Great customer service cannot be overlooked and overemphasized. Your customer is your business and your business is your customer. This is what Zappos founder and CEO Tony Hsieh has been preaching for a long time now. And you know what, it works and he has been successful at it. His company is reaping most if not all the benefits of great customers service with emphasis on excellent company culture. Zappos makes over $1 billion in annualized sales.

Zappos sells shoes. it’s not what the company sells that makes Zappos successful, it’s how it sells it and how it treats employees and customers. Tony Hsieh said the other day “Zappos is a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes.”

In 2009 Amazon acquired Zappos for around $1 billion. Zappos still operates independently from Amazon. Zappos is regularly near the top of Fortune’s “Best Places To Work” list.

Invest in People, build a great culture

Tony Hsieh believes company culture contributes a lot to the success of every business:

“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.” he says.

At Zappos, Tony runs a company of over 3,866 employees with over $1 billion in annualized sales, yet is also known to personally serve employees lunch multiple times each month.

The benefits of excellent customer service

When you provide excellent customer service, the benefits are countless. You will be taking steps in the process to establish a great brand in the eyes of your customers making room for repeat business. The percentage of repeat business determines how you treat your existing business.

1. Increased traffic from repeat customers and prospective customers

2. Obviously increased customers will result in increased sales and growth.

3. Your brand gets popular and stronger in the market

4. Competitively, you business could be ahead of the competition

5. Satisfied customers and motivated employees with job satisfaction.

6. Customer loyalty can only be gained with great customer service

Tony has built and successfully sold two business: Link Exchange sold for $265 million to Microsoft and  Zappos sold for $1.2 billion to Amazon. These are some of his business lessons on the journey to the top:

6 business lessons that every entrepreneur can learn from Tony Hsieh

1. Passion builds great companies

2. Understand What Really Motivates People

3. Do not  build a company culture too late, focus on creating a great foundation where people can comfortably work and deliver.

4.  Focus on the customer, not the product.

5. Just talk to your employees. Ask them what would make them happy

6. The  primary purpose of an entrepreneur is to enable people to do their best work.

At Zappos, customer service is how they market the brand. Zappos takes most of the money it could spend on advertising and invests it in customer service. Treat people amazingly well and they’ll tell their friends. Zappos lets it customers do the marketing.

Quotes Tony Hsieh

1. The telephone is one of the best branding devices out there

2. We asked ourselves what we wanted this company to stand for. We didn’t want to just sell shoes. I wasn’t even into shoes – but I was passionate about customer service

3. Our customers call and e-mail us to say that’s how it feels when a Zappos box arrives. And that’s how we view this company.

4. Businesses often forget about the culture, and ultimately, they suffer for it because you can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees.

5. Historically, our number-one growth driver has been from repeat customers and word of mouth.

Let your customers know you value their business by reaching out to them. Stay in touch when they need support, reach out to them before they make decisions about your company, tell them why you exist, listen to their complains, be open to their feedback. Do not just create customer service social accounts, make the effort and they will know you care. Most importantly create a company culture that can support an excellent customer service.

Image courtesy Henry Blackham


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