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A shoe-in for serious success

There are very few companies out there that can boast billion dollar sales figures.

The Zappos Experience

  • By Joseph A. Michelli

  • McGraw Hill, $25.00

  • 296 pages

There are very few companies out there that can boast billion dollar sales figures.

Now review that list against companies that have hit that revenue milestone in less than 10 years and you come up with a far shorter list which includes a company called Zappos, the world’s friendliest (and biggest) online shoe retailer.

According to Joseph A. Michelli, author of The Zappos Experience, Zappos became a billion dollar company by creating a killer customer service approach and at the same time developed a work culture where “being a little weird is part of the core values” of the company.

Former COO and CFO Alfred Lin comments that the Zappos Experience is “about getting the culture right so we can treat the customer right.”

This approach has clearly paid off with the company named by J.D. Powers and Associates as a 2011 Customer Service Champion.

The concept of Zappos was born due to a frustrated consumer. Nick Swinmurn couldn’t find a certain size shoe which prompted him to consider if an online strategy could be used to solve this dilemma. From that he created ShoeSite.com. Recognizing the need for capital, Swinmurn approached Tony Hsieh & Alfred Lin of Investment firm Venture Frogs with his idea. Even in the 1999 boom of the Dot Com era one would have questioned the concept. After all, “Who would buy shoes at an Internet Store without trying them on?” alludes Michelli.

Michelli’s book looks at the five principles that he found to be the foundation of Zappos’ success. He describes them as serving the perfect fit, making business effortlessly swift, personalizing the experience, diversification of product and playing to win. If you’re looking at how to assess and improve your customer service approach, The Zappos Experience serves the perfect fit.

– Craig Lund, is the President of Marketing services firm Marketing Talent Inc. and can be reached at clund@marketingtalentinc.com or on twitter @craiglund

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