In the last few years, Zappos has become as famous for its stellar customer service as for the shoes, apparel and accessories it sells. And on a recent visit to the Zappos headquarters, blogger Chris Moody was impressed by the lessons the company continues to teach. For instance:

An extraordinary hiring program takes time and money, but it's a good investment. "We discussed one example of a candidate that had 16—yes SIXTEEN—interviews before joining the Zappos team," he writes. "Once you join the team, the folks in your department must all approve of you. In other words, you fit their culture." The company helps employees maintain professional momentum with progression plans, ongoing coaching and the opportunity to shape their jobs to fit their passions.

Leading by example doesn't mean much unless employees can actually see the example. Zappos founder Tony Hsieh occupies a cubicle just like everyone else. And when the holidays bring millions of orders, he fields phone calls alongside his entire team.

Metrics don't matter if they don't help you reach your goals. Zappos wants repeat customers who tell their friends about the company. Accordingly, it measures customer service representatives on net promoter scores (NPS) and personal service levels (PSL). "We discussed several 7+ hour phone calls with some resulting in no sales," notes Moody. "How would you react if one of your direct reports was on the phone for 7 hours and didn't make a sale?"

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