Every week, Sumair and I will post our most interesting customer service minded stories for the week as part of a Friday recap. We’ll comment on one story each and then add 3 others for your review.
For the nineteenth installment, and week 23 of 2017:
Topic: Zappos & a Culture of Customer Care
Source: Forbes (https://www.forbes.com/sites/micahsolomon/2017/06/12/tony-hsieh-spills-the-beans-the-one-word-secret-of-zappos-customer-service-success/#2c8d95d81acc)
Commentary: Customer service is not a department. This is not a new tagline or a wholly unique idea. The impact of the customer experience has become a focus area for many organizations, and the realization that service is something that must be engrained in the DNA of the organization has gained steam across a number of industries. Many of these organizations come to this realization as the result of changes to their competitive environment which has forced them to re-evaluate the way in which they woo customers. This is not the case for Zappos and never has been. And, I know I highlighted Zappos during our seventh installment, but Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO, has long been one of the leaders I have admired as being forward-thinking in regards to creating a customer-first culture, and I couldn’t resist sharing another glimpse into their story.
A few years back I had the pleasure of touring their new headquarters in Downtown Las Vegas. What was most intriguing was their customer centric mentality wasn’t just plastered on posters across the office or a focus on their employee blog, but a part of every aspect of what we saw within that building and everyone we met. From the tour guide who took us around the office, to the employees that were still “working” when we showed up, to Tony’s desk which was right there amongst the other employees (no corner office), we felt the vibe of customer-first. Too often we think a customer-first mentality needs to focus solely on the client-facing staff, but I would argue that as shown by Zappos it must start at the top and become entrenched in everyone’s mindset across the entire organization. We should all take a page from Zappos and look at customer service not as something that can be measured by a score but as part of the value that can be delivered by anyone within the organization to show customers we care.
Topic: Taking Safety Seriously at Tesla
Source: Inc. (https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/elon-musk-sent-an-extraordinary-email-to-employees-and-taught-a-major-lesson-in.html)
Commentary: In speaking about this with several service leaders, the jury is out on if this is good or poor leadership. It’s good because it shows the leader’s passion for the topic and how safety truly is an executive priority. It’s poor leadership and it points to unsustainable growth and development practices, ones that aren’t supported with the right processes. I tend to see this as good leadership, as employees are driven by an emotional leader, one that is willing to invest his/her personal time in ensuring that their basic needs are met. That said, emotion will only go so far. An emotional response without an appropriate long-term fix will reduce the impact of the next emotional response. Safety, as a topic, requires executive sponsorship and direction. If it’s a priority at the top, it will be a priority at all levels of the organization.
Our Three Other Articles
1- Leveraging Your Brand’s Digital Presence for Customer Service Initiatives (HuffPost, 6/15/17)
2- Amazon delivers a new standard of retail and customer service (Orlando Business Journal, 6/15/17)
3- Apple Undercuts Facebook in the augmented reality platform war (Tech Crunch, 6/13/17)
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Till next week.