Today, I spoke with Tony Hsieh, who is the CEO of Zappos, a brand that many of you are familiar with, especially my female readers. Tony has done an excellent job branding his company as the ultimate customer service machine. He has over 200,000 Twitter followers and what he’s done for Zappos has been one of the top social media case studies on the web. In this interview, we get a quick glimpse at his success.
Let’s say we stripped Zappos of social media tools. What would the company look like today?
I don’t think it would look that different. We’re not really focused on social media tools specifically. We’re focused on forming more personal emotional connections with our employees, our customers, and our vendors.
A lot of this happens over the phone (we don’t have scripts for our call center, for example), through email, and in person. Services like Twitter are just another way that enable us to connect with people.
What influence has your personal brand (the reputation you’ve built and your involvement in social media) had on your company?
We’re trying to brand Zappos, not me. So for example, you will find me as @zappos on Twitter.
How have you branded Zappos as a great place to work and orchestrated the corporate culture to embrace your core values?
We hire and fire people based on core values and company culture. You can learn more about our core values and company culture at: http://about.zappos.com
What is your favorite social media tool?
What are your top three tips for career development 2.0?
- Find a company whose vision has meaning to you – that you’d be willing to take a pay cut to go work at
- Make sure that company has a culture and core values that fit your personal core values
- Make sure that whatever you’re working on, you’re passionate about.
Tony Hsieh is the CEO of Zappos. He originally got involved with Zappos as an advisor and investor in 1999, about 2 months after the company was founded. Over time, Tony ended up spending more and more time with the company because it was both the most fun and the most promising out of all the companies that he was involved with. He eventually joined Zappos full time in 2000. Under his leadership, Zappos has grown gross merchandise sales from $1.6M in 2000 to over $1 billion in 2008 by focusing relentlessly on customer service. Tony co-founded LinkExchange, an advertising network that was successfully sold to Microsoft for $265M in 1998.