Hsieh started Zappos, an online shoe business in 2001. Focusing on delighting customers, Zappos offers fast, free shipping both ways and a simple returns process.
Understanding and delivering on your core business needs to be a priority: it can’t be something that is outsourced. For Zappos, this was making customers happy. “Customer service is about making customers happy, company culture is about making employees happy, so let’s just simplify it and at the same time, amplify our vision for our customers, employees, vendors, and peers’, said Hsieh. When the decision to hire a warehouse to ship shoes meant that they couldn’t cope with the volume, impacts were felt quickly resulting in customers making their concerns felt online and a resulting reduction in sales. This was contradictory to company culture and was soon scrapped.
Other ways that Hsieh delights his customers is seemingly against standard business practices: ‘If you’re looking for a pair of shoes, and we’re out of your size, we made it part of our policy to refer them to a competitor that had it in stock.’
What we can learn from Tony Hsieh can be distilled to the 10 core values that he has used to build Zappos into the empire it is:
1. Deliver “wow” through service
2. Embrace and drive change
3. Create fun and a little weirdness
4. Be adventurous, creative and open-minded
5. Pursue growth and learning
6. Build open and honest relationships with communication
7. Build a positive team and family spirit
8. Do more with less;
9. Be passionate and determined;
10. Be humble.