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Tony Hsieh and Zappos

After writing about Zappos yesterday, I remembered a few interesting things that I didn’t mention in the post about the company. I had heard about the wonderful customer service and company culture about 3 years ago. So I decided to do a little experiment. I called the customer service line to talk with whoever answered, to find out what it was like to work at Zappos.

Tony Hsieh, Co-founder of Zappos

I had heard about what a great company Zappos was, but I was a bit surprised when I actually talked to the customer service representative. Before I tell you what happened when I called Zappos, let’s think back about what a “normal” customer service call is like.

The first thing that happens when I call most customer service lines is I get to wait on hold for a long time. To add insult and really piss people off, they usually play the same loud annoying advertising over and over. After listening to the same stupid advertising about 100 times, I finally get to talk to someone. Usually they are annoyed and I get the distinct feeling that they want to do as little as possible to help me. Have you had this experience?

Sometimes they fix the problem and sometimes they don’t. Even if they do, I still feel robbed because I have wasted 30 mintues and listened to their stupid advertising enough to get throughly annoyed. Even when they don’t fix the problem, they always seem to delight in saying, “Is there anything else that I can help you with?” I always want to respond, “Why would I ask you to help with anything else? You already didn’t fix the first thing I called about.”

Anyway, that’s what usually happens. When I called the Zappos customer service line I said, “Hey, I heard that Zappos is a great place to work. I am not calling because I ordered something, but I just wanted to find out if it is true.” I figured the person would just say yes and get rid of my call as quickly as possible. But I was in for a surprise.

The customer service girl was really friendly. Not only did she tell me why she liked working at Zappos, she started asking me questions! She acted like we were friends and we haven’t spoken for a while. I was shocked. She asked me where I live and what kind of work I do. She was genuinely happy just to talk to me and find about my life. She didn’t care that I hadn’t ordered anything and was curious about the company. How awesome is that?

I mentioned that it sure seemed like Zappos was a great place to work, and maybe I could work there. She responded by giving me the address of the jobs page. She encouraged me to apply for a job as a programmer. I thought it was impressive that she was so helpful. I could see why Zappos has grown into such a successful company.

I hope that Zappos continues to grow and starts providing all the services that we consume: cell phone, internet, and computers. If I could have that wonderful interaction every time I called customer service buying anything would be a much better experience.

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