Zappos – Delivering Happiness Through Customer Service and Corporate Culture

Relationship marketing is the new currency.


Jon Wolske of Zappos speaks about company culture in a lecture hall at UBCODefining your brand, or your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), can sometimes be hard to pin down. That doesn’t seem to be the case with Zappos –  “a customer service company that happens to sell shoes” as Zappos Customer Evangelist Jon Wolske said during a presentation I attended yesterday.


What makes Zappos special is that from the beginning they created a corporate culture with core values like WOW customer service, embracing change, and creating fun that permeate every aspect of the company. The company was so successful that it was bought by Amazon in 2009 for a cool $900 million, and later Zappos Insights was launched “to help businesses with their cultures…and deliver happiness around the world”.


If you’re not already familiar with Zappos, take a peek at this video – it’s a glimpse of what it’s like to work in an environment that’s a little bit crazy. CEO Tony Hsieh introduces his book called “Delivering Happiness” which is based on the Zappos customer service model.


In a world where it’s often about the bottom line, it was refreshing to see Jon speak passionately about how they value their people – both staff and customers. And how treating people exceptionally is seen as a positive and worthwhile  investment.


We’re all in the customer service and sales business.


In this new age that mixes traditional and online marketing, one aspect that is stronger than ever is building and nurturing relationships. I’m a big advocate of relationship marketing which emphasizes customer retention and satisfaction, rather than a dominant focus on sales.


No matter what business you are in, whether you are an entrepreneur, a small Mom and Pop shop, or a corporate giant, providing exceptional customer service should be the cornerstone of  your brand. From shaking hands at networking events, to your website and social networks, to the voicemail message on your phone – every touchpoint where clients or other businesses can hear and feel “Brand You”, it’s important to leave a good impression.


List of 10 core values by shoe company Zappos



Jon said it quite simply: How do you define your culture? It’s a huge question. At the heart of it is “who are you really?”


p.s. Thanks to Accelerate Okanagan for putting on another great ignITE event.



I agree Angelique, customer retention and satisfaction is more important than sales. If you take care of these two things the sales will ultimately flow. It sounds like you really enjoyed the presentation.

Angelique says:

It was really informative, and useful for people in any industry. Zappos has been a big inspiration since I heard about the company a few years ago. They are practically famous for customers service and an amazing place to work.

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