I just sat in one of the most inspiring presentations I have been part of in many years. It was given by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. (BTW, the company was acquired in a stock swap by Amazon for over $900 mm. It appears Zappos will be run as a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon.)
If you aren’t aware, one of Zappos big claims to fame is its phenomenal customer service. A huge part of the culture is empowering the customer service reps to make decisions live on a call with customers without management approval. Another claim to fame is its somewhat zany atmosphere in the work environment itself. The lobby is full of games, work areas have basketball hoops. But guess what, stuff gets done! From zero revenue in 1999 to over $1 billion last year.
As part of the presentation, we were offered a free book and access to Tony’s power point presentation. He asked us to send an email to his personal email account. Within hours I received a response with “Thank YOU” in the subject line.
Here are a couple of excerpts from that email that embody the culture Tony and his team have built:
“Thank you for contacting Tony with your request! He reads every email he receives and asked me to respond on his behalf so you could receive a timely response. Tony receives over 2,000 emails each day, and has handpicked a small team to help him address some of them. He would have responded directly, but he doesn’t have the hands necessary to type up 2,000 responses at the same time. We are currently working with X-men’s own Professor Xavier on replacing Tony’s body with one with many arms that can extend at will, so look for more Tony responses in the near future!….
“We’d be happy to send you a Zappos.com Culture Book! One has been
loaded in to our giant Zappos.com mailing cannon and been blasted off to you! Please expect your slightly burnt Zappos.com Culture Book in the small crater where your mail box used to be.”
How easy would it be to recruit for an organization like this? There was so much more he shared, and space does not permit. Recruiting firm owners, I will ask you a question Tony asked us early in the presentation. Do you want to build a long term sustainable brand? If so, this requires patience to lay a strong foundation.
For Zappos story, I invite you to read the article about them that appeared in the Inc. May 2009 issue HERE. Share this with your clients. Share your thoughts below…. don’t be shy! Show me you’re alive! 🙂