We initially considered outsourcing business it to India or the Philippines, and we met with a few outsourcing companies. We got the whole sales pitch and listened in on sample calls. You could tell on the ones from India that the people talking were from another country. Accent aside, they just didnt understand the nuances of American culture. How would they be able to help a customer who asked, say, for shoes like the ones Julia roberts wears. We were reluctant to outsource the call center, because wed had bad experiences with outsourcing in the past. In fact, one of the big lessons.
Zappos brand into being about the very best customer review service. Our philosophy has been that most of the money we might ordinarily have spent on advertising should be invested in customer service, so that our customers will do the marketing for us through word of mouth. But that requires the right staff members—and our inability to find enough dedicated, high-caliber customer service reps near our San Francisco headquarters was turning into a huge problem. Its hard to find people in the bay area who want to make customer service a career. Culturally, its not part of the silicon Valley mentality. The high cost of living also plays a role: In San Francisco you cant afford to buy a home on a call center reps salary. So most of the people working the phones for. Zappos were temps, and they werent always providing the wow experience our customers deserved. By late 2003 wed started looking at different options for expanding our call center.
And that 5 of them were already sold by mail order. What had started as just one of several dozen angel investments ended up as a job: by 2000 I had joined. The company had survived the dot-com crash, and our gross merchandise sales were growing—up from zero in 1999 to 70 million in 2003. But for most of those years we had been short of cash and struggling to cope with growth. In early 2004 our biggest problem was customer service—specifically, finding the right employees to staff our call center. A lot of people may think its strange that an internet company would be so focused on the telephone, when only about 5 of our sales happen by phone. But weve found that on average, our customers telephone us at least once at some point, and if we handle the call well, we have an opportunity to create an emotional impact and a lasting memory. We receive thousands of phone calls and e-mails every day, and we view each one as an opportunity to build the.
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Post your response below, or respond to. Facebook or, twitter using hashtag ZapposInsights, cant get enough insights from our blog? . In the 11 years since, zappos was founded, weve had to make some big decisions. One of the most significant came in early home 2004, over lunch at Chevys, a chain Mexican restaurant in San Francisco. We hadnt expected to make a life-changing choice over a plate of fajitas, but when youre part of a fast-growing company, a lot of decisions arise at unlikely moments.
Zappos was then nearly five years old. Id gotten involved with the company as an investor after LinkExchange, which Id cofounded, was sold to microsoft trees in 1998. At first I thought that selling shoes online sounded like a poster child for bad internet ideas. But the founder. Zappos, nick Swinmurn, explained that shoes were a 40 billion market in the.
To further empower employees to take initiative in their own professional development, zapposU offers a sign-up portal for classes called ulearn. Employees can access it anytime to sign up on their own, see current offerings, and access online content and training aids. ZapposU classes are offered on-site during the work day and. Zappos employees must be on the clock while attending a class. Getting paid to learn?
What began as a suggestion from. Zappos first employee, fred Mossler, has grown into a valuable resource from which all. Zappos employees can benefit. Employee development doesnt just help employees. Organizations that invest in their employees learning can see an uptick in both productivity and employee retention. We want to hear from you!
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Company leaders and seasoned employees are encouraged to be role models by pursuing growth and learning through available classes. ZapposU also hosts frequent open houses explaining all the different offerings and answering questions employees may have. Not only does ZapposU serve as a source good of dissertation learning, they also act as a hub for mandatory training such as security awareness, payroll, or specific department progression paths. Outside of those courses, zapposU classes are voluntary. The team has found that delivery of the message is also important. Its all about the mentality and how its presented. We want employees to approach it with an open mind, says. Rather than seeing it as a checklist to run through, employees are encouraged to see the classes as a continuous source of learning.
One of the biggest challenges ZapposU faces is class internship participation from employees that have been. Zappos longer than 2-3 years. While there is an uptick when new classes are launched or new system trainings are offered,. John observes that overall weve noticed percentages go down, and whether people dont take as many because they have more on their plate, people still need to realize theres more to learn. Finding more hours in the day is a challenge all employees can relate with. ZapposU sees a lot of success with teams taking classes together, especially when a team suggests it over a manager forcing. Voluntary participation always works better than mandatory.
to know new team members. Zapposu for Hire can also facilitate activities that help teams build upon their strengths. Rather than use external trainers and training materials, zapposU consists of in-house trainers and content developers that all share a unique glimpse and offer particular insight into. Zappos departments and the company as a whole. Any course content that is created must align with the. Zappos culture in order for it to be implemented.
Before long, departments were requesting training tools and department-specific classes. It really evolved organically, says diana guido, zapposU Trainer. Department-specific classes are taught by department experts dissertation on those topics and often supplement certain progression paths. A sampling of classes offered today includes The Art of Storytelling, Excel, pimp my powerPoint, and The Science of Happiness. Employees can also get a glimpse of other departments with classes like intro to merchandising or Intro to social Media. ZapposU classes arent limited to certain departments, either. Our classes are taken by employees from all different departments so it facilitates an interdepartmental conversation, says beverly. Our classes are different in that they are discussion-based rather than a lecture model, adds guido. One unique resource that ZapposU also offers to all.
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While recruiting top talent is always front of mind for most companies, focusing on employee development can often fall to the wayside. Offering training resources for employees to grow and hone their skills can be an invaluable asset to any organization. Zappos, core value 5, pursue growth and learning, encourages. Zappos employees to always be growing, both personally and professionally. Zappos helps them do this is through a department created specifically for employee development, zapposU. In 2008, the concept of ZapposU started with the launch of two classes, Project gpa Culture and Communication. The goal was to offer classes that focused on helping employees develop soft skills and characteristics that a strong leader would embody. Soon classes like finance and Public Speaking followed.