Become a Service Company That Sells Title

October 13, 2017

Our Values

By Steven G. Day NTP

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh went from selling pizzas in his dorm room to leading the largest online shoe store in the world. What fascinates me is how he transformed Zappos into something much more by making company culture and customer service a priority. Tony has said that “Your culture is your brand. Customer service shouldn’t just be a department, it should be the entire company.”

A company’s culture manifests itself from core values. This is a simple, yet profound concept. Core values are the essence of the company’s identity—its principles and beliefs. Zappos formalized the definition of its culture into 10 core values ranging from delivering “wow” through service, to being humble. Tony is clear that an organization must adopt the values that work for them. It’s how they became a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes. It’s why Zappos doesn’t compete on price, but on service. But Tony doesn’t stop there. Take for instance Zappos hiring practices.

Zappos conducts two interviews for prospective employees—one that assesses skills and talents, the second to learn if a person fits with their corporate values.

Obsessed with finding the right employees, Zappos offers employees thousands of dollars to quit if the job isn’t for them. The goal is to encourage people to think about what they want. It’s not healthy for them or the company if they don’t like the job.

Tony says “The best businesses are ones that can combine passion, profits and purpose.” This same philosophy can be applied to our industry and operations. Think about these questions:

  • Do we allow our values to drive our actions?
  • Are we a customer service company that just happens to search titles and conduct closings?
  • Do we stress the importance of our values throughout the organization? 

Finding productive employees that embrace your company’s culture is just as vital to our industry, especially with the changing demands and needs of today’s customers. Policy and technology are changing the landscape of the title industry. Homebuyers are demanding more transparency during the closing process. To build trust with our customers, we must come together as leaders and identify new ways of continuing to deliver exceptional service. There’s no better place to be ready for what’s next than by joining us in Miami for ALTA ONE. You’ll leave inspired to develop innovative solutions to provide your customers what they will continue to want today, tomorrow and in the future.

Steve G. Day NTP is president-elect of the American Land Title Association. He will be inducted as president Oct. 13 during ALTA ONE in Miami.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or