Why Zappos’ Training Program is Insane

As one of the coveted Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list six years in a row, Zappos has used its employees to become a billion-dollar e-tailer.

In the midst of stunning growth, Zappos has continued it’s endless and fearless striving toward the best possible customer service. The company offers lightening fast shipping at no additional cost and even covers the return shipping if their customers are not happy at any time for any reason.

More importantly, each of their employees are required to complete an intensive four-week training program, which isn’t cheap. Simply put, Zappos spares no expense on training to ensure their employees uphold the industry benchmark it has set for customer service.

Continue reading to learn more about Zappos training and “The Offer” most new hires simply refuse.

It all starts with training

Zappos understands the importance of sufficient training and submerges each new employee in it’s in-house program to learn about the dynamic company culture, the business processes, and strategy. After about one week of what appears to be a normal training, things get kind of insane.

Then Zappos makes The Offer:

“If you quit today, we will pay you for the amount of time you have worked, plus a $2,000 bonus.”

The CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsie, says only 2% to 3% take the offer.

What’s behind the insane offer

“The Offer” is motivated by the unparalleled importance of the company’s character. If it’s managed properly, the character can be transformed into a dynamic and formidable competitive advantage. At the same time, corporate character is highly difficult to manage.

However, Zappos works on the notion that if you truly want to leave your customers in awe, you must amaze your employees. Then, you must inspire those same employees to deliver the same amazing experience to everyone who comes in contact with your company.

Insanity makes sense

You should keep in mind the folks over at Zappos are not just throwing money away on “The Offer.” In reality, this practice is well-calculated and saves money down the road.

When you hire new employees, there are relatively gargantuan costs associated, such as training, recruiting, and lost productivity. So, when the company gives those who are not committed – the mistfits – an easy way out, it equates to one of the best deals an organization can make.

What’s the Zappos training structure?

To nail home the key of customer service, the first week of training includes topics like how to operate the phones to special seminars on the diverse Zappos culture and core values.

In week two, employees are trained on in-depth call center training and are submerged into the world of customer service. All employees who are planning on staying in the call center stay for an additional three weeks of training on the phone lines.

According to the president of Sterling Consulting Group in Sausalito, California, “It costs five times more to get a new customer than to retain an old one.” As a result, you must spend more marketing dollars to attract new customers when you lose customers based on customer service.

Instead of going through the rigorous process of attracting new customers, it’s best to make sure the ones you have are loyal. Zappos does this by making insane training programs a part of their culture. As a result, the company doesn’t have many customers, it has boatloads of raving fans.

Learn how companies use Lessonly to ramp up their customer service training here.

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