From Apple To Zappos

When you think of innovative companies surely Apple comes to mind. For exceptional customer service Nordstrom is probably near the top of your list. If you could work for any company in the world, it’s likely you would choose Zappos. So what do these companies do that others do not. All we have to do is take a look at their corporate philosophy to learn why some companies are the better than the rest. Let’s look at why Amazon, Best Buy, Nike, Southwest, Starbucks, and others succeed where others fail when it comes to customer satisfaction, employee retention, and a robust bottom line.

1. Aflac “Diverse and Flexible.”
Like The Container Store, Aflac is run and staffed by women (2/3 of employees are female) and many of their policies reflect and favor this shift in gender.

2. Amazon “Everything we do is focused on the customer and making every interaction with us a little bit better.”
Founder Jeff Bezos made it clear the focus is always on the customer and that philosophy has created an award-winning customer service track record.

3. Apple “Life Made Easier.” “Think Different.” “The Power To Be Your Best.”
To me, the secret to Apple’s success is summed up in one word and that word is love. They continue to create products that not only work well (logic) but are also beautifully crafted (emotional).

4. Best Buy “Empowered Employees.”
When employees of Best Buy formed a Wild Idea Club they didn’t complain about their schedule, they fixed it with the win/win solution and proposal now known as the Results Oriented Work Environment.

5. Dreamworks “Make employees feel like owners and provide opportunities for career growth.”
Not only can any Dreamworks employee pitch an idea for a project to decision makers, they also get training on how to have perfect pitch with a program called “Life’s a Pitch”.

6. Marriott “Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your customers.”
During the recent downturn in the economy Marriott employees couldn’t get enough hours to qualify for insurance—so executives quickly changed the policy.

7. Nike “Just Do It.”
Before becoming the Nike co-founder, Bill Bowerman was a track coach looking for a way to make a better running shoe. He “Just Did It” in his kitchen using his wife’s waffle iron. Do what you can with what you have.

8. Nordstrom “Find a way to say YES to the customer.”
All we hear now is “No” so it makes sense that a company focused on finding creative ways to say “Yes” is successful. They simply hire good people and empower them to meet and exceed the customer’s expectations.

9. Southwest “You Are Now Free To Move About The Country.”
Their slogan (above) also applies to their own people who are free to find ways to make flying fun. The result is happy employees, loyal customers, and an airline that is number one in every category that counts.

9. Starbucks “My Starbucks”
The idea for the drive-through at Starbucks didn’t come from CEO Howard Schultz but from an employee who was able to submit his suggestion through the “My Starbucks” system.

10. Ritz Carlton “The Huddle.”
Before each shift managers huddle with their team to quickly talk about what to focus on for the day, celebrate the successes from yesterday, and listen to new ideas.

11. Zappos “Family.”
The fact Zappos went from zero to over $10 billion dollars in sales in ten years is in part the result of the family atmosphere employees enjoy at the successful online retailer. Plus they sell shoes . . .

INNOVATORS AMONG US: Click the link below for a list of the most innovative products of 2010 and what makes them great.


From Apple To Zappos

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