When the Customer Wants a Pizza

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It’s early morning after a shoe sales conference in Santa Monica, California. A group of friends – including Tony Hsieh, head of the online clothing giant Zappos – is stuck in a hotel room, hungry and a little inebriated.

Room service doesn’t deliver after 11 p.m. Hsieh dares someone to call Zappos and order a pizza instead.

The customer service rep who answers the phone is polite, if a little confused. She puts the group on hold. A few minutes later she returns with a list of the five closest pizza joints in Santa Monica that are still open and delivering.

This story comes from Delivering Happiness, the book Hsieh wrote about how he and his team grew Zappos so quickly that Amazon bought the company in a deal worth more than $1 billion. This book had a huge impact on Yalla’s core values, and the pizza anecdote is a good example of why.

Like Zappos, we think of ourselves as being in the customer service business first and foremost. Clients and partners value a company that treats them with respect – even when all they want is a pizza.

Customer service is at the front of our mind whenever we make a hiring decision here. Is this web designer going to stay on the phone with a client for an hour, answering every one of their questions, if that’s what the customer wants? Would the head of our internet marketing team help a caller find a late-night pizza place?

Zappos takes it a step further. Every employee spends their first four weeks in the company’s call center, drilling the importance of customer service into their brain. Imagine how much better every one of those workers will be at their job after that. And how much more connected they’ll feel to the company and its customers.

As someone who works at a marketing agency, I can say with confidence that this mentality will do you more good over the life of your business than you can imagine. Once you’ve helped someone find a midnight pizza, they’re going to be a lifelong customer. They’re going to tell their friends. And hey, maybe they’ll even send you a slice.

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