What would be the most fun thing I could do today?
That’s the question I’ve been pondering over the past few days, since reading “Delivering Happiness” by Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh. How can I make my business more fun for me and for my clients and vendors?
Clearly this “path to profits, passion, and purpose” (the book’s subtitle) has been highly successful for Zappos.
There are so many good lessons and thought provoking concepts in this book that I highly recommend reading it for yourself – with a pen and note pad nearby. Maybe just not right before bedtime though, because if you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to sleep with all the ideas swimming around in your head!
In the meantime, a few highlights.
Deep Connections = Happiness
Tony realized early on in his involvement with Zappos that a feeling of connectedness amongst everyone involved in the company was essential to success. He saw how deep connections brought a sense of stability and a sense of excitement and made everyone happier.
With a shared sense of purpose, people were there for more than a paycheck; they were willing to go all out for each other.
So he set out to deliberately create an environment in which people could connect and create shared experiences and memories and become a real family.
Ask yourself, how can I create deeper connections with my business partners?
Every Action You Take = Branding
Zappos never spent much money on traditional, paid advertising or marketing. The biggest driver of growth is repeat customers and word of mouth.
The company’s philosophy has been to invest in customer service and customer experience, which leads to more and happier customers and more word of mouth. The now well-known free shipping, both ways, and the call center that’s open 24/7 are two examples.
In fact, Tony views the call center as a great way to increase the lifetime value of a customer because it’s an opportunity to create more “positive emotional associations” with the Zappos brand.
There are many, many stories about how well Zappos customer service reps listen to what their customers say and then take action to create incredible customer experiences for them.
These stories are not generated out of a PR department. In fact, Tony talks about how the company didn’t set out to get media coverage, but that it came as a result of their focus on improving the customer experience and building a strong corporate culture.
If your company is doing interesting things, the press will find out about it naturally.
What can you do to create outstanding experiences?
Problems = Growth
How many times have you wished your problems would just disappear so you could enjoy a smooth ride?
Ha, I’m smiling because over all these years of running my business and personal growth, I’m finally and really “getting” this concept.
As Tony says, “We grow because we take on new challenges, and we face even more new challenges because we’re growing. It’s an endless cycle, and it’s a good thing: it’s the only way for a company to survive.”
I add that it’s the only way for anyone to survive. The sooner you realize that those “problems” are disguised opportunities, the happier you’ll be!
How do you stretch yourself and your company every day?
Since Zappos’ higher purpose is to “deliver happiness to the world,” Tony concludes the book with the hope that it inspires readers to make their customers happier, employees happier or themselves happier.
What can be better than that?
More from Women Grow Business:
- Lori on reaping the rewards of consistency in business
- Thursday Bram on giving back by encouraging entrepreneurship
Image: hale_popoki’s Flickrstream, Creative Commons
Regular contributor Lori Saitz is founder of Zen Rabbit Baking Company. She shares happiness by helping business people show appreciation for and give recognition to customers and employees with The Gratitude Cookie™. With an understanding of the value of creating strong connections and experiences, she supports clients in increasing customer loyalty, referrals and profits. Connect with Lori on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.