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Shoe Seller's Secret of Success - NYTimes.com
May 24, 2008

This is a fabulous example of hiring for attiude and training for skill. It also reinforces the notion that great service companies grow and reinforce their culture when Everyone, Everywhere, Every Time creates the same  service experince for their clients and customers.  This is a hallmark of great service companies

“Why Zappos Pays New Employees to Quit — And You Should Too,” written by William C. Taylor, applauded Zappos for what he called its unmatched customer service and for its insistence on thinking beyond the current fiscal quarter (discussionleader.hbsp.com/taylor).

“There are plenty of companies with a hot product, a hip style or a fast-rising stock price that are, essentially, one-trick ponies — they deliver great short-term results, but they don’t stand for anything big or important for the long term,” Mr. Taylor wrote.

Not so at Zappos, which Mr. Taylor says will record $1 billion in sales this year, up from $70 million five years ago. Zappos delivers shoes, handbags and other products ordered over the Internet. Delivery is free and fast, and customers can return unwanted products at no charge.

“This company is fanatical about great service,” Mr. Taylor wrote, “not just satisfying customers, but amazing them.”

In an age of clueless, surly or impossible-to-reach customer service personnel, Zappos’s fanaticism helps it stand out. It is all in the hiring. After a few weeks of intensive training, new call-center employees are offered $1,000 on top of what they have earned to that point if they want to quit.

The theory, according to Mr. Taylor, is that the people who take the money “obviously don’t have the sense of commitment” Zappos requires from its employees. The company says about 10 percent of its trainees take the offer.


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"How You Do What You Do", by Bob Livingston

 
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