Social Media Lessons From FedEx

Over the last few weeks, at least a dozen friends have commented on the lack of activity on this blog. This was inspiration enough.

I came across this interesting post by Matt Ceniceros about how FedEx is using social media to connect with its customers. In the post, Matt explains 5 lessons :

  1. Social media expedites your ability to intelligently gather information – gather information about feelings, perceptions, reactions & customer sentiments
  2. Social media humanizes a company – establish common ground for your company & brand
  3. Social media allows you to engage in in-depth conversations – its about sharing not selling, facilitate customer conversations & influence it
  4. Social media uncovers opportunities fast – enable real time relationships with customers
  5. Social media simply takes you back to basic – its all about communicating with your customers

Read the original post here

Amazon & Zappos on the same tree!

Jeff Bezos mentions in his video that he “gets all weak kneed” with customer obsessed company. Well, I am a sucker too for businesses & business cultures that make customer the focus of their existence. And its great to hear that two of these exemplary companies – Amazon & Zappos – are coming together (link to the news).

In announcing the coming together of these brands, Bezos mentions a short but complete list of his business principles.

  • Obsess Over Customers
  • Invent
  • Think Long Term
    Its always Day 1!

Tony Hsieh (CEO – a typical Zappos fun way to announce the news to Zappos employees.

Zappos‘ customer service obsession reinforces Amazon’s mission to be the earth’s most customer-centric company.”

Update: Check out the sequence of Tony’s tweets leading up to the announcement of the acquisition. Interesting.

  • Big day! Email I just sent to Zappos employees today about the Amazon acquisition – 1:32 PM Jul 22nd from web
  • “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” -JFK 7:02 AM Jul 22nd from web
  • “Some see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” -George Bernard Shaw 6:08 PM Jul 21st from web

Tony Hseih on Zappos Culture

Tony Hsieh

Download Audio File [link]

In this presentation at the Web 2.0 Conference, CEO Tony Hsieh talks about his first business selling pizza in college, starting Link Exchange after college, and how he eventually ended up leading Zappos as the CEO.  Tony discusses how his experience at Link Exchange influenced him to focus on corporate culture as a top priority, and why he thinks culture is so important to a company’s future growth and success.

Tony talks about the internal vision of Zappos not just to be an Internet footware merchant, but to be a brand that is known for an excellent customer experience.  He goes on to list a number of specific techniques that the company uses to enhance customer service, and explains why he thinks that the telephone is still one of the best branding devices available.

How do you define culture?  Tony talks about some of the core values of Zappos, and why it’s important to have values that aren’t just a plaque on a wall.  These values permeate every aspect of the company, and Tony details some of the hiring and training practices that Zappos uses to ensure that every employee fits into the corporate culture.

I read this good post on Peter Bregman’s How We Work HBP blog that made a lot of sense to me on multiple dimensions. 
Some of my take aways :
  • More often than not, the secret to customer loyalty lies in the little wows that you can generate across the customers’ experience of your product or service. 
  • The web of little wows across the experience life cycle involves contribution from across your workforce – thus making it harder to implement. And harder to copy & replicate too – thus a sustainable competitive advantage. 
  • A CIO I recently met was explaining about how his IT service help desk is the entry point for new IT graduates into his organization. Questioned on how he attracts top quality graduates into a help desk role, he answered that he looks at candidates for what they could be in the future – technical architects, business analysts, etc. – rather than just their fit into the help desk role. This potential based perspective also governs the way these candidates are treated & groomed at their first job. Sounds quite similar at Four Seasons too – potential to grow, potential to move to another resort, etc. 
  • Great way to build trust – create an opportunity to fulfill a commitment, even when one doesn’t naturally exist, and then fulfil it. This can so effectively be used across the experiential lifestyles of a customer. And when not practiced consistently, could just as easily build mistrust too. 
Nice article.