This is my second blog post to review Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. As I worked my way through Tony's book I was amazed at the number of strong lessons. Here are a few more. If you leave a comment, you may win a free copy of Tony's book.
You Don't Need Too Much Money
Early on at Zappos there wasn't enough availability to money. Tony and his co-workers tried and tried to find additional funding but not until later in the company were they able to get the funding levels they wanted. This turned out to be a good lesson. They had to cut expenses and then when that was done they had to cut some more. This forced them to focus on what they could do for each other and for the customer that didn't cost money. The same spirit lives on at Zappos.
Have A Clear List of Objectives
Early on Tony and his other top managers focused on a small number of clear objectives. They knew they couldn't be everything to everyone, so they kept it simple. They focused on the brands that sold, they focused on training, they focused on strong customer service and they focused on a wonderful culture. Many companies spread themselves so thin they are weak at all skills instead of being great at a few things. It is almost always better to have a clear set of objectives and stay focused.
Never Outsource Your Core Competency
When Zappos was young, they experimented with outsourcing their warehouse function. On paper this seemed like a good idea because they could save money and
not have the hassle of managing a large warehouse. It turned out that they had to build and staff their own warehouse because no one would treat the customer the way Zappos wanted the customer treated. They also never outsourced their phone support - again they spent more money but it was the differentiating factor of the company. Zappos is all about great customer service so they keep that in-house.
Big Three for Zappos
Customer service, culture and employee development are what drives Zappos. They may love shoes but anyone can love and sell shoes. They are different because of the people and how they are trained and treated. This then spreads over into how the customer is treated. It's a win-win.
If you have any responsibility for managing other people or if you just want to improve yourself, this is a great book to read and study.
Leave a comment and let me know what you think.