Last Monday we had a chance to visit new Zappos headquarters in the very center of Las Vegas. The legendary online store has just recently moved into an ex-city hall building at 400 Stewart Avenue. And although Zappos employees did not yet quite have the time to settle down in the building, they decided still not to cease their beautiful tradition of arranging special tours around their headquarters. You can find out more about them here – http://www.zapposinsights.com/tours
We felt that the famous Zappos culture principles are more than just words even before we started the tour. One of the employees called us beforehand to inquire if we are new in Vegas and if we would like to be picked up from the hotel to be taken directly to the campus. So on Monday morning we had a fancy branded Zappos car waiting for us near the hotel to take us to the headquarters.
The building used to belong to governmental agencies, so Zappos had to color it and make it more suitable to their spirit and culture.
After a short presentation of the company history we teamed up with our charismatic guide, everybody called him the Handsome Ray, and started our tour. So here are some most interesting and stunning facts that we have found out about Zappos:
1) No matter to which position you get hired at Zappos during your training and probation period you have to work for at least 6 months as a support team member, so that you fully understand the way Zappos builds relationship with their customers. And still often during the high season, like before Christmas, you can actually hear Tony Hsieh (founder and CEO) taking the phone calls with the customer satisfaction team. The same applies to the rest of employees, in case of necessity, they can all leave their tasks to become support team members for a while.
2) Being a huge advocate for customer service Zappos care about every single piece in their corporate culture. Unlike many other large enterprise companies Zappos keep their employees united. They lock all the extra entrance doors except the main one, they have only one cafeteria, so that the people stay united, know each other better and cooperate with each other better.
3) Every single day CEO of Zappos Tony Hsieh receives tons of emails. He personally looks them through and filters them. And after that most of the emails will be responded by F.A.C.E team – the team that is in charge of all the emails sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are more than 2000 a day, but still Tony also responds to the most interested ones. FACE team does not respond saying they are Tony, they put it clearly that they reply on his behalf.
4) Zappos customer service works 24/7. The only metrics they use to measure the effectiveness of their work is customer engagement and satisfaction. So they don’t track count of the accepted phone calls but instead track the value delivered by operator based on customer feedback. You can actually call Zappos support team and ask what would be the best place to order pizza and they would help you out! But if you decide to try it, don’t tell anybody that we told you about that! 😉
5) Such a loyal policy to customers and team, as well as their unique culture allowed Zappos to grow and flourish. In 2012 Zappos celebrated their biggest daily budget sales – more than 20M in a single day! And there is also a tradition at Zappos every time they hit record revenue, they release special T- shirts for all the members of the team, by now they have the whole hall with such T-shirts. This year Zappos expect to hit the 22 million mark.
6) Zappos have their legendary “Culture book” where they have all their main business principles listed and explained. But few people know that they actually publish a new extended version of it every year. Every single person related to Zappos – employee, partner etc. can write down some comments to it. They print many copies of this book and distribute among guests, employees and other businesses.
7) There is special Zappos currency circulating at Zappos campus – Zollars. They are distributed by managers to praise their team members and later on one can buy some fancy little Zappos-branded stuff.
8) After your tour around Zappos is over you leave part of your heart at this wonderful place. Zappos team call it Lucille – the big paper ball that is made of the name badges of people that did a Zappos tour. And our team members have also left their mark there 🙂
Please share your thoughts and opinions of Zappos philosophy in the comments and if you have any particular culture and principles in your company we would also love to hear that!