Zappos keeps Cyber Monday stress at bay with festive spirit

Customer Loyalty Team members, including Felisha Jones, help customers in the Zappos call center at Zappos headquarters in downtown Las Vegas on Cyber Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal Customer Loyalty Team member Daniela Martinez plays in a pool of sprinkles at the company‘s headquarters in downtown Las Vegas on Cyber Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal team members Shayna Rodero, left, and Haley Nye get free breakfast and snow cones at the company‘s headquarters in downtown Las Vegas on Cyber Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal team members including Allison Bentley, director of women‘s fashion, second from left, and Leslie Pie, Customer Loyalty Team member, prepare to work the phones at the company‘s headquarters in downtown Las Vegas on Cyber Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal Loyalty Team members, including Terry Domingo, help customers in the Zappos call center at Zappos headquarters in downtown Las Vegas on Cyber Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal Loyalty Team members, including Rachell Melenderz, help customers in the Zappos call center at Zappos headquarters in downtown Las Vegas on Cyber Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal Loyalty Team members, including Kim Robertson, help customers in the Zappos call center at Zappos headquarters in downtown Las Vegas on Cyber Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal Loyalty Team member Paul Gorecki helps customers in the Zappos call center at Zappos headquarters in downtown Las Vegas on Cyber Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal

On Monday morning, the Zappos office in downtown Las Vegas looked like Candy Land came to life.

A rainbow-colored rug led employees down a hallway lined with pastel booths on both sides offering treats like hot chocolate-flavored popcorn. The smell of gingerbread pancakes wafted from the breakfast buffet, and other rooms offered snacks, aromatherapy and massages.

Cyber Monday is one of the Zappos call center’s busiest times of the year, and the company pulled out all the stops to make sure employees were at ease.

“This is our busiest time; this is where we are interacting with our customers the most, so they really try to make what could be seen as a stressful time less stressful,” said Adrian Medina, a customer loyalty team coach who heads a team of 14 at the company’s call center. “A happy employee equals happy customers.”

Online growth

More holiday shoppers are turning toward online retailers. A survey from software company Adobe Analytics found consumers will spend about 57 percent of their holiday budget online, up from 55 percent last year.

Adobe expects this year’s Cyber Monday will bring in about $7.8 billion in online sales, with all of Thanksgiving weekend generating $23.4 billion.

“This is what we get ready for all year, so we’re prepared,” Medina said. “We feed off of that energy and we turn around and give it to the next customer.”

High spirits

The Zappos website’s main page touted an array of deals Monday: UGG boots for $59.99 instead of $149.95, up to 40 percent off North Face apparel, and more.

Those deals lead to a sharp influx of callers. Rob Siefker, senior director of customer loyalty at Zappos, said the company does not have hard numbers but sees anywhere from one and a half to two times as many callers on Cyber Monday compared with an average day.

“Cyber Monday is of course a busy day for us,” Siefker said via email. “On a day like today we get the chance to meet a lot of first time customers and introduce them Zappos customer service.”

Siefker said Zappos has about 1,500 employees, and about one-third work in the call center at any given time. But even that’s not enough during the holiday season; to handle the influx of callers, the company has hired about 120 seasonal employees.

Other employees also pitch in to help handle caller volume. It’s been more than seven years since Medina has worked on the phones as a customer loyalty team member, but all Zappos employees are required to put in an additional five hours of work on the phones this holiday season to help manage the excess calls.

“I get a little bit of the butterflies, but it all goes away as soon as I hit that button and I’m talking to the customer,” Medina said. “It’s like riding a bike.”

Most of the phone calls concern packages that haven’t been delivered, returns, exchanges and new orders, but Medina said a vast majority of the customers the Zappos team works with are in high spirits.

“We make things right,” he said. “I’ve been here for a long time, and our customers are happy and they understand it’s a busy time, it’s holiday season.”

Bailey Schulz at or. Follow on Twitter.

400 Stewart Ave. Las Vegas NV

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