Decorations everywhere. Casual meeting rooms. Cheering. Bell ringing. Hooting and hollering. An armed battalion marching through the office. Personalized office space. CEO in a cubicle. Sharpie writing on the staircase wall. Free lunch, soda, and snacks. No, this is not a credit union...this is what I saw when I visited the Zappos headquarters last week in Las Vegas. But, that is only part of the story. This is a company with top of the line service levels, dedicated employees, and happy customers. I went into the tour as a credit union professional and wanted to see what components of the Zappos way could be adapted to a credit union. Now, I don't think most members would appreciate an armed battalion marching through the lobby singing Sound Off, but imagine a credit union that did that. What would it look like?
Would a fun and casual branch environment be more inviting to the younger demographic that most credit unions are trying to attract? Members would walk into a branch and each employee would have a personalized, decorated desk. Employees would ring a bell or do a cheer when a member pays off a loan, makes a savings goal, and sing happy birthday on a member's birthday. Members are randomly given surprise gifts or opportunities to play a game for a prize. Employees are allowed to dress however they choose as long as respectful. Ok, maybe that is a stretch and an inaccurate comparison since Zappos is not serving their customers face-to-face like a branch. But, sometimes you need to look at the extremes to come up with something new and innovative.
While the Zappos environment may not transfer very well to a credit union branch, what does transfer and should be looked at is their commitment to having top of the line customer service. Every employee spends time on the phone helping customers during their training. Yep, even the IT, back office employees, and management positions. This is because they are working to support those that help the customers. And, to stress the importance they are required to experience the job to better understand it. At your credit union, how many employees do you have that have never talked to a member or had to help a disgruntled one? I'm not sure I can think of a better way to emphasize the importance of good service throughout an organization.
Another thing Zappos does that is unique, they offer their employees $2,000 to leave after their initial training period. Yes, they will pay the employees to leave the organization. What a way to make sure you have the right employees. Think of your credit union employees right now, how many would take $2,000 to leave? And, what does that say about your organization?
Zappos uses Net Promoter Score to measure the organization's and their employees' service levels. They ask customers 3 main questions: Based on a scale of 0-10, 10 being the highest score, how likely are you to recommend Zappos to a friend or family member? On a scale of 0-10, if you had a company that was focused upon service, how likely would you be to hire this person to work for you? Overall, would you describe the service you received from ______ as good, bad, or fantastic? Wow, they ask if the customer would hire their employee; what a bold way to find out if your employee is providing excellent service.
I could write much more about my insights from the Zappos visit, but I'll close with a story that we were told that exemplifies their commitment to service. Their call center, called the Customer Loyalty Team, is not measured on their call time. What? Yes, they are not supposed to try to get the customers helped and off the phone as quickly as possible. Instead, they are supposed to take their time and help the customers as much as the customers need to be assisted. The Sunday before my visit to Zappos, they had their record length of customer assistance call. How long do you think it was? Take a second and think about the longest member service call you have probably had at your credit union. 10 minutes? 20 minutes? How about 7 hours and 28 minutes. That was the length of the Zappos customer service call. The previous record - over 5 hours. Customer Service Excellence!
Before leaving Zappos, we were given a copy of CEO Tony Hsieh's book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose. Another example of their culture, I walked out with a free book from a free tour. They live their culture. Now that I have written this post, I am off to read the book and expect to be further inspired.
This guest blog post was written by Carla Day from CU Chat Up.