Spring ‘Zapp’ing

Daven J. Claerbout
Daven J. Claerbout

The spring is supposed to be the opportune time to refresh everything after a cold, hard, long winter… especially if you reside in the Midwest in 2014! Just when I thought it was going to warm up, another inch or two of snow was forecasted. So I guess, ‘so much for spring cleaning.’

Thank goodness that Rick Carlsen of Solar Plastics (who by the way is sending the snow our way) is creative and enjoys thinking outside the box. Rick arranged not only a presentation by an evangelist at the ARM Spring Forum, but also a tour of the ‘church’ the next day in the midst of ARM’s 2014 Spring Forum in Las Vegas.

Zappos’ Culture Evangelist, Jon Wolske gave an exceptional presentation to our Monday morning group of rotomolders and suppliers. It was Jon’s ‘last leg of his recent tour’ (he mentioned that he was going to be in the office that afternoon for the first time in two weeks). I don’t know that he saved the best for last, but if his first gig two weeks ago was as good as his last one, wow! Cut Jon’s veins and Zappos’ shoelaces might come out.

Jon ‘preached’ on a number of different philosophies regarding the Zappos culture including how they treat their customers and how they treat their employees. Great sermon, but I had to see it to believe it.

The next day, Zappos ‘Culture Equestrian’ Erika Newman gave us a fantastic tour of the Zappos corporate headquarters. In a nutshell, Erika was proof that the previous day’s sermon was full of facts, not just bullet points that intrigued me and kept my attention. Employees were friendly to us, upbeat, somewhat on the ‘other’ side 🙂 and just very, very gracious people. Meanwhile, customer phone calls resembled people calling in on help lines. Zappos personnel did just that, got personal with each customer and made sure the expectations were understood on both sides all the while having a dog barking in the background (which the Zappos employee inquired the dog’s name, breed, etc)!

A few hours after experiencing Zappos, it dawned on me; would I ever walk past a customer and not acknowledge them by name and ask how they were doing? Probably not. And at the same time, would I walk past an employee and not acknowledge them by name and ask how they were doing? Oh!

Amen brother, hear you loud and clear.

Daven J. Claerbout is the Vice-Chairman and Chief Relationship Officer of Dutchland Plastics. He is a Past President of ARM and a member of the Rotational Molding Hall of Fame.

The ARM Blog is written by a variety of leaders in the rotational molding industry. We encourage you to share your input in the comment section. If you’re interested in writing a post for the blog, email ARM staff at info@rotomolding.org.

One response to “Spring ‘Zapp’ing”

  1. Nice post, Daven. I’m also a firm believer that a company’s culture can be a key driver of success, particularly in the difficult-to-differentiate world in which we live.

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