Zappos' Service Commitment Shines Through on Tour

Campus visit illustrates how the online retailer's core values align with those of CUs.

April 6, 2015

Zappos' Service Commitment Shines Through on Tour

A trip to Zappos’ corporate headquarters confirmed for Lori Vana that the online retailer shares two core values with the credit union movement: customer service and prioritizing people.

Vana, business development manager at $339 million asset Linn Area Credit Union in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, participated in "The Ultimate Zappos Experience" in Las Vegas last week with a select group of CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference attendees.

The special preconference event included a private tour of the company’s downtown campus and a one-hour presentation by a Zappos “culture expert.”

Vana’s takeaways include “incorporating ‘wow’ experiences into your credit union's incentive plan”—an approach her credit union already employs.

Linn Area instituted a program where management and peers attempt to catch a teammate in a “WOW”—a moment in which a team member provides service above and beyond expectations. Positive member comments and surveys also count toward a WOW.

For every WOW moment tracked, the credit union contributes $25 into its profit-sharing plan, representing an incentive that’s truly team-based.

Craig Codia, vice president and chief marketing officer at $195 million Beehive Federal Credit Union in Rexburg, Idaho, came away impressed with the accessibility of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and the firm's careful and selective hiring process.

Codia attributes the consistent enthusiasm and engagement of employees at every level of the organization as pivotal factors in Zappos' bottom-line success.

One of the tour drivers shared with Codia that on his first day working at Zappos, he met Hsieh—but the CEO was so unassuming and down-to-earth that only later did the driver realize it was Hsieh.

Another tour takeaway: A customer service representative shared how he Zappos empowered him to stay on the phone with one customer for more than four hours.

Although that’s an extreme example of the company’s unrelenting commitment to service, Zappos encourages this type of interaction and relationship-building with its customers.