Online shoe retailer Zappos is often cited in case studies about e-commerce and stellar customer service. This is a company that took considerable risk as an Internet start-up at a time when the bursting of the dot-com bubble was still wreaking havoc on Wall Street. In 2009, however, Zappos merged with Amazon for a cool $1.2 billion and became a popular subject of discussion among business scholars and analysts.
There is a lot to learn about Zappos, particularly with regard to corporate culture. A rich culture is something many businesses often talk about but fail to develop, leading to unhappy employees and an overall poor customer experience. Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh has promoted his company’s unique culture and effective implementation since 2010; he explains that fostering an enticing corporate culture translates into success thanks to the earnest contributions of associates.
Applying the Zappos culture to law firms
Putting clients first is standard practice at several law firms. Zappos believes that putting associates first results in happy clients since their interactions with the company will always be pleasant as a result. The process of empowering associates at Zappos can be equally used by an online retailer or a Charlotte personal bankruptcy law firm — happy employees are more productive employees.
The corporate culture established by Zappos finds its roots in the Theory Y of employee behavior, whereby associates who are satisfied with their role at the company are deeply committed to their organizations. The first step is to invite the right associates by defining an expansive vision. In the case of a bankruptcy firm, this means more than just filing for insolvency on behalf of clients; the vision must include the positive aspects of giving people a shot at starting over without financial constraints.
Zappos encourages associates to find their purpose and define what makes them special. For bankruptcy attorneys this could mean dealing effectively with creditors, getting along with a difficult trustee or upholding the firm’s values. Each law firm must have a set of priorities, and it is up to all employees to constantly preserve them.