Posted: August 13th, 2013






1.         What is it that Zappos considers their core product? What do they want the Zappos “brand” to be about?

Zappos considers their core product to be Shoes. They want to build the Zappos brand to be mainly about the best customer service and customer experience.

2.         How do they prefer to spend their marketing and advertising dollars?

They prefer to spend the money that they would have spent on paid advertising and marketing by investing in customer service and customer experience and use customers to market the brand.

3.         What percentage of business is from repeat customers on a typical day?

The percentage of business or orders that is received from repeat customers on a typical day is 75 percent.

4.         What is the driver of their amazing growth?

The driver of Zappos amazing growth is through their marketing strategy, Word of Mouth and Repeat Customers.

5.         What are the key elements of Zappos’ customer service? How do they “WOW” their customers?

The key elements of Zappos’ customer service are the main benefits that are realized by customers. Zappos maintain their customers by offering a return policy that runs for 365 days, a call center that runs for 24 hours with no scripts or call times and free shipping that is both ways.

6.         How do they see the relationship of customer service to company culture?

Zappos views the relationship between customer service and company culture as interdependent of each other. If the company culture is right, then delivering customer service and other valid processes such as building a long time enduring brand fall into place.

7.         How do they go about hiring and training? What did you find interesting about their process?

The hiring process involves two sets of interviews. The first set involves the hiring manger and his team interviewing the applicant on relevant specifics such as experience and technical building. The second set is done by the Human Resource department based on cultural fit. The training process involves instructing new employees on customer service and company culture regardless of positions and different warehouse functions. The process is interesting because it is heavily embedded on the notion of company culture.

8.         What do they do to ensure that their new hires really want to be at Zappos? Why do they do this? What are the benefits of this approach?

The hiring team at Zappos at Zappos by offers the new hires US$ 2000-4000 dollars to quit after training in order to determine those that really want to work at the company. They do this because they do not want employees that are only there for the pay, but also those that believe in the company’s long-term vision. The benefit of this approach is that it builds employee loyalty towards the firm’s vision.

9.         How is Twitter used within Zappos? How does this benefit the culture at Zappos?

Twitter is used within Zappos to allow employees to socialize or communicate outside the organization. This benefits the Zappos culture since it allows employees to know one another and enable them to work together and thus humanizes the firm.

10.       What are the 3Cs that Zappos want to own? How do these relate to different groups of customers?

The 3Cs that Zappos wants to own are Clothing, Customer service and Company Culture. These Cs appeal to different customers by enabling them to know about the clothing and the different products they offer, delivering the best customer service and the company culture.

11.       What is meant by “Happiness in a Box?” Whose happiness is Zappos concerned about?

Happiness in a Box means ensuring that customers receive satisfaction and happiness from their products and service and those employees are comfortable since the firm’s core values match their own values. Zappos is concerned about the happiness of both customers and employees.

12.       What are some books that Tony Hseih recommends?

Some of the books that Tony Hseih recommends include Good To Great and Tribal Leadership.

13.       According to those books, what is an important ingredient of great companies?

One of the important ingredients of great companies according to the books is a Strong Culture.

14.       What is meant by the Zappos culture in terms of ten committable core values (and what does it mean that they are “committable”)? How do they use these core values to interview, promote, etc?

The Zappos culture is defined by the ten values that define the firm’s brand, culture and business strategies. The values are represented as being “committable” since they allow the firm to hire or relieve employees based on whether they are living up to the values irrespective of job performance. The firm uses the values in its hiring process. For instance, the firm uses the fourth core value, Be Adventurous, Creative and Open Minded, to interview prospective hires on a scale based on how lucky they deem themselves.

15.       What is the importance of a company having a “higher vision”?

Having a higher vision is important for a firm since it allows the firm to generate higher profits irrespective of the company’s vision.

16.       What is the fourth “C” that was just recently added to the Zappos mission?

The fourth “C” added to Zappos mission is Community.

17.       What did you find most interesting about Tony Hseih’s talk?

What was generally interesting regarding Hseih’s talk was the fact that Hseih emphasized on customer service and culture as the main source of growth for Zappos. Most firms do not pay attention on employees or customers’ needs, however, Hseih makes it clear that efficient customer service and company culture are innate factors that make companies great.

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