Zappos founder Tony Hsieh said that the company often gets email from highly satisfied customers asking him to establish an airline or run the IRS.
The first idea isn’t that crazy, actually.
Speaking at the Box.net BoxWorks customer conference, Hsieh said “In 20 years, I wouldn’t rule out a Zappos airline where we offer the best customer service. Kind of like Virgin, but where the Virgin brand is all about being hip and cool, ours is about having the best customer service.”
We’d fly it.
Hsieh also talked a lot about Zappos’ unique culture, including quirks like:
- All new hires — executives, lawyers, accountants, EVERYBODY — work in the customer call centre for two weeks before starting.
- Zappos offers all potential hires $4,000 to quit because they don’t want employees just there for a paycheck (that number is up from $2,500 when he wrote his book “Delivering Happiness”).
- The company will fire people if they don’t fit into the company culture — even if their performance is fantastic in other ways.
- There are lots of tests to figure out whether new hires will fit into the Zappos culture. For instance, Zappos offers a shuttle to drive prospects to and from the airport. They always ask the shuttle driver how they were treated — if they didn’t like the prospect, it’s a no hire. Similarly, they won’t hire people who consider themselves unlucky because those people tend to miss opportunities.
He also said that Amazon had kept completely true to its promise to leave Zappo’s alone when they bought it. Apart from four board meetings per year in Seattle, Hsieh has hardly any interaction with its parent company at all.
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