Communication is indicative of a process by taking recourse to which information is exchanged between the individuals by the using of symbols, signs and behaviour. The exchange pertaining to information can take place with the help of speaking, writing or by the using of any other medium. Effective communication is of crucial importance for the development of an organization. Communication has to play a crucial role in relation to all aspects of the business (Cornelissen & Cornelissen, 2017). It is of significant importance that the communication skills of the employees are effective that can help in achieving organizational efficiency. The communication skills whether it is in the written or in the oral form forms the crux pertaining to all kinds of business activities in an organization. Effective communication can act as the building block pertaining to an organization. It acts as the basic prerequisite in relation to attaining the organisational goals. Effective communication can help an organization in the perfect implementation of the organizational strategy (, 2017). Communication can be beneficial in resolving doubts and removing problems in the organization. Zappos is an online retailer that initially dealt with shoes and it helps in delivering happiness to the different stakeholders. It offers the best service and it was named “Zappos” after that of the Spanish word in relation to the shoes. This report throws light on the internal and external problems pertaining to Zappos and provides the solutions to the key problems. It also provides recommendations that can help in mitigation of the problems related to communication in Zappos.
Key Communication problems in Zappos
Zappos is popular for being committed to the employees but the company had also to face the brunt on account of the hard economic times. In the year 2008, the economic downturn posed a threat for Zappos and the venture capital Sequoia Capital met with the company for discussing about the problems. Sequoia Capital ordered Zappos to cut the expenses so that it results into positive cash flow for the company. At this turbulent time, the CEO of the company had to face a difficult decision and laid off 8 % of the employees of Zappos. Zappos tried his best to handle layoffs in a manner that is respectful. An e-mail was sent to the employees that informed the employees regarding the decision of lay off. The management was upfront regarding the reasons for the lay off and it even discussed the move on that of the social platform (Wilson & Fiona, 2018). It showed the honesty along with transparency on the part of the company but the employees could have been more understanding had the message been delivered in a more appropriate manner.
Zappos had to face technical difficulties in the year 2011 which resulted into delays for the orders of the customers. The upgradation of the processing system of Zappos resulted into the delay of orders for Zappos. There were some orders that had incorrect shipping information that led the products to be shipped to that of the wrong location. This had resulted into upsetting different customers and Zappos assured the customers that it would try to get their merchandise as early as it is possible. The company provided different kinds of perks on the basis of the circumstance of the experience of the customers. Every item of 6pm.com that is one of the websites of Zappos was priced at $ 49.95 for that of six hours in the year 2010. The website had to be shut down by the company for that of a few hours so that the problem can be solved. It resulted into a loss of around $ 1.6 million for the company. This had resulted into dissatisfaction for the customers and appropriate communication could have helped in relieving the confusion that arose on account of the mishap (Barry & Wilkinson, 2016).
Zappos was instrumental in the creation of a marketing campaign in the year 2011 that was fashioned so that it can catch the attention of the people. The company brought out different advertisements that revealed people who were naked and doing different kinds of daily activities like that of running and driving of a scooter. The bodies of the bodies were blocked off by making use of a box and it bore the message “more than shoes”. The sexual nature pertaining to the advertisement received criticism from different quarters (Gagn?, Sharma & De Massis, 2014). The subjects in relation to the advertisements were actually not nude and they were wearing bathing suits or that of small shorts. This advertisement garnered a lot of negative attention and Zappos brought out an apology in relation to the advertisement. The media communication could have been done in a better manner in order to spread a positive image within the market (Cornelissen & Cornelissen, 2017).
The computer system of Zappos was misused by the hackers and the personal information of the customers were stolen of around 24 million customers. The data included the names, e-mail address and details about their credit card. This incident had seriously tarnished the image of the company in front of the public. E-mail was sent to the customers and it notified them regarding the security breach. Zappos provided assurance to the customers that their complete credit card information was not hacked. There were some customers who were not happy with the manner of handling of the hacking by Zappos. The disconnection of the call center further complicated the situation for Zapposand it tarnished the customer service record of the company.
Solutions to the Problems
The economic downturn that took place in the year 2008 forced Zappos to lay off many of the employees. The employees were communicated about this decision by taking recourse to e-mail. A meeting could have helped in communicating about the economic problem that could have helped in communicating the message to the employees regarding why they were being laid off by the company. Face-to-face communication could have been of immense help in communicating about the problems of the company and why such a decision was being taken by the company. Face-to-face communication could have helped in building trust along with credibility of the employees in the organization (Bratton, 2015). The relationships can grow with the help of face-to-face interaction and a meeting could have helped in expressing the dire situation of the company. This would have proved to be more helpful in highlighting the emergency of the current situation to the employees and making clear to them why such a decision was being taken. It has been found that the organizations work in the best manner when the employees feel empowered. Human relations Behaviour Theory is on the basis of studying the employee productivity in different kinds of work circumstances. This theory points forward that in the event of the employees feeling satisfied at work they would be able to increase their work productivity (Voinea et al., 2015). The employees in an organization have social and psychological needs along with that of the economic needs. The employees in an organization should be endowed with recognition, respect and freedom that can help in motivating them and increasing their organizational performance. It can be stated that proper communication of the problem to the employees with the help of the medium of face-to-face communication could have helped in maintaining the reputation of the company. The disgruntled employees can tarnish the image of the company in front of the world (Goetsch & Davis, 2014).
The technical difficulties gave rise to delay for the orders of the customers along with shipments in the tear 2011. The upgradation of processing system of Zappos was responsible for creating the technical difficulties. Service interruption is an inevitable part of the business process and effective communication can help to a great extent in dealing with the crisis. A significant impact can be made on the experience of the customers by laying stress on the aspect of communication with that of the customers. Zappos could have provided with accurate and timely information that could have been helpful in reducing the stress of the customers (Salem & Timmerman, 2017). The customers should be informed at the first instance in case of the lapse of processing system. They should be made known about the fact that the situation is being taken care of and active working is going on in relation to the problem. An e-mail could be sent to the customers whose orders have been deleted or delayed (Gagn?, Sharma & De Massis, 2014). This would help them in informing about the current problem in the company and their loyalty pertaining to the company would not be shaken (Certo, 2018). The decision making behaviour theory can be applied to the management of the company who has to take the daily decisions that has an effect on the company. On the basis of the decision-making theory the customers should have been informed personally about the failure of the processing system that could have been helpful in reducing the harassment on the part of the customers.
The marketing campaign of Zappos that featured people as if they were naked and it garnered a lot of negative remarks and comments. The advertisement should have focussed on a target audience who would receive in a positive manner the message of the advertisement. Appropriate information should have been provided to them that the subjects pertaining to the advertisement were wearing shorts and bathing suits beneath the box (Kwiatkowski, 2017). Communication to the right audience and the right message would have surely helped in removing negative criticism pertaining to the advertisement. The production process should have been made clear to them in the beginning instead of being done at a later stage. The decision making on the part of the top management of Zappos can have helped in removing the dissatisfaction of the people with this advertisement (Yamaguchi, 2017).
The computer system of Zappos being hacked led to the stealing of important personal information of the customers of the company. An e-mail was sent to the customers that informed them regarding the breach of security. The disconnection of the call centre led to discontent among the consumers. The management of Zappos had thought that the calls would overload the system and hence they had disconnected the call center. This gave rise to suspicion on the part of the customers and they would start doubting about the reputation of the company. The customer service record of Zapoos was blemished owing to this act and it lost the element of credibility (Tracy & Donovan, 2018). A comprehensive plan should have been created by Zappos that could have helped in reaching different audience- employees, customers and the business partners. The withholding of key information can prove to be disastrous for the image in relation to a brand and the information should have been shared publicly that could have helped in protecting the customers. The questions should have been anticipated by the Zappos call centre and they should have answered the questions in order to provide the customers with reassurance. Clear along with plain language answer on the part of the employees of the call center of Zappos could have helped in addressing the concerns of the customers. The emotional intelligence theory pertaining to organizational behaviour and it talks about how the factor of emotional intelligence can prove to be more important as compared to the technical skills (Pearson, 2016). The people in the management of an organization should be equipped with the right amount of emotional intelligence that can help them in understanding the reactions of the customers. This can prove to be an important element for the success of the organization and this can create engagement on the part of the consumers of a company. Emotional intelligence theory can be used in an organization for discriminating between the different emotions and for guiding the process of thinking of the customers. Emotional intelligence exhibited by the leadership in an organization can help him in navigation of the social environment and controlling the responses of the customers. This can help in building the brand value in relation to an organization. Emotional intelligence being displayed by the leaders of Zappos could have helped them in understanding the gravity of the situation from the point of view of the customers ( et al., 2016) It would have helped them in addressing the situation in the right manner. The queries of the customers should be addressed upfront instead of being avoided that can prove to be an important step in increasing the loyalty of consumers towars Zappos.
The economic problems that forced Zappos to lay off employees could have been communicated with the help of a meeting and it could have helped in reducing dissatisfaction among the employees. Lapse pertaining to the processing system of Zappos should have been informed at the very first instance to the customers that would have helped in resolving a lot of difficulties. The customers should be able to know the fact that action is being taken to resolve the crisis of Zappos. The advertisement of Zappos that showed people who were nude received a lot of negative criticism. Production process in relation to the advertisement should have been made clear to the audience that would have saved it a lot of trouble. In the event of the computer system of Zappos being hacked the call centre of the company was disconnected. This was a bad move on the part of the management of the company as it created panic among the customers of Zappos. Suspicion was created among the customers of Zappos on account of the faulty move taken by the management of the company. Management of Zappos had thought about the fact that too many calls would pave the way for overloading of the system. This move taken by Zappos created a lot of dissatisfaction among the customers of the company. Comprehensive plan made by Zappos that would have helped in reaching a huge range of audience could have helped the company in getting over the crisis.
Over-communication of a message can prove to be of great help for Zappos. This can help in removing a lot of doubts pertaining to the decisions taken by the company. All kinds of available forum can be used- e mail, news letter and social media for communicating about any problems in relation to the company. The employees along with the customers of the company should be able to know the reasons behind the decisions of the company. The management of Zappos should communicate to the employees why a particular decision is being taken and how it will of benefit for the company. The employees would only be able to support the goals along with organizational strategy in the event of them knowing in a detailed manner about the decisions of the company.
1) All kinds of available forum should be made use of for communication of important message
2) The employees along with the customers should be made known the reason behind the decisions of the organization
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