The Culture Race Is On
I just bought a new pair of sneakers (aka trainers, tennis shoes, etc.). As a runner, I really like the Nike Flex line. They’re lightweight and comfortable, yet also stylish. Before I made my purchase, I looked up the shoes at a few online stores. I ultimately settled on Zappos.
You can probably guess the reasons why. Zappos doesn’t have the cheapest prices, but price isn’t my only deciding factor. If there is a problem with the order or the shoes, I know it will get solved right away. Zappos customer service reps are available 24/7 by phone, chat, email, and social media. I get free shipping both ways if the shoes don’t fit, and most importantly, I trust that the company only stocks products it thinks are worthy of its customers. I feel like a valued part of the Zappos community when I shop there, not just an order number.
This issue of the journal is all about the role that company culture plays in enabling great customer experiences, so of course I had to bring up Zappos. CEO Tony Hsieh often talks about how customer centricity is a byproduct of a great culture.
It makes common sense, but it’s an area where few companies pay little more than lip service. Culture is hard to measure and quantify. It’s also hard to influence, because there are a number of factors that go into creating or changing a culture. Many are emotional, not rational, and can’t be dictated by directive.
The stories in this issue explore how the individual colors and swirls of every department come together to paint an organization’s cultural picture. With strong leadership and consistent commitment to corporate culture, the picture will emerge as a splendid customer experience.