How to Put the WOW Into Your Company’s Culture

October 19, 2017

Zappos has grown from an idea to $1.2 billion in sales under Tony Hsieh. The chief executive officer of the online shoe store leads Zappos for love, not money. He says he makes the daily choice to work for fun not money and this assures he is making the right decision. Would you do the same?

Speaking to more than 1,100 ALTA ONE attendees in Miami, Zappos’ Speaker of the House Erica Javellana shared Zappos’ core values, its approach to customer service and engagement, and how a culture of "wow" service can be applied to title companies.

Zappos was founded on the culture of WOW, defined by core values from which they develop their culture, brand and business strategies. Before sharing insights on how to embrace the core values that shape the WOW culture, Javellana explained how Zappos evolved into a culture-branded company.

“The initial strategy was to just make money and sell shoes the best way we know how. But it had to be bigger than that, so we slowly focused on things that mattered,” she said.

In 2004, the company moved its headquarters to Las Vegas and a year later was when Hsieh decided to invest in company culture.

“Our business strategy since has been to invest in company culture, with the belief that the culture will ultimately drive employee productivity and customer service quality,” said Javellana, who explained that culture is how things get done without people having to think about it.”

From there, Zappos developed core values that it was “willing to hire and fire on.”

“If we weren’t willing to do that, then they weren’t really values,” Hsieh has said in the past.

Javallena then outlined Zappos’ core values: 

  1. Deliver WOW Through Service
  2. Embrace and Drive Change
  3. Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
  4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
  5. Pursue Growth and Learning
  6. Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication
  7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  8. Do More with Less
  9. Be Passionate and Determined
  10. Be Humble

“Our customers are our heartbeat,” Javellana said. “When you think of wow, you think of going above and beyond. Industry standards for customer service aren’t very high. So it doesn’t take much to improve.”

To develop company core values, she suggests asking staff about culture and what makes them proud to work for the company. Everyone on staff—from leadership to the front-line employees—is responsible for the culture. But it takes practice and won’t happen overnight.

“Zappos is a service company that happens to sell shoes, clothing and stuff,” Javellana said. “We want to be known for a company of service. Ask yourselves, ‘How are you going to lead, deliver and protect?’”

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