Las Vegas, NV August 4, 2015 — More than two dozen of the North American Home Furnishings Association’s Next Generation NOW members took a break Monday from the Las Vegas Market to attend an exclusive tour of online shoe and apparel giant Zappos‘ headquarters.
Next Generation NOW members, a group of young home furnishings professionals dedicated to improving their industry, learned about the company’s unique work culture, where every employee has an equal say in the company and are evaluated and rewarded by their peers rather than their bosses. But the big takeaway for Next Generation NOW was learning more about Zappos’ exemplary customer service. Zappos does not like to use the phrase “phone calls.” Instead, the company refers to their incoming calls as PECs, or Personal Emotional Connection. Although less than 5 percent of Zappos’ customers do business with the company by phone, the Customer Loyalty Team goes out of its way to make sure customers are happy before hanging up. Team members are allowed to send thank-you notes, cookies, chocolate– even flowers –to customers to strengthen that relationship without having to receive approval from management.
Next Generation NOW member Nick Gates of Gates Home Furnishings in Grants Pass, Ore., was impressed with the company’s dedication to connecting with the customer. “It’s refreshing to look at how other companies address customer service,” said Gates. “We’re always looking at ways to improve our (customer service) rather than just have its purpose be to put out fires. (Zappos) comes at it from an entirely different approach and it pays off for them obviously.”
Gates enjoys the educational seminars and events the North American Home Furnishings Association puts together every year for Next Generation NOW members like himself. “When I’m at home in my bubble I get a lot of ideas in my head,” he said. “Next Gen is a place where those ideas can start to grow because I’m meeting with so many of my peers. Networking isn’t only about shaking hands. It’s about sharing ideas and getting to understand other perspectives and yourself better.”
Mary Frye, NAHFA’s executive vice president, said the association is committed to supporting Next Generation NOW members through educational seminars like Monday’s tour. “One of the things the association loves to do is help provide support and great educational opportunities likes the Zappos tour to Next Generation NOW members,” said Frye. “It’s a great opportunity for them to learn, and when Next Gen members learn, the industry as a whole learns and gets smarter.”
About the North American Home Furnishings Association:
The North American Home Furnishings Association (NAHFA) was founded in 2013 with the merger of the three largest home furnishings retailer associations in the U.S. The NAHFA is the nation’s largest organization devoted specifically to the needs and interests of home furnishings retailers, with more than 1,800 members representing more than 7,000 storefronts across all 50 states and several foreign countries. Association offices in the East, West, and Central United States provide its members with programs, resources, services, and a unified voice in government relations by partnering with home furnishings industry suppliers, vendors, affiliates, and other organizations. For more information on the NAHFA visit www.nahfa.org.
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