I am always amazed at entrepreneurs that have spent several years in the cleaning industry and feel like their education is done. Some of the best information comes from outside our industry and sometimes it is even free!
I recently read the story of Zappos titled Delivering Happiness. The book was written by the CEO Tony Hsieh. This is not intended to be a review of the book, just a few tidbits that can deliver a new perspective on business building.
For those of you that may not have a closet full of the latest fashionable shoes you may not know what Zappos does. They were the original online shoe store. That may not sound like the most innovative use of the Internet, but Tony and his management team grew the business enough that Amazon.com bought the company before its 10th birthday for 1.2 billion dollars.
If you think of your last experience dealing with a call center, it was probably not a pleasant one. Mentioning great customer service in the same sentence with a call center is a true oxymoron. This is where Zappos differentiated its company. Call center employees at Zappos are not required to use a script. They are told to do what is necessary to Wow! the customer regardless of how long it takes. This violates every rule in a call center.
Think about what you normally hear- “this call may be monitored for better service.” That usually means a supervisor is listening to every word and timing how many seconds it takes the operator to end the call. The goal is not great customer service but how many calls can the operator complete per hour!
Zappos took the Achilles Heel of the call center business and turned it into their differentiation or USP (unique service proposition.) Now ask yourself, what is the Achilles Heel of the cleaning industry? How you can use the common perception of our industry to your advantage?
After reading the book I noticed that Zappos had moved to Las Vegas and offered free tours of their company and the call center. Seeing that I was attending Connections in Sin City I signed up for the tour and immediately recruited Steve Toburen to join me. Once Nick Paolella, the founder of Jon-Don heard about it he said it looked like a great learning opportunity and is joining us for the tour as well.
Think about this. At 75 years old and having created the most successful distributorship in the industry, why does Nick need to bother with learning something new? Because when you stop learning your mind starts to atrophy and the long slow decline begins. Nick Paolella knows that anytime you have the opportunity to learn from an industry leader such as Zappos jump on it.
Stay tuned to this blog and we will tell you what we learned on our tour. If you are interested in the tour go to zappos.com and click Tours at the bottom of the page or click here. By the way, they will send a shuttle to pick you up and drop you off – for free!