If I play my cards right, I might be touring one of the coolest customer service companies out there next month. Zappos.com’s customer service is world-reknowned for being responsive, friendly, and well, just plain awesome. If you’ve ever ordered from them, you know what I’m talking about.
Here’s my favorite part:
There’s certainly much for students of management theory to try on at Zappos. For example, pay for call-center operators starts at a modest $11 an hour, and there are no bonuses or 401(k) matching contributions because Hsieh believes the most productive employees work for the psychic gratification in helping others. Customer service reps are given plenty of freedom. They may chat for hours with customers, write thank-you notes, send flowers, and even direct shoppers to rival Web sites if an item is out of stock. In a tough year for retail, sales are up by double digits.
Zappos rep Michelle Robles recently showed a reporter how the approach works. She offers coupons and free shipping to one unhappy customer while grabbing a returned pair of shearling boots for another. Robles knows her top priority is to establish an emotional connection. More than 95% of Zappos’ transactions take place over the Web, so each actual phone call is a special opportunity. “They may only call once in their life, but that is our chance to wow them,” Hsieh says.
As a “student of management theory” (yes, I actually am…) I find this fascinating. Being able to motivate workers (especially without bonuses or 401k matching!) is one of the most difficult skills to acquire, and it sounds like Tony Hsieh has done it, and done it well.
What do you think about Zappos? Would you want to work for them?
I’ll let you know if I’m able to tour the facility.