Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Would you take $1000 to quit your job? That's the question that online shoe retailer Zappos asks new employees.
Zappos sells over $1 billion worth of shoes every year and is legendary for its customer service.
Zappos has also mastered the art of telephone service—a black hole for most Internet retailers. Zappos publishes its 1-800 number on every singe page of the site—and its smart and entertaining call-center employees are free to do whatever it takes to make you happy. There are no scripts, no time limits on calls, no robotic behavior, and plenty of legendary stories about Zappos and its customers.
Coupled with fast and free shipping (with hassle-free returns), Zappos has built a reputation for being a different kind of online retailer. Would you believe a 365-day return policy? That's why new call center employees are given, one week into their training, "The Offer": “If you quit today, we will pay you for the amount of time you’ve worked, plus we will offer you a $1,000 bonus.”
The idea is to incentivize employees who don't fit into the company culture to quit early instead of finding out too late. Over time, the "bonus" has been increased from an initial $100 to $500 to the current $1000. About 10% of new employees take up the offer. And the bonus may get higher in the future.