If you’re going to learn, learn from the best!
Zappos went from a struggling start-up in 2000 to being acquired by Amazon for $1.2 billion in 2009. And the driver to their success? An unmatched dedication to customer service fueled by a relentless focus on a positive corporate culture.
Hsieh is a genius. It works for Disney, it works for Ritz-Carlton and it will work for you! Focus on the culture. Your competition can copy products and beat your price. They can build more branches or out-tech you. But if your culture rocks, they cannot take that.
We need more retail strategy in banking and the bank or credit union in your market that differentiates on culture will win the market share. Here’s how the best in the biz has done it:
ZAPPOS FAMILY CORE VALUES
1. Deliver WOW through service: To WOW, you must differentiate yourself, which means doing something a little unconventional and innovative. You must do something that’s above and beyond what’s expected. And whatever you do must have an emotional impact on the receiver.
2. Embrace and drive change: If you are not prepared to deal with constant change, then you probably are not a good fit for the company.
3. Create fun and a little weirdness: We don’t want to become one of those big companies that feels corporate and boring. We want to be able to laugh at ourselves. We look for both fun and humor in our daily work.
4. Be adventurous, creative and open-minded: Over time, we want everyone to develop his/her gut about business decisions. We want people to develop and improve their decision-making skills. We encourage people to make mistakes as long as they learn from them.
5. Pursue growth and learning: We believe that inside every employee is more potential than even the employee himself/herself realizes. Our goal is to help employees unlock that potential.
6. Build open and honest relationships with communication: Strong, positive relationships that are open and honest are a big part of what differentiates Zappos from most other companies. Strong relationships allow us to accomplish much more than we would be able to otherwise.
7. Build a positive team and family spirit: The best leaders are those who lead by example and are both team followers as well as team leaders. We believe that, in general, the best ideas and decisions are made from the bottom up.
8. Do more with less: While we may be casual in our interactions with each other, we are focused and serious about the operations of our business. We believe in working hard and putting in the extra effort to get things done.
9. Be passionate and determined: We value passion, determination, perseverance, and the sense of urgency.
10. Be humble: We believe that no matter what happens we should always be respectful of everyone.
Think of the power and freedom of these values. Every single employee understands what is expected of them, every day – in customer and internal interactions. In recruiting and hiring, candidates and employers know if Zappos is the right fit. If you want to wear a suit and tie, fill out TPS reports all day and disappear into the woodwork to pick up a weekly check … Zappos is not for you.
So it’s easy, right? Just add these 10 values to your employee manual and voilà, your world will change overnight.
No so much. What makes the Zappos brand and culture so powerful is that you CAN NOT simply slap anyone’s logo on it and make it work. Are you prepared to shave the heads of your employees? Are you ready to have a record-long 10 hour service phone call to get it right for the customer? Will you hire a corporate life coach? Will your culture support a daily photo game where staff match employee photos to names so they get to better know each other? Zappos did! The Family Core Values are not just words on paper, but demonstrated every single day.
When you sit down to define who you are, make sure that it is unique to you. Something that defines who you are and aspirationaly what you want to be. And above all, it needs to be centered around the people who walk into your doors, click your website and call you every day.
Folks, this stuff works!
Zappos list of awards:
- J.D. Powers Customer Service Champion, 2011
- WGSN Global Fashion Awards – Outstanding Customer Service, 2010
- CMG Vision Award, 2010
- Innovation All-Star, Fast Company, 2010
- NRF Innovator of the Year, 2009 & 2010