As the CEO of Zappos.com, Tony Hsieh has achieved phenomenal company growth through revolutionary approaches to marketing, human resources, and customer service. Under his leadership, in 2009, Amazon acquired Zappos with shares valued at $1.2 billion.
Hsieh believes in the science of happiness as a way to run a business. With the right vision and core values he learned from his personal and business experiences, he shares insights to move away from conventional wisdom and encourages entrepreneurs to create their own paths to passion and profits in business and in life.
Tony Hsieh originally got involved with Zappos.com as an advisor and investor in 1999, about 2 months after the company was founded. Over time, Hsieh ended up spending more and more time with the company because it was both the most
fun and the most promising out of all the companies that he was involved with.
Hsieh eventually joined Zappos.com full time in 2000. Under his leadership, Zappos.com has grown gross merchandise sales from $1.6M in 2000
to $840M in 2007 by focusing relentlessly on customer service.
Hsieh focuses on continuing to grow the business at a rapid pace while maintaining the culture and feel of a small company. Prior to joining Zappos.com, Hsieh co-founded Venture Frogs with Alfred Lin. Venture Frogs is an incubator and investment firm that invested in Internet startups, including Ask Jeeves, Tellme Networks, and of course, Zappos.com. Prior to Venture Frogs, Hsieh co-founded LinkExchange, an advertising network that was successfully sold to Microsoft for $265M in 1998.
Industry that provides services rather than goods. Economists divide the products of all economic activity into two broad categories, goods and services. Industries that produce goods (tangible objects) include agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and construction. Service industries include everything else: banking, communications, wholesale and retail trade, all professional services such as engineering and medicine, all consumer services, and all government services. The proportion of the world economy devoted to services rose rapidly in the 20th century. In the U.S. alone, the service sector accounted for more than half the gross domestic product in 1929, two-thirds in 1978, and more than three-quarters in 1993. Worldwide, the service sector accounted for more than three-fifths of global gross domestic product by the early 21st century. As increases in automation facilitate productivity, a smaller workforce is able to produce more goods, and the service functions of distribution, management, finance, and sales become relatively more important.
This should be required viewing for EVERY employer !!
I don't know about elsewhere in the Developed World, but here in Australia it is very VERY rare to find a company that "embraces weirdness" the way Zappos do.
In fact, it is almost impossible to find a company that actually understands what "customer service" is really all about.
It's not about blind adherence to company policy, or the "customer service script" (as happens with almost every outsourced call centre in Mumbai), nor is it about bending over and taking it from the customer.
It's about establishing a rapore with the customer, listening to their concern, problem or complaint, and then putting yourself in their shoes. "If I was calling with this problem, how would *I* expect it to be handled and what would *I* be happy with ?". And then try to resolve the problem to the benefit of both parties.
Sometimes the company has to take one for the team and might loose money by doing it. Big deal - good will and customer loyalty is almost priceless.
And it's about embracing more that wierdness, it's about embracing mistakes, and LEARNING by and from them. How many people were fired over the Zappos pricing stuff-up a few months ago on their website, a mistake that cost the company a reported $1.6M ? NOBODY !
They found out what happened, took it on the chin and made sure that the people concerned learned from that mistake, and grew from it. And it cost them a bucket of money to do that - in Australia the person(s) responsible would have been marched out the door immediately and probably sued.
You can't buy that sort of good will or employee loyalty - and I bet they have recovered that $1.6M already.
Yeah, I'd love to work for Zappos in their IT department or Customer Service - when they open up here in Australia !