Thursday, July 10, 2008

Zappos does it again!

I continue to wonder why Google ranks our blog #1 when you search for direct marketing blogs...We tend to veer off the topic of DM quite a bit. Yet, in order to make any direct marketing project successful, so many other pieces of the puzzle need to be in place.

For example, if, say, you have horrible customer service, then no matter how awesome your direct marketing campaign may be--no matter how many calls you generate--your sale will never happen if the prospect is treated poorly when they call you. Hence today's focus on customer service.

Some months ago, we wrote about the corporate culture at Zappos. In a nutshell, they make doing business fun! They also empower their employees to keep their customers happy. Zappos has taken customer service to a level that most firms can only dream of.

Well, I continue to be amazed and impressed by this online shoe retailer. I found this article from Harvard Business that explores one extremely innovative reason why Zappos is able to maintain and cultivate their culture of excellence.

They are so committed to retaining committed and dedicated employees that they are willing to bet $1,000 on each new hire. From the article:

"After a week or so in this immersive (training) experience, though, it’s time for what Zappos calls “The Offer.” The fast-growing company, which works hard to recruit people to join, says to its newest employees: “If you quit today, we will pay you for the amount of time you’ve worked, plus we will offer you a $1,000 bonus.” Zappos actually bribes its new employees to quit!

Why? Because if you’re willing to take the company up on the offer, you obviously don’t have the sense of commitment they are looking for. It’s hard to describe the level of energy in the Zappos culture—which means, by definition, it’s not for everybody. Zappos wants to learn if there’s a bad fit between what makes the organization tick and what makes individual employees tick—and it’s willing to pay to learn sooner rather than later. (About ten percent of new call-center employees take the money and run.)"

What a novel and smart idea. I'd be willing to bet that the $1,000 is a drop in the bucket if you consider money, sales and time lost if a non-engaged employee is working with your clients. And, remember that we're talking about customer service/call center jobs here. That $1,000 is a lot of money to all of us and a big chunk of change to these employees.

I think the challenge here is to think about new ways that we can change our business. How can we go outside of what others are doing to reach new levels of excellence?


lotto tickets said...
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Ted Grigg said...

Wow! Reverse psychology at it's finest.

Great story.

I wonder what would have happened if I had told my wife after 1 year of marriage:
"Honey, As we agreed before we married, I will now grant the offer of $25,000 if you decide this is not working out."

I know one thing for sure, I would have lost my wife and the $1,000.

Yet we are still married after 30+ years.

Have a great day.


Ted Grigg said...

Or rather, I would have lost the $25,000!

Suzanne Obermire said...

Ted, you crack me up! Thanks for making me smile and for your comment.