Zappos: No hard-sell here

so might understand that your thesis is

that Zappos although it does deliver

shoes what it really delivers is

happiness to its customers that sounds

silly but you you mean it right yeah

well I mean it's definitely evolved over

the year so we didn't have this plan

from the beginnings that we've been

around for 11 years and in 1999 when the

company was founded the vision was let's

just sell a lot of shoes and have the

brand be about selection and then in two

thousand three four years into it was

when we decided instead of being about

the shoes let's actually be about

customer service and hopefully ten years

from now people won't even realize we

started out selling shoes online and in

fact today we sell a lot more than shoes

we sell clothing beauty products

housewares kitchenware and so on and

really ultimately built as Apple's

Brandi without the very best customer

service whether it's an e-commerce or

even something offline like Airlines or

hotels Zappos has a lot of unusual

practices you know paying employees who

aren't going to fit in any way to leave

as one you also have a policy against

trying to upsell customers on the

telephone can you explain that well it's

not really i would say against trying to

upsell we you know if the customer wants

us to make suggestions then we'll

certainly do that for additional

products but it's more about just doing

what would be the best service for the

customer so most of the time customers

don't want to be sold to and we really

just view every interaction that we have

with customers through a branding lens

not through a revenue generation lens

and not through an expense minimization

or efficiency lens it's how do we brands

apples to be about the very best

customer service and customer experience

and in most cases that means you don't

try to upsell and and in fact if

someone's looking for a pair of shoes

and if we're out of stock of their

particular size everyone's trained to

look actually look on competitor

websites and direct the customer to that

competitor if it's in stock there

because that's the best and for that

specific scenario that's the best way to

brand supposed to be about the best

service have you ever you know mixed it

up with the weather it's other business

people or business professors who have

said come on upselling is a

well-established tradition if you don't

do it you're not maximizing you know

you're not maximizing your profit

potential for example we know where I

mean obviously if we were referring

customers and competitors that's not

maximizing profit potential well I would

argue that's good business you can't

satisfy that customer so it's a very

good customer service to help them get

satisfied but sort of passing on the

opportunity to sell them more because

you don't want to offend them I could

just see some saying that's um you know

you almost acting like you don't care

about making money well for us on any

given day about 75% of our orders from

repeat customers and that's really you

know because of the loyalty that we've

gained over the years because we're not

always trying to squeeze every last

dollar out of them and you despite the

down economy over the past 24 months

we've actually continue to grow year

over year and a lot of people ask us

what do we do differently during the bad

economy and the answer is nothing we did

nothing differently and it's actually

not about anything we did during the

last 24 months it's about what we did

prior to that in doing that included not

trying to upsell them not trying to get

them off the phone all in the name of

efficiency and really our customers

remain loyal because of stuff we did two

three four years ago but events

theoretically could overtake you I mean

let's I don't know how many years in the

future we should you know gameplay this

but let's say seven years into the

future you've done a great job of hiring

good people you continue to build the

company but for whatever a variety of

reasons revenue slowed dramatically what

would you do then

I guess we'll cross that bridge when we

get there right now we're just focused

on continuing to trying to actually try

to figure out how to keep up with a

business that's growing quickly and that

probably for us I think makes more sense

to focus on that right now