The Book: Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh, Business Plus, 270 Pages, $23.99 Hardcover, June 2010.
I have always believed that great customer service is remembered long after the purchased product has been forgotten. My goal at 800-CEO-READ has been to create a company focused on the customer experience, not only connecting customers with the books and knowledge they need, but also offering top-of-the-line customer service as modeled by such outstanding service companies as Nordstrom and Lands' End.
Just as we have based our customer service mission on other successful retailers, any company looking to up its concentration on the customer experience should look to Zappos as an icon. The (originally) online shoe company's leader, Tony Hsieh, has written the best book on creating a customer experience I have read in quite awhile.
Hsieh not only created an astoundingly successful online retail that strived to "deliver WOW through service," he also created an incredible corporate culture. As the title of the book states, delivering happiness is the company's main goal—happiness both beyond and within the company. Committed to helping employees grow both professionally and personally, Zappos was picked, in 2009, by Fortune magazine as one of the top 25 companies to work for.
So, in terms of this book, how is all this "happiness" delivered? Just like everything else Hsieh has done: successfully. Hsieh tells his life story and weaves his experiences into his description of how Zappos is run. For example, Hsieh is a poker player of some regard, and he applies that expertise to his business strategy: "I'd realized that whether in poker, in business, or in life, it was easy to get caught up and engrossed in what I was currently doing, and that made it easy to forget that I always had the option to change tables. Psychologically, it's hard because of all the inertia to overcome. Without conscious and deliberate effort, inertia always wins."
Delivering Happiness is a real take-to-the-bank book about developing a truly customer-centric, as well as an employee-centric, organization, all delivered with insight and humor.
Reviewer Jack Covert is the founder of 800-CEO-READ, a leading bookseller to corporations and large organizations, based in Milwaukee.