As the stories continue to roll in from Thursday all reports indicate year one was a success! A big thanks to everyone involved for taking a chance and letting your customers in. Of particular interest for me is the range of ways people have executed this concept. Much of the hesitation from potential participants came from people who were just not sure what to make of the idea — uncertain how it could work for their group. So it’s awesome to see how some parties got creative given their circumstances.
Examples of the different approaches: the Museum of Life + Science took members behind the scenes of exhibits, Steam Whistle Brewery held an “employee for a day” contest, and Vicki at ThreeWheels gave us a virtual tour of her home office (we heard a lot of “I’d love to participate, but I work from home”). As I mentioned leading up to the day, ‘there was no specific right way to Take Your Customer To Work – what was important was giving customers a behind the scenes glimpse of what you do’. I think it’s safe to say all our participants met this objective, and had some fun along the way!
UPDATE: If you will be in Las Vegas on May 28th and would like to visit Zappos please send me an email at hazell[dot]sean[at]gmail[dot]com
When I first considered trying to bring this idea to life, I began thinking of potential partners that would help to legitimize it. At the very top of that list was Zappos.com – probably the most transparent company in the world (with sales of over $ 1B).
I’m sure most of you are familiar with the Zappos story. But if not, these two posts from CEO Tony Hsieh offer a good run-down of their commitment to transparency:
1) Your Culture is Your Brand
One of the great advantages of focusing on culture is when reporters come and visit our offices. Unlike most companies, we don’t give reporters a small list of people they’re allowed to talk to. Instead, we encourage them to wander around and talk to whoever they want. It’s our way of being as transparent as possible, which is part of our culture.
2) An Open Email Explaining Layoffs
I know that many tears were shed today, both by laid-off and non-laid-off employees alike. Given our family culture, our layoffs are much tougher emotionally than they would be at many other companies.
I’ve been asked by some employees whether it’s okay to twitter about what’s going on. Our Twitter policy remains the same as it’s always been: just be real, and use your best judgement.
Not surprisingly, Tony’s accessibility and openness made it very easy to connect with the company and share my idea.
As for how Zappos will implement Take Your Customer To Work Day, they already offer tours – so the concept itself is hardly a stretch. The finer details are still being worked out, but on May 28th it looks like they will augment public tours with an opportunity to sit down and spend some time with their famous Customer Loyalty Team (CSRs) as well.
All in all a very exciting initial partner here. I hope they inspire you to open up and get involved too!