Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Scary Business Metrics and Zappos

Metrics feel scary sometimes. The VP of Sales and Marketing at one startup I worked with was terrified of numeric accountability. He treated web traffic like a state secret. The number of potential customers spoken to? According to him, that's not important, and it's a secret anyhow.

Contrast that with Zappos. Zappos really faces numeric fear head on: they put call center stats on the wall where even silly tourists can see them! And then, when the tourists can see them, the guide stops and points at the darned thing. Oh no!

No fear here. The Zappos folks are excited about their numbers.

Zappos Call Statistics
Be sure to click on the photo to see the full sized version.

I think that putting a chart like this on the wall sends several messages:

  1. We're doing important stuff
  2. Improve these numbers and our business will improve
  3. Everyone is an active participants in the success of the business
  4. We won't be embarrassed if the numbers aren't perfect (check out the photo -- they answered phones faster last year)
  5. We're not so serious that we have to write "December" in one color

Put your numbers on the wall, tape some flowers on the top, and start building your business. Be sure to take the Zappos Insights tour next time you're in Las Vegas too. It shocked me how fun and inspiring it was!

3 comments:

bassred said...

Thanks for this post! As we go through a tough incident, we need to keep transparency as top-of-mind as we can. We are all pitching in to reply to customers so that everyone with questions/concerns is taken care of in a timely manner.

Thanks for joining us! I am glad you enjoyed the tour

-Jon (Zappos Insights)

John M. P. Knox said...

Thanks Jon,

Now I'm blown away that you saw my post and responded to it!

Thanks for reminding me how everybody pitches in to answer calls during the holidays -- I understand that even Tony Hsieh will help. Now that is team spirit.

Richard C. Lambert said...
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