Having a strong company culture is great, but the best culture in the world doesn't matter if you do not take care of your customers.
Last year during the holidays, I was responding to customer service emails, and Tony (Zappos.com CEO) was taking calls at the desk next to me. Being the twitter lover that Tony is, he tweeted that he would be on the phones that afternoon, and if you called in you might get him on the line. As I was typing away Tony’s phone rang and he answered, “Thank you for calling Zappos.com, my name is Tony, how can I help you?” The next thing I heard was Tony letting out a little giggle and saying “yeah it’s me”. Tony goes to turn up the volume on the phone and accidentally hits the release button hanging up on the lady that called in. Tony turns to me, and says “uh, I just hung up on this lady.” I laughed and said, “Well call her back, dude.” Tony calls her back and says “Hey, it’s me, Tony, sorry I just hung up on you….” They both had a good laugh and Tony proceeded helping her with whatever she needed help with. But not only will I never forget that day, but that customer will never forget the day that the CEO of Zappos.com hung up on her, and called back apologizing .
I talk to a lot of people in and out of the office about company culture, and the cause and effect of creating happiness in the workplace. I also have many conversations about customer service, and how creating story worthy experiences is how to get customers to not like, but love your company. It dawned on me the other day that I seldom have conversations on how it takes both culture and exceptional service to create something truly special.
Here at the Zappos Family we could have the best company culture in the world, but if our customer service sucked, nobody would care about our culture. On the flip side, if we had amazing customer service without the culture, the employees would not truly believe in the service they were providing.
When you are able to combine both culture and service that is when you have something really special. The Zappos Family team members understand this concept because no matter what internal company they work for, everyone considers themselves a customer service representative. A method that we use to keep that thought fresh in our minds is the Holiday Helper program. In the month of December every single employee is required to take customer service phone calls. This is also true of our executive team. Tony our CEO, Chris our CFO, and Fred our No Title, all take customer service phone calls. Not only does it keep the customer service alive in all of us, but it is a way for us to build a positive team and family spirit. This is just one example of how our service and culture complement each other.
For me as a team member, knowing that my CEO, who is in the media talking about our exceptional customer service, is one of the people that make it happen is huge.
Having a strong company culture that is focused on providing the best service in the world is a combination that is capable of anything.