Trusting Your Employees
One of the best companies in the world at creating breathtaking, remarkable, amazing customer experiences is up us. And as I said on the first day, I've had the pleasure of working with apples in a number of different occasions. They are an amazing company. What a lot of people have come to learn. The story of suppose is that zappos runs a twenty four seven call center and they run it in las vegas. They actually just moved to their new office is in downtown las vegas in the old city hall. This is what the typical call center around the world looks like a cube farm miles and miles of people living quiet lives of desperation. The turnover rate of employees that work in call centers is shocking. This is one the toughest business is to be in in the world mean, and some of them the turnover rate is in excess of eighty percent annually. This is the call center it zap us. This is a typical tuesday it's tapas. This is not hey, somebody had a birthday party and we streamer bombed their desk. He...
y, we've got a big two were coming through and so we want to make it seem like we're cooler than we are this is what it looks like on a typical day it's, tapas and it's, not just this department it's this department it's every department and each department decorates their space in a way that aligns with their team, spirit or energy. Which is really fascinating when we get to this group. Okay, it looks like a jungle. This is affectionately referred to as monkey ro. The crazy monkeys. Do you know who sits in monkey ro, the ceo of the billion dollar company? That is zap us, tony shay. In fact, his desk. This is their old office. Their new office. They were moving when I was there two weeks ago, so I didn't get a chance to get any pictures of the new setup. But his desk was right behind this little hamburger helper guy here. What's fascinating is across the aisle from him. Sat the cfo a little bit further back. Sat the senior v p of sales up here is the head of hr in operations on then there were a couple of assistance that managed the schedule and get everything on everybody sitting here in the middle of this crazy call center off a billion dollar company. This is where tony and his fellow members of senior management have their office. What are they saying about the employees experience when their offices decorated like this, they're saying, hey, I'm one of you I like to have a good time it's fun we enjoy it that's the spirit we cultivate in this space that's the energy of our company that is that ethic and the core value that we prescribe and we want to live up to tony she's a fascinating guy fascinating guy I had the chance to hear him tell a story which you may have heard before right? It's become more popular with his book delivering happiness and as he starts to speak more and tell the story but the story occurred back in san jose, california number of years ago there were a number of representatives from zappos hanging out with some buyers from skechers shoe brand right and they were out at this big show shoe show that's a tough and fun ones who say in san jose, california and they finished the show and it was late at night and they'd gone out they'd had a couple drinks and dinner in the bar and everything and they were walking back from the bar to the hotel and they were staying at one of the nicest hotels in san jose and as they were walking, the rep from skechers said, oh my gosh, when we get back to the hotel, you all need to come up into my sweet I've got this awesome sweet on we're gonna order room service, we're going to get pizza this hotel served some of the best pizza on the west coast I know what shocking right it's a hotel but their pizza is phenomenal you've got to come and have some of this pizza and everybody is like, oh, great everyone's got the munchies a little bit it's late at night they've been drinking, they're a little hungry, you know, they're getting that second it's like two thirty in the morning and they get back to the hotel and everybody piles into the suite. She picks up the phone and calls from service and she's like, hey, I'm up here in the sweet I'd like to order a couple of pizzas I love your pizza it's awesome and the person says I'm sorry room service is closed wait what no room service ended it two am it's now two thirty will be open again for breakfast at six. Happy to take your order for breakfast if you like. The woman hung up the phone and she's got a sweet full of clients and friends and colleagues and people she's been hanging out with and she's built up the story just like awesome. So sorry like I know everybody is hungry and your mouths are salivating and you're excited about this pizza they just told me it's closed and tony shape from the back of the room, says cold zappos she says, what would we call zappos? You guys do shoes because you were a customer service business where a customer experience business, call suppose and see what happens now the way tony tells the story, he didn't know what was gonna happen. He was actually a little nervous until the woman called suppose she says, you know, the person answers phone ah, hello, thank you for calling suppose how can I help you? She says, yeah, I'd like to order a pizza, the phone's a little quiet and the representive comes back on and says, I'm sorry, I thought I heard you say pizza and she said, yeah, pizza, I want to get a pizza, he said, me and you know you've called suppose, right, we do shoes and she said, yeah, but I've heard you have amazing customer experience, and I thought you might be able to help me out with the pizza the representative says, oh, okay said, I just want to make sure I understand what the request was he sent you mind holding on for a few minutes, she said, no, no it's till they find puts you're on hold with me, it's again, the background few minutes later, the rep comes back on the phone and he says, mem I've taken the liberty of looking at the caller I d on your phone number and it appears like you're calling from the fairmont hotel in san jose, california I've looked up on google and found that there is a domino's about a half a mile away I've taken the liberty of calling the dominoes they are indeed open it's a twenty four seven dominoes and I've talked to the manager and explain to him that I have a customer that would like to place an order would it be okay with you if I connected you so that you could place your order for your pizza that is serving your customers that is meeting your customers where they're at not trying to force them to come over to where you're at now let me be clear I'm not suggesting you start taking pizza orders on your phone, okay it's not the point I'm making and you're all smarter than that. What I'm saying is does your team understand what service looks like? Have they experienced it in their own lives? Do they believe it at their core as much as you at least claim to believe it at your core we could have a separate conversation about whether you're living it or not but where we at right now zappos has ten core values that they're huge on everything is about the core values and the first one is deliver wow through service wow capitalized all caps screaming on the internet right? Wow that's by design they wanted to be a wow experience there a shoe company who's number one value is deliver wow through service not deliver shoes through ups and the internet. Yeah, I note as I read the rest of those that like, provide good quality shoes or you know, fine like find the best shoes to sell is literally nowhere on there nowhere on nothing on their most of these core values have to do with their product. Ah, but wait they do have to do with their product because the problem is we as consumers think that suppose product is shoes tony shade, the ceo of zappos will tell you that zappos product is happiness it's a title of his book delivering happiness well, when you're delivering happiness, the criteria for an experience is different. No when you're delivering shoes and the way you do that the way you anchor that in isto have a core value set that is so clear that is so explicit that there's no gray area on the spirit of what we're trying to dio they actually hire based on the core values and eggs apples when you're hired you sign a contract that says your review on an annual basis will be based on how you're living up to the ten core values you can be fired for not living up to the core values you know, most companies don't like you could be fired for theft or insubordination or not doing your job you know blah blah, blah south coast is none it's real simple you're fired for not delivering while through service, one of the cool things they do and for those who need to have teams and employees and claimed to have core values to be honest, most core values of the typical company in this country are things like service excellence what the hell does that even mean? You don't even know what that means you went to an off site, he spent two days coming up with something that everybody could agree on. You watered it down to where it tasted horrible and you put it on your wall in your lobby and you say we have a mission statement, we have values no, you don't! If I call up any one of your employees and say, what do your company's core values what's your mission statement and they can't immediately on a dime tell me what those things are you actually don't have core values or a mission statement stop deluding yourselves stop fooling yourselves what's interesting is when you go into a meeting it's apples thought sometimes the very first thing they'll do in the meeting is there's a little jar in the middle of the conference room table and it's got these little cards and whoever's running the meeting usually pick someone in the room so like bob reach in and pull out the card and you pull out the card in it has one of the ten core values they say before this meeting start bob, how did you live doing more with less core value number eight in the last week? You don't know you're going to be called on you don't know which core value it isthe guess what happens? Employees live all the core values every day because if you can't answer that question when it comes time for your review and I ask you you could be fired that's putting experience first I had the chance to be on the phone one time when I was it's outpost on a woman called in and she said, and so I've got the headset on I'm not actually taking the culture just to be really clear, right? I'm just shadowing the person on the phone because I find it to be a fascinating experience and the ability to a study people that are brilliant to customer service and customer experience and that a woman comes on the phone and she says yes I'd like some help ordering some shoes on dh representative said, oh great, no problem are these for you? What are you looking for? And she said, well actually they're for my two kids I need black dress shoes and the woman said calm fantastic sounds like it might be going to a wedding she had two choices understandably the representative went for the positive one but that's not what it wass and the woman said uh now actually a funeral I'm listen on the headset that's like like we're seeing into this customers a life where I mean we're on the phone but like in that moment and the woman says oh, I'm so sorry if I may ask is this a grand parent or ananta and uncle and the woman said no it's their father and I'm starting to tear up the representative starting to tear up on the representative says oh my god let me let me let me help you get everything taking it we will get you taken care of don't worry we're going to get your we're going to get your kids the shoes you know and so she tells us there the kid's shoe sizes and then they're talking and she says you know, I'm sorry if I have to ask what you know I'm sure this is a terrible time was was this you know what happened and she said he ah was killed in iraq I mean we forget that our customers or human we're selling shoes but they're human so the representative helps her with the order gets everything done and like I'm just oh I mean it's it's were a mess where a mass the woman on the phone who's lost her husband is holding it together better than I am and better than the rap iss when we finish the call and she gets all done and the rep turns to me and she says I know you're shouting but I've actually got to do something we're not going to take another call for a few minutes I was like, oh of course take your time and she picks up the phone and she starts going right away and I'm like I thought we were going to kind of grab some tissues and kind of collect ourselves she pulls up the woman's address gets on the internet starts googling finds out she lives in a small town, gets a list of all the funeral homes and starts calling the funeral homes to find the the one with the same last name as the address she sending tio and then she calls a local florist and has a bouquet of flower sent to the funeral that says trust wanted you to know we thank you for your husband's service and we are sorry for your loss that's customer service that's customer experience that's creating a space for your employees where they don't have to be taught this is the script for if you're on the phone with someone whose spouse died in iraq no we set an example as the leaders as the ceo of our company of the kind of human beings we are and the kind of interactions we will have on our watch. You don't want to live that way. That's fine go work somewhere else, not at my company to lighten things up a little. They have car. They have paper construction paper markers at the ends of every row in the call center so that the call center wraps when they're on the phone can make cards for the person they're on the phone with based on what they think that person might like. So they find out it's their birthday, they can make a homemade birthday card, they find out that they've had a loss, they can make a homemade sympathy card, they could make an anniversary card, they can make a hey, thanks for buying shoes on thursday morning card doesn't matter. They can have fun with it because they are delivering happiness that's, their business, that's their product, that's their service zappos, because they're so passionate about this developed a subset of their business called zappos insights, and I was very excited to be friends with one of the guys who is an actual founder of zappos insights he's no longer at zappos, but he literally wrote the book on how do you create this type of culture? It's called the culture blueprint to give a plug to robbie richmond if you go to tinyurl dot com slash culture blueprint, you can get the book great book great guy has forgot more about culture and service and building this experience than most of us will ever know. Read this book it's on the recommended list let's talk about nordstrom there's an apocryphal story with nordstrom you've probably heard it that one time someone walked into a nordstrom because nordstrom has a policy that if you bought it here, you can return it anytime purchase guaranteed a customer walked into a nordstrom with snow tires and said I bought my snow tires here I would like them returned I don't know about you I've been in a number of nordstrom's around the country I've never seen snow tires for sale at nordstrom officially and there's a lot of debate on this, and if you google it, some people say it's an urban myth and the legend john lords from you know, one of the nordstrom family says it really happened I'm willing to take his word for it because they provide such great service that even if it's not a true story, I still like the story that the rap refunded money for snow tires that story's been told thousands and thousands of times by guys like me that are talking about customer service on what customer experiences maybe true, maybe not. But the moral of that story is are you willing to go the extra mile? And are your employees willing to go the extra mile? Ritz carlton, amazing hotels, amazing hotels and horseshoe lt's. The who went on to become the founder are not the founder. Excuse me, who became the president of ritz carlton hotels years later, when horse was a child, about fifteen, he wrote a term paper, and he wrote a term paper about what the most fantastic hotel would be and what the employees at that hotel would be like. And he said, we are ladies and gentlemen, serving ladies and gentlemen, irony of all ironies, he goes on to run the ritz carlton and really make the ritz what it is today. He had the vision at fifteen on what I love about this quote is, do you think the average person that works in the kitchen at a hotel for the average person that works in housekeeping or the average person that's, a bellhop, as they were going through their life thought of themselves as a gentleman? Where is the lady? I hope so, but I've been in enough hotels to no, not usually, but it ritz carlton, they hire ladies and gentlemen to serve ladies and gentlemen, their view is that our employees are of a stature and over value and of the worth, that is on par with our luxury high end, affluent clientele. They go so far as to say that any employee of the ritz carlton can spend up to two thousand dollars without approval from any manager or any superior to make a customer's experience better. I'm going to give the gal that makes the bed in my room two thousand dollars of authority to make my experience better that's a different way to treat your employees it's a different experience, we're going to talk about the value of trust and how that empowers your employees. Ace hardware does it as well. The helpful place, right ace? I don't know if you've been in an ace hardware's, for recently it's, fascinating place, because they have a policy called the lifeboat it's, the five dollar lifeboat, and for the five dollar lifeboat, every employee is empowered to do five dollars of anything that costs less than five dollars, free for any customer to make their life better. So if a customer walks in, yes, I need one male, I have to hang one picture picture, and usually what happens in the hardware stores, they say, great, we have a box of a thousand nails you khun by that box, the employees of days can go, you know what here's a nail I know what I mean it seriously did take the nail it's all good do you know how often they make people smile with a five dollar lifeboat nintendo although they don't publicize it does the same thing I was talking with representative somebody who used to work at a nintendo the other day and they were explaining that when they were there they were in the call center and in tendo does two things like a lot of software and video game companies do they make the console and they make the video games now the console is more expensive than the video game the profit margins on the console are smaller then the profit margins on the video game so we would think if we were in me mode as the ceo of a company well there's not much margin on the console and we really only we actually selling one console and then we sell them all these games so that's our bite at the apple we got to get the money from the console okay? We got to do that. We've got to get them to pay for the week not nintendo intended views themselves a software company that happens to create the platform or the vehicle for their software to be used which is a console so while they don't publicize this ifyou're, we breaks and you call up nintendo and say my wee isn't working their reps are empowered without asking anyone's permission without getting approval without making you prove that it's broken without getting you to fill out some type of an affidavit and have it notarized that you indeed have a broken we and take photos and then ship it back to them and after they assess it they dissect it make sure it's really broken then they will consider maybe honoring your warranty if it's been less than a year no nintendo says o your wie's broken it's really broken again I've got I can't play my games this is really not fun great no worries we cost about a hundred thirty dollars what you send your week wait what we're giving our employees the authority to just send off a hundred and thirty dollar product yes because we're a software company and the way we were money is by selling the games that play on that we and if your wee is broken are you buying more we games no you're not and the longer it's broken is that giving an opportunity for xbox to come in on opportunity for some other gaming system to come in absolutely so let's just make this really easy hey employees we trust you we think you're fantastic we have put thought and consciousness into our hiring process we trust you to do the right thing do you know how empowering that isthe two employees especially in this country in this day and age employees who are usually told by the way we have a dress code here at our office you have to come dress a certain way really like they haven't lived their entire life knowing that they need to wear clothes in public and for a lot of you the dress could you have this kind of b s because clients never come to your office anyway so why do you even have a dress code? Who cares? One things I love about creative live to give you a little behind the curtain I walk in it's like going to a punk rock concert up in here I mean there's pain care blue hair bars in the ears big ear lobes piercing here's there's probably more tattoos per capita amongst employees that creative live than in any other company I've been at recently, okay it's awesome now one could say, well, joey, of course that's because they're autistic their creative I'm in serious business I have accountants counts don't have tattoos sure they dio you just don't see him because there were suits and ties, but on the weekend if you're friends with him they roll up their arms you see, you do have a tattoo funny I never knew an accountant and there's a lot of accounts with tattoos the point I'm trying to make is not that you should let accountants dyed her hair pink because if I'm hiring an accountant and I walk in to meet with them and it's the first time sight unseen and they're wearing ratted out jeans a concert t shirt have pink hair with a bar through their nose and I'm running a five hundred thousand dollar a year business I might get a little anxious about what I'm seeing and how that aligns with the situation but for most of our business is not snot the case what would happen if we just started trusting our employees if we hired for trust if that was the number one criteria I don't care if you what your experience is I don't care what your education is I don't care what you're going to bring to the table in terms of skill set I can teach all of that I can teach you to answer a phone I can teach you to chat online I can teach you to new customer service I can teach you to process orders it's really hard for me to teach you to be a decent human being and anyone who has kids understands trust how hard that is and what a full time job it isthe and anybody who's walked around in our society and run into some human beings that were never taught to be human beings knows that it's not as communist we think higher for humanity all the rest of the stuff gets filled in shep aiken wrote this great book amazed every customer, every time, and it explores ace hardware, right? It's, where I got the example of the five dollar lifeboat and what shep says is, when it comes to delivering truly amazing customer service, everyone in the organization must step up and be a leader. How would your experience be different if you thought of every single employee you have as a leader? It be amazing? What if they felt that you felt they were a leader? Oh, that's, where it get really interesting.