The ultimate company culture tour: Zappos in Las Vegas

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I was privileged to go on a tour of the Zappos headquarters in Las Vegas last May 2012. You can check out the official tour here.

 

The tour was booked out, although a kind member of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Entrepreneur’s Organisation was able to hook me up in within a couple of Facebook messages. That’s the power of a network!

 

For those who don’t know, Zappos.com is one of the largest eCommerce businesses on the globe and was acquired by Amazon in 2009 for over a billion dollars. Zappos started off selling shoes online in 1999 and then expanded into multiple product categories, pioneering online retail. Tony Hsieh, who is only 39, is one of the initial investors and as CEO has helped take the company to where it is today.

 

The business model is based around customer service and company culture to the extent that you could call up Zappos right now and find out where to order a great pizza in your city. TheIconic.com.au is basically a copy of Zappos in Australia.

 

Why is Zappos in Vegas? A few reasons, but primarily that Vegas is a vibrant and fun 24/7 city which helps attract the right staff for a 24/7 operation. It’s also a lower tax environment, which is financially appealing for businesses to set up operations.

 

Now hop aboard and come on my tour. Here are some of the highlights. Let’s see if you get inspired! Below is a collection of images I took personally.

 

Milestones

 

Turning over US$1billion, a 10-year goal set in 2000 although was achieved by 2006.

 

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$16 million turnover in a day anyone?

 

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More milestones on the wall

 

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The boardrooms

 

Some pretty cool boardrooms – youthful with lots of colour and fun.

 

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A tour of the offices and call centre

 

There are signs saying “YES” everywhere. Did you know that Zappos has an 18% staff turnover rate in their call centre when the industry average rate is above 40%?

 

In addition, each employee, regardless of their role, must work for two weeks in the call centre to gain an insight into the customer. There are 1,300 staff in the Vegas offices and 500 staff in the call centre. Staff answer the phone with “thanks for being part of the Zappos family”.

 

On Mondays all staff greet each other with “Happy Monday!”

 

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Each staff member is clearly identified with a number plate sign with their name attached, hanging above their desk along with a number showing their years of service.

 

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This section belongs to the home of the Zappo’s ‘home made’ brands. Zappos created a bunch of their own brands and labels to accompany the existing big branded products they sell.

 

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How’s this for A++ service

 

There are 3,850 calls on a Sunday with an average answer time of 14 seconds with only 11 abandoned calls. No hold time.

 

Is Telstra taking notes right now?

 

An average weekday generates around 8,000 incoming calls from customers. 80% of calls are answered in under 20 seconds. Impressed for such a large operation?

 

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