Last Friday the CX world was in shock after having read about the legendary Tony Hsieh having passed away because of some kind of house fire. Details are slow to come out, but what’s more important is the legacy he left.
I learned about Tony when he was the leader at Zappos. Zappos was a shoe company that let you get shoes online, and if you didn’t like them you could return them. What could possibly go wrong with that model, right? Turns out, the execution of this business was excellent, and Amazon would acquire Zappos for almost a billion dollars.
This didn’t happen because Tony made sure to have a big inventory, or because of the revolutionary return policy (although I’m sure that helped a lot). Tony’s success came because he looked at the customer experience completely different than anyone else had, at least with selling goods from a website.
I remember hearing of the crazy CX team environments Tony created. CX… you know, that department with high turnover? Not requiring a college education, not empowered to make decisions that are best for the customer, and usually stepping-stone jobs that, if you prove yourself, can help you get into better departments?
Not the CX department of Zappos. I have a friend who was in Las Vegas, where Zappos was headquartered, and they got on a special shuttle to go to the Zappos office to get a tour. What company does that? A shuttle from the airport for a tour?
Zappos did, because they were so amazing that people had to see it with their own eyes.
This is what Tony created.
Do me a favor and read up on Tony. Whether it is his book Delivering Happiness, the Wikipedia page on Tony, or any of the many tweets and articles talking about his legacy, Tony would have liked nothing more than to know that you were impacted by his ideas to make your environment better.
One of the many things I’ve gotten from Tony is how he cared about people. He cared about his CX team, and empowered them. He made it really fun to work there, and allowed them to do right by the customer. He cared about his customers, who he helped delight. People over profits, which led to amazing businesses.
I realizing I’m not even mentioning his life before or after Zappos. Both are fascinating. I’ll let you read up on him and be inspired by him. I know I have.