making your customers happy is only possible if you start by treating your employees well and making them happy. Happy employees will be passionate about their jobs and make customers happy through great service.
Tony Hsieh’s most important piece of advice is to never outsource the one thing you want your company to be best at. From his experience with his former company, eLogistics, he learned that if there’s something you want your business to be a leader in, it must extend throughout the company. It can’t be up to just one department.
A radical way that Zappos stuck to their commitment to extraordinary customer service was by moving headquarters to Las Vegas, where they wanted to build their customer support call center. It was their way of making customer support their utmost priority, as an entire team.
Attempting to create buzz around your brand is counterproductive when you could just be putting your effort into doing what you do best. Instead of stressing over how to get media attention, focus on delivering a great customer experience and service. The rest will follow, and your buzz will self generate.
The goal of your customer service should be to create positive emotional associations with your brand. Every interaction with your customers is an opportunity to further your brand. Great customer service builds your brand and drives word of mouth advertising. Let loyal customers do your marketing for you.
When you’re doing something that naturally creates interesting stories, people will want to get in on the action and talk about it. Word of mouth is a powerful thing. Press will follow.
Zappos has developed a following thanks to great customer service interactions over the phone, in particular. Creating a great impression over the phone will not only result in word of mouth advertising from the customer, but will also increase the lifetime value of the customer.
Zappos uses the money they would have spent on traditional advertising to pour back into their customer experience instead. That means customer perks like free shipping on every order, a 365-day return policy, unexpected next day shipping for customers, and authentic interactions on the phone when customers call for assistance. Because Zappos goes above and beyond to wow their customers in these ways, buzz has naturally generated around their brand, and they have received a great deal of media attention for it.
Having a vision of a higher purpose means being about something bigger than whatever you are selling. It means having a goal that goes beyond making profits and growing a company.
Even though Zappos is a shoe business by technicality, that’s not the real thing they’re selling. There’s a higher purpose–namely, making people happy. By delivering great customer service. WOWing people by going above and beyond their expectations. Whether this means surprising a customer by upgrading their shipping or offering free return shipping, Zappos always has the longer term goal in mind which is about more than bringing in revenue.
Having such long term goals, in life, and in business, means asking yourself why you are doing something. And knowing you do what you do for a higher purpose will make you happier.
This is where it all comes together. For Tony Hsieh the whole point of building a company based on customer satisfaction, of creating a culture he and his employees believe in–is happiness, both for employees and customers.
Company culture and customer service are the keys to a successful business. Ultimately, happiness is what everyone is looking for in life, and a company can be successful by finding ways to make its employees, customers, and partners happy. This is achieved through extraordinary customer service and a company culture that is unique, one that employees believe in.
Check out my related post: Do you have The Charge? – Part 1