Key Takeaway: Behind every great new product, there almost always is an organizational structure in place that acts as a catalyst for success.
Zappos, an online shoe seller, has decided to generate a new source of profitability by selling the secrets of its business model.
While Zappos will surely benefit due to the widespread interest in its unique culture, will each client find success in using this model?
It’s friendly, easy-going atmosphere possibly isn’t transferable to many industries…
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Excerpted from BusinessWeek, “Zappos Retails Its Culture” by Christopher Palmeri, December 30, 2009
Zappos already knows how to sell shoes. Now it’s hoping to profit from people’s fascination with its friendly, antics-filled business model. Last summer, the company began holding two-day, $4,000 seminars on how to recreate the essence of its corporate culture.
The goal behind these activities is to build more buzz around the Zappos brand and its extreme customer service. Anthony Hsieh, 36, is an avid consumer of management tomes. He has 1.6 million followers on Twitter—more than either CBS News or the NFL—and he regales these fans with inspirational quotes, riffs on the news, and whatever else is on his mind. In the October seminar, which will be repeated once every quarter, Hsieh, the chief financial officer, and two dozen other staffers shared tips on hiring, compensation, customer care, and creating the right work environment.
There’s certainly much for students of management theory to try on at Zappos. For example, pay for call-center operators starts at a modest $11 an hour, and there are no bonuses or 401(k) matching contributions because Hsieh believes the most productive employees work for the psychic gratification in helping others. Customer service reps are given plenty of freedom. They may chat for hours with customers, write thank-you notes, send flowers, and even direct shoppers to rival Web sites if an item is out of stock. In a tough year for retail, sales are up by double digits.
Edit by JMZ
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