Case Study 3: Zappos Delivering Customer Satisfaction

Case Study 3: Zappos: Delivering Customer Satisfaction

HRM 522

Zappos: Delivering Customer Satisfaction

Zappos was founded in 1999 by a man named Nick Swinmurn. His idea for Zappos was due to a personal shopping trip to purchase shoes form himself and were unsuccessful (Ferrell,Fraedrich, Ferrell 2013). Zappos today is more than it was back when it began. It is now a billion-dollar company that sells more than just shoes. While like many companies, Zappos has had its share of good and bad but they have overcome this and in 2010 Amazon purchased them.

Zappos Fostered Culture of Ethicalness

The ethical culture Zappos began with and continued with until its sale was ultimately one of the best business models seen. They have ten core values of which they follow as their guide in all activities at the company. Some of these values are not seen or heard of today in the most basic of companies. These core values for Zappos are as follows:

(Zappos, 2013).

  • delivering the WOW through service,
  • embrace and drive change,
  • create fun and little weirdness,
  • be adventurous creative and open-minded,
  • peruse growth and learning,
  • build honest relationships with communication,
  • build a positive team and family spirit,
  • do more with less,
  • be passionate and determined and lastly
  • be humble

By reading the core values above show how Zappos is not the same as other companies, they truly are as they call themselves traditional. It shows Zappos is committed to the well-being of the employees and all their customers.

Mimicking the Culture

In today’s economy, there is a need for money and fast money at that. Zappos business model was done to develop customer relationships. These relationships are long-term ones; they want their customers to know they can continue to come to them for all their needs and they will be treated with the same great service as the time before. Another thing Zappos is great at is its transparency. They have nothing to hide from the employees or the customers ever. They have an open and honest relationship with everyone and in today’s day in age this is rare and refreshing! Other companies and businesses should see Zappos as a great leader or a type of role model. They are what businesses should be and they should all want to follow in these footprints. Rewriting their core values is a start and also incorporating the transparency factor will change so many businesses. Gough (1998) stated, ‘‘the all-important connecting link between knowing right and good and doing right and goodwill always be having the character to do what is right and good’’ (p. 53). This goes hand in hand with what Zappos does and what others should do as well.

Ethical Practices and Stakeholders

The standards of professional conduct are called ethical practices. These ethical practices are found in all businesses, but each business has its own style and standards. What some forget to understand is that customers are key stakeholders. They help the business establish a firm reputation, a relationship of mutual expectations. Zappos stands by its business model of strong long-term customer service. The ethical practices and philosophy with Zappos and its stakeholders are priceless! They truly strive to let everyone know their customers are number one and they will do all they need to demonstrate it. It is not only what they say but what they do.

Ethical Challenges

Three of the ethical challenges Zappos may face are employee behavior, work conditions and customer relations. While work conditions can be standard it is not known how the other employees and staff will be that day. There may also be workers that are not aware of the core values Zappos has and this is when it may become an issue. Zappos has an excellent core value list and they thrive on open communication. In order for Zappos to address any of these ethical challenges it will continue to communicate everything with everyone all the time. There are no secrets, there are no lies and there is no sugar coating anything. Everyone is expected to do their best all the time and have fun while doing it. They also have fabulous work conditions and benefits which not many companies offer their employees… I mean, who now a day gets 100% health care benefits paid! As far as customer relations, Zappos does not seem to have any issues there either but if they would they would keep making their customers number one always. Meetings, training, and communication are key elements when facing any challenges in ethics or in anything in general.

Effectiveness of Core Values

The core values are basically the heart of the company. They show what the company is all about and how they do what they do. The effectiveness of the core values has helped this company thrive even when they thought it was impossible. The manners in which the core everything Zappos was, is, and will continue to be. They see one customer’s great experience turn into more and this is also free advertising. There is nothing better than word of mouth as the way to spread the news about products, sites, and customer service experience. Stakeholders want to call a place and speak to people that are passionate about their job and products, we all want this!

Zappos Management

Resolving ethical challenges Zappos has faced differently is not something I would have done. I feel Zappos has done an amazing job ensuring employees and customers alike are the best at their jobs and the best fit for Zappos. The way the CEO Tony Hsieh has Zappos culture is unlike anything I have ever known. Attracting talented people who enjoy their work and service is ideal. Clearly it is also being shown with the numbers climbing as they have been in sales. Having happy, fun employees is what customers are feeling on the other side of the phone, computer, or mail system. It is like the saying says service with a smile! Someone can always tell when the person on the other end of the phone is in a bad mood or they are horrible at their job. Zappos is one amazing company to work for and management is doing something right.

AsHatcher (2002) indicated it is essential that leaders take responsibility for establishing a climate of integrity. Zappos seems to be doing this and doing this in a very right way!


Ferrell, O. C, Fraedrich, J., Ferrell, L (2013). Business Ethics, Ethical Decision Making and

Cases (10th ed.) Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning

Gough, R. W. (1998). Character is destiny: The value of personalethics in everyday life.

Roseville, CA: Prima Publishing.

Hatcher, T. (2002). Ethics and HRD: A new approach to leadingresponsible organization.

Boulder, CO: Perseus Publishing

Henrique, 1., & Sadorsky, P. 1999. The relationship betweenenvironmental commitment and

managerial perceptions of stakeholder importance. Academy of Management Journal,

42(1); 89-99

Zappos, “Zappos Family Core Values,” (accessed June 5, 2016).

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