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Delivering Happiness

I first read about Zappos a few years ago in an article that described their $2,000 quitting bonus (I admit a part of me fell in love with them right then). Since then we would cross paths occasionally; a Tweet here, a blog post there, or conversations with other Twitterati about their culture. I heard that CEO Tony Hsieh had a book coming out and bibbitybobbity-boo Amazon delivered it to my door.

Before I share some of the plentiful flags that decorate my copy of Delivering Happiness, let me tell my Zappos story:

A woman on Twitter said this. And I thought, “Hey – Zappos is in Vegas. I wonder if they’d know.” So I asked them. And they got back to me. So I shared it with the woman. Here’s the thing – I’ve never ordered from Zappos (their Canadian site doesn’t carry my favourite brand) and yet I’m a total evangelist for them – even more so after that experience. The Twitter gal was pretty happy too. They didn’t need to help me and yet they did. How is it that in some companies a customer’s problem can go unresolved for months and yet Zappos helped me immediately on something pretty much totally unrelated to their business?

This is the mystery that Tony Hsieh lets us in on, in the spirit of helping change how other companies do things. It’s not an arduous mystery to unravel – I read Delivering Happiness cover to cover in one sitting. It’s inspiring, applicable and real. And I don’t think I’ve ever teared up so much reading a business book.

On to some of my flags. Many of the most timely insights came in Chapter 5 – Platform for Growth: Brand, Culture, Pipeline. Tony describes how they run their call centre different from most (with no call time measures, no scripts, no up-selling, and what they do when they don’t have a customer’s shoe size). He explains the long term view of their phone calls and how many don’t result in an immediate order but how they create customers for life (like me). He shares the top 10 ways to instill customer service into your company. And how it all begins with how and who they hire (where everyone works on the phones for two weeks as part of their onboarding).

Those insights are just a smidgen of the gems inside the book. Like I said: inspiring, applicable, real. Read it for yourself – what are you waiting for?

Sidebar: I found Delivering Happiness to be a great companion read to Joseph Jaffe’s Flip the Funnel. Joseph creates the argument for why the customer experience is so critical for organizations and then Tony shares how Zappos walks that path.

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