At Zappos, Life Coach, Prom Theme Just Daily Occurence



Cory Bennett
07/06/2011

When Jane Judd joined Zappos six years ago, the company had 47 core values. With exhaustive company-wide input, the company’s CEO, Tony Hsieh, narrowed it down.

"February 14, you always remember Valentine’s day," said Judd, senior manager of Zappos’ Customer Loyalty team, with a laugh. "They narrowed it down to 10 values."

And Judd helps imbue these values into all Zappos’ employees. New hires have extensive training around all 10 values, each month the company picks a different value to celebrate. She shared her expertise at IQPC’s 12th Annual Call Center Week. CMIQ caught up with her after her presentation.

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"We did a prom theme around one of them [one month]," Judd said. "We try to make it fun, but there’s meaning behind it."

Ongoing training is centered on promoting one of the 10 values – preserving growth and learning.

"We don’t do metrics," Judd said. "It’s all based on skill sets. So for instance, if you wanted to join the live chat team, you can do that and it’s usually a four-month rotation and at the end of that you get a small [salary] increase and then if you want to join another team, you can do that."

Zappos has 21 different skill sets, and employees are allowed to move through their own "Journey Guide" at their own discretion.

"Your progression is your own journey and not driven by me," Judd said.

Zappos is consistently ranked among the best customer service companies and customer loyalty companies in the country. Company leadership knows that having engaged, committed employees is a large part of the reason. Employees are polled monthly about their satisfaction levels. Some weeks are "ask anything" weeks, where employees are given various time slots to vent any thoughts – positive or negative.

"We don’t have offices," Judd said. "We sit on the floor with our reps."

And sometimes employees sit in the famous "Dr. Vic" chair. Dr. Vic was an in-house life coach Zappos hired to help all employees – personally and professionally. Although he recently retired, the company has continued the practice, training an employee – formerly of Judd’s customer loyalty team – to be coach certified.

"[Our life coach] encourages people to se a 30-day goal," Judd said. "You can set up an appointment and then every 30 days, [we] host a celebration and get to recognize the employees that have achieved their goal."

Employees have saved up to buy a car, focused on training for a certain career arc at Zappos, anything that helps stave off the overwhelming feeling of trying to accomplish too many goals at once.

Check out the full interview with Judd – part one of a two-part interview with the Zappos’ Customer Loyalty team. Or see part two of the interview with Marlene Kanagusuku, manager of Zappos' Customer Loyalty team.

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