A great brand boils down to the experiences it delivers. That assumption begs the question what is at the core of delivering a great customer experience time after time? We hear a lot of talk these days about customer-centric design, or embedding purpose into each moment of interaction, or how storytelling is crucial to ensuring your brand resonates at an emotional level. While, arguably these are all incredibly true, we would simply suggest that great brand experiences come from the people inside your organization. What if truly great brand experiences emerge when customer needs, wants and emotions collide with the purpose, passion and talents of the individuals inside your company? What kind of internal environment might be needed to foster that kind of sustainable connection? Simply said, what if great experiences and the brands that result are built from the inside-out? That would be an idea worth exploring.
Zappo’s has become widely known (with countless online stories) for building an internal culture that empowers their employees to creatively connect with their customers in a way. This connection breeds happiness, a little weirdness, and often delight, Now, they’ve recently announced a new workforce scheduling philosophy that could take the employee and customer experience to a new level. The idea is to give call center employees the flexibility to schedule their hours in an ‘open market’ that pays more during times of high call demand. Essentially, the process empowers their employees to not only choose their own schedule but decide how much intensity they are willing to take on during their week while being compensated accordingly. How this will translate to the customer experience, time will tell. But, logically speaking, customers will now be talking to call agents who WANT to be there at that specific time and are fully present and focused because they’ve been given the freedom to schedule around their personal lives.
Zappo’s has been revolutionary in creating a culture that empowers their employees in terms of HOW they do their job in service to the customer. Now, they’re amping it up a notch and giving employees the freedom as to WHEN they do their job. We’ll be watching closely to see how this plays out. But our guess is that creative and joyful responses to individual customer needs will only continue to progress along with the Zappo’s overall brand experience.
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