Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos – Part 3 of 3

zappos_logo This is the final part of the interview with Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. In this part of the interview, we talk about what it’s like to work at Zappos, how the company finds its employees, what they’re doing to improve their customer service, and why the company decided to differentiate itself with customer service.

Question: What is it like to work at Zappos?
Answer: When we have visitors come to visit us, they comment on how it is a little like they’ve stepped into twilight zone because everywhere they walk, everyone is happy and friendly and we really try to build a team and family atmosphere. Family is a big word around here. Everyone just enjoys working with each other and ultimately if that is where you’re going to spending most of your time, it’s pretty important that you look forward to coming to the office.

Question: How do you find your employees?
Answer: It varies by department. We do place ads on Craigslist and other job sites. We also place ads in the newspaper. Depending on the department, we might have job fairs (we hold them once every three weeks or so). For our call center job fair, for example, 200 people might show up. We go through a presentation of the company and we also kind of do speed interviewing, which is kind of like speed dating but with interviewing. Out of that 200 people, we usually hire about 30 people or so.

Question: How are you working to improve customer service?
Answer: It is not really one big push or initiative, but a bunch of ongoing small, improvements. We try to encourage everyone to share their ideas and suggestions for improving the customer experience and we try to implement as many as possible. It is a bunch of really small, but ongoing improvements that happen on a daily basis.

Question: Why did you choose a customer service model?
Answer: There are some companies compete on price. Unless you’re Wal-Mart, that is a pretty hard advantage to maintain. We really want customers to buy from us because of the service. It also feels better knowing that everyone in the company is aligned and believes in great customer service, whether it is the customers or the employees or the vendors that we work with, it just feels good to have anyone that actually comes in contact with our company to be really passionate about Zappos and our company and our brand. It is easier to be passionate about great service or a great customer experience than it is to be passionate about low prices.

Question: Is your background customer service related at all?
Answer: Not really. I just notice all the times I get annoyed by bad customer service. That seems to be more the norm today than good or even average service. Part of what’s driving me in terms of Zappos is trying to get rid of all of those things that are annoying to most people.

Question: Do you have anything else you’d like to add?
Answer: It sounds like we pretty much covered it. I can talk all day long about our company culture, but you get a much better idea of what I’m talking about when you visit our offices.

One Response to “Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos – Part 3 of 3”

  1. Scott Newton said:

    Apr 09, 08 at 4:30 am

    I recently got to meet Tony and he sums customer service up rather well and in a simple manner. We have recently instituted many changes at our company after listening to Tony. One example is that even when the customer is wrong it is often cheaper, easier, and makes the company keep its positive public image by just attempting to meet the customers demands. The amount of time and energy lost is normally more expensive than the solution.