How To Deliver Incredibly Bad Service.

This weekend, my family and I ventured to a large, local shoe store to pick up a pair of shoes for me and sneakers for my two sons. Not to bore you with a long story, here's what happened:

  1. Initially, no one approached us when we entered the store and began to look at shoes.
  2. Until I tried on a pair (the demo pair was my size) a salesman ran up to us to ask us if we would like to purchase the shoes.
  3. I asked the salesman (he's in his late 50's) about the relative merits of one shoe manufacturer over another — he had no clue. He also coughed like he had a bad disease. He followed (stalked) us all around the store — I got the feeling that he worked on commission and there was a 'territorial issue' with sales.
  4. Our sons shoes were actually from a 'half-off' rack in the front — discontinued styles — but brand new sneakers. Unfortunately, we thought the $80 sneakers were $40, but they were really $160 marked down to $80 (we found out when we were checking out). Honestly, these were not $160 sneakers.
  5. We left the store with a sour taste in our mouths and no shoes.

Guess what? I just made another purchase at one of my favorite companies, Zappos. Why are they my favorite? They exemplify good service, a large product selection, and reasonable prices. And no salespeople with tuberculosis.

I found the exact same shoes for me - for $5 less, free shipping, and no tax. My son's sneakers were also marked down to $52 from their original price of $80. Go figure.

At the bottom of Zappos' web page, something caught my eye: "As we grow as a company, it has become more and more important to explicitly define the core values from which we develop our culture, our brand, and our business strategies."

These are the ten core values that the Zappos family lives by:

  1. Deliver WOW Through Service
  2. Embrace and Drive Change
  3. Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
  4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
  5. Pursue Growth and Learning
  6. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
  7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  8. Do More With Less
  9. Be Passionate and Determined
  10. Be Humble

There aren't many companies I know that exemplify these values. Many of them have a hard time exemplifying just one of these values. My questions for you today:

What would your career be like if you came up with a list of YOUR own core values?

What would your company be like if you had your own list and published it?