In his book, The Zappos Experience: 5 Principles to Inspire, Engage, and WOW, Joseph A. Michelli writes, “For all the leadership hype about service being a priority across the business landscape, Sherri Mersdorf, senior database marketing analyst at Cvent, notes, “The quality of customer service has been on a serious decline for years. Research from TARP Worldwide and the American Customer Satisfaction Index both agree. “By contrast, writes Michelli, “at Zappos where the tag line is “powered by service” the strength of service behaviors is resulting in customer engagement scores that continue to rise and customer loyalty that has fueled the company’s steep sales escalation.”
“Zappos unique value proposition is more than mere words, it’s founded on behaviors that builds “feelings” of “trust” for all stakeholders (vendors, employees and customers)”, writes Michelli. In the book, Michelli interviews Alicia (AJ) Jackson, a Customer Loyalty Team (CLT) member she states, “Our leaders put such a great level of trust in us to do the right thing without hemming us through scripts or unnecessary rules. They also encourage us to grow and have fun with our peers. Because of the way we are treated, Zappos gets the best from us, and so do our customers. Obviously, some people will violate trust, and you can manage that when it happens, but that doesn’t justify distrusting. You get so much in return when trust is extended – you get “wow”.
In his book, Michelli identifies some steps that Zappos takes to create a culture of “WOW” and deliver service experiences that continue to create raving fans for the brand. They are outlined as follows:
1. Leaders understand the importance of “feelings” in determining behaviors.
2. Leaders and staff members recognize that “to be trusted, one must trust.”
3. Everyone demonstrates since interest in the well-being of one another.
4. Love and trust is demonstrated on an everyday basis within the culture.
5. Leaders and staff members demonstrate a commitment to growth and development for the sake of the company, customers and their satisfaction.
6. Leaders are committed to delivering “WOW” through service.
7. Building a vibrant culture is a priority to Zappos success.
8. Leaders and staff members live in accordance with their values which translates service directly into loyal return business.
“By getting the culture right”, writes Michelli " the leaders and staff members can treat the customer right.” “If we, says former COO and CEO Alfred Lin, “do the right thing for the customers and improve the customer experience, everything else follows.” From a business leadership perspective, I can attest to the importance of creating a culture that consistently produce “WOW” service and how it builds loyalty among staff members and customers. While I worked in the role as General Manager for Marriott’s Fairfield Inn division and Burger King and Pizza Hut restaurants, I witnessed first-hand how creating WOW service improves the work culture, resulting in the development of peak performing teams. Customers recognized the difference as well and they supported each business team with repeat business. At the Fairfield Inn, our customers voted our hotel as the #1 hotel out of 300, for best service, value, cleanliness and maintenance and upkeep of the building. In each business, a commitment to service excellence enabled the businesses to grow revenues and profit margins.
In the workshop, “Win from Within”, that my company facilitates, I engage the hearts and minds of team members with an interactive learning experience that empowers them to develop performance benchmarks and a road map that guides their decisions and behaviors towards creating a culture that produces “WOW” service to internal and external customers. For further information on how we can become partners in elevating the service in your organization, contact me.
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