As a customer, when you deal with someone who is not happy in their job, you know it. This person does not make you feel good about whatever you are asking him or her to do, even if it is routine. You walk away from the interaction feeling unsettled. This happens a lot at airports where you often encounter harried counter agents who are aggressive or unhelpful or aboard the airplane, where flight attendants barely greet you.
What happens if, on the other hand, you deal with someone who is happy with his or her job and company? You are treated well. That employee feels good and wants to help you. Happy employees want to do their jobs, and moreover, do them well.
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, the online shoe retailer, believes that happy employees will help the company with its bottom line. Hsieh and Zappos were profiled on CBS Sunday Morning, when viewers were shown in how many ways the company is different. Because Zappos only wants dedicated employees, the company offers a cash reward if someone wants to quit.
On the customer service end, Zappos is truly remarkable. Customer service reps do not have any time limits on calls. They will spend as much time as necessary to make a customer happy. According to CBS, the longest customer service call at Zappos lasted more than five hours!
Interviews with Zappos’ CSRs revealed that they are happy with their jobs, and not because they are better compensated then anywhere else. It is because the feel ownership, connection and satisfaction. They have leeway in working with customers. They are happy working at Zappos, and customers know it.
Hsieh has recently written a book based on his company’s experience: Delivering Happiness: A Path to Passion, Profits and Purpose. It should be a worthwhile read for anyone who sees the connection between employee morale and the bottom line.