Zappos’ Offbeat Company Ethos Makes It Amongst the Best in the Business


Companies like Apple, Disney, and Google, to name a few, offer a career with an envious lifestyle. The culture of these companies is the foundation of why employees in these companies never want to leave them. We all know that these companies are famous for their products and impeccable customer service, but what about the culture there that makes their employees motivated and committed to their cause?

A strong culture is akin to a secret weapon that companies can use to the best of their advantage. But is it nice to have a culture that is all about offering discounted dinner coupons to their employees or free movie tickets? Of course, these perks are good for the young and hip crowd, but it’s definitely not the zenith of a great culture.

What Constitutes a Great Culture?

Peter Drucker, the famous American management guru, once said that “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” It is a true portrayal of how a company’s culture can hugely influence and define a company’s success. In today’s cutthroat marketplace, customers look for the best product for a competitive price. Not many companies can survive in this scenario, and one way to keep their employees motivated to do best is to instill a great culture there.

Zappos is one of the many companies acquired by Amazon. The year was 2009, the same year when Zappos was ranked 23rd in Fortune Magazine’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work for”. But till this date, Zappos has maintained its own identity under the Amazon umbrella. The Zappos is primarily an online shoe retailer but has ventured into other areas like clothing, handbags, eyewear, and other accessories too.

So, what makes Zappos running so smoothly for 20 years now? Its amazing culture, of course, and how it takes care of its customers.

Zappos’ Philosophy Related to Company’s Culture

“Our number one priority is company culture. Our whole belief is that if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff like delivering great customer service or building a long-term enduring brand will just happen naturally on its own.” – Tony Hsieh – CEO

You can get a clear idea of why Zappos is a respected company in the eyes of its customers as they put them first above anything else.

Different Culture: What’s Exactly is Different at Zappos?

According to the company, it emphasizes on making things work for its employees in every way possible. In their words, “We seek to WOW our customers, our co-workers, our vendors, our partners, and in the long run, our investors.” In pursuit of this goal, Zappos recognizes the need to be “a little unconventional and innovative.” And I think everyone must agree here as this is what every company strives for.

You will be astonished to know how Zappos think of unique and smart ideas to offer something different to their employees, and it is not just for the sake of being different. It’s the practice of publishing an annual culture book that employees write and allowing employees to decorate their offices is one of them. Not tracking the call times of its customer service reps is another great way to empower them. Read the third point know more how this aspect helped Zappos employees in the long term.

High Level of Employee Satisfaction

Zappos’ new books titled “The Power of WOW” written by its employees is a clear example of how happy its employees are. Released on 22nd October 2019, the book is a fascinating account of how Zappos’ employees, some of whom are working for several years there, think about their company and why they have written a book to express their feelings. And the timing of the book is also just right, right around Zappos’ 20th anniversary.

The recent focus of Zappos has been specifically on kids and luxury consumers, the fashion market and people who like to travel a lot. All this and more has been discussed in this book, which has been written through the collaboration of more than 40 or more of its employees.

Going out of the Way to Assist Customers

On June 11, 2016, a Zappos employee Steven Weinstein answered a call from a customer that lasted nearly 11 hours! 10 hours and 43 minutes to be exact. At first, all of us would think about it as some sort of a gimmick or marketing ploy. But it was a genuine call which the customer support representative at Zappos answered. The duration of the call is a testament to the fact that Zappos goes to any length to facilitate its customers.

“It was excellent, the connection was amazing, and even though I never spoke to this customer before in my life, I felt like I knew her for 15 or 20 years,” That was Weinstein’s reply. “It was just natural, and time was flowing — it felt like it was effortless.” Just think of a person on call for only 1 hour on the phone with a customer, and he will be scratching his head in despair. Not at Zappos, as it is like a norm; the previous record for such a long call was 9 hours and 37 minutes!

Over to you

So you see how successful companies continue to succeed in the long run. They focus on creating an environment that acts as a catalyst for employee motivation and enhanced performance. Whether you’re beginning your entrepreneurial journey or you’re an established entity, your number one priority should be creating a culture of excellence.

This should be done at each level of the hierarchy and aspect of your organization. What this will do is that it will make employees excel in everything they do. Whether they’re designing products or dealing with customers and colleagues, they will shine at each interaction and this will drive your organization’s progress and success.

If you want to know more about any of the aspects mentioned here or wish to offer your valuable feedback for this blog, you are welcome. Please use the comments section below in this concern.



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