What Email From The Boss Can Drive Amazon Employees Crazy?

Ticking time bombs from Jeff Bezos

Amazon Kindle (Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon, at the introduction of the new Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Paperwhite
APAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos may run Amazon and he may be a billionaire. But he is very accessible to his customers with an easy-to-find email address, jeff@amazon.com. And when his customers aren't pleased, Bezos isn't either.

Businessweek's Brad Stone has written a lengthy cover story on Amazon that opens with a bit about Bezos' email style and shows how important customer service is to him.

When customers send Bezos an email complaining about something Amazon-related, Bezos forwards the message to the appropriate person at the company. The only addition Bezos makes to the email is one character:

"?"

The recipient then scrambles to solve the issue and must get his or her reply approved by multiple people before responding to Bezos.

Stone writes:

"When Amazon employees get a Bezos question mark e-mail, they react as though they've discovered a ticking bomb. They've typically got a few hours to solve whatever issue the CEO has flagged and prepare a thorough explanation for how it occurred, a response that will be reviewed by a succession of managers before the answer is presented to Bezos himself. Such escalations, as these e-mails are known, are Bezos's way of ensuring that the customer's voice is constantly heard inside the company."

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

491 Comments

Filter by:
KayCee71

NICE! I like that he demands credibility & answers from his employees. From some of the comments I've seen, they prefer getting the run around & put into a never ending queue (press 1 to be put on hold for freaking ever!) & applauding bad business. I've been using amazon for years & have only had problems which we rectified within 24 hours of my contact to complain. HUZZAH for someone who will not abide by the "snowflake" mentality & wants customer satisfaction instead of employees unwilling to do their jobs & all too quick to pass the buck. Those employees who receive a "?" email from him are paid to do a job & I love that they can't just pass it on to a lesser paid drone to take the fall.

October 17 2013 at 11:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to KayCee71's comment
KayCee71

whoops... I made some errors: I've only had problems twice which were rectified...

October 17 2013 at 11:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
acehoofer

Will not order from Amazon any longer, they never get it right. So tired of them can't even write anymore. Refuse to think about them another minute. Just to say...........DONE.

NO ANSWER NEEDED.

October 12 2013 at 8:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dross4319

I've bought thousands from amazon in the past but it looks like I'll deal with another company now if that's how this ass treats his people. A straight Email (if necessary) should be fine but to























I've spent thousands at Amazon in the past but if that's the way this nutcase deals with people I'll take my money elsewhaere.

October 12 2013 at 4:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
grandma is here

I wish our government was run like this. Mr. Obama, etc. could certainly learn a thing or two about dealing with problems presented by the people of the United States.

October 11 2013 at 11:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to grandma is here's comment
jmfjfe

GFY This is about Amazon and buying stuff, happy customers vs. unhappy on line. Not about President Obama. Stick to the subject. If you want to ramble about President Obama go to the appropriate post. And where are your manners? Address/refer to the leader of your country appropriately. Even if you don't care for him. You should know by now.. "Grandma"

?
Stupid "Americans".

October 12 2013 at 8:36 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
shaman26

Wow, who would have believed it was possible? A CEO who actually gives a damn about his customers. How rare is that. I already am a loyal Amazon customer and have never had any problems with them. They fill orders quickly, ship quickly (and mostly for free), are very good about returns. A lot of CEO's should be looking to Mr. Bezo as an example of how a CEO should behave. I hope that many Amazon customers will simply send Jeff Bezo an email to say thank you and well done.

October 11 2013 at 11:25 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mary dear

I love everything about Amazon.com , now including Jeff Bezos ! I haven't been to the Mall in several years now , and do most of my shopping from home . I didn't actually want a Kindle , but was given one . I love It and the best thing is , I can get a new book in under 5 mins . I am an Amazom Prime member and that service does me very well . Kudos to all the folks who make sure that all goes smoothly , and for a CEO who cares !

October 11 2013 at 11:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
SaraQS

*edit - it's late... apologies*

...However, with confirmation of what I knew I heard, not only was I appalled at her comment; I was furious enough to call their corporate office and spend over an 45 minutes on hold just to be able to vent to the supervisor who apologized repeatedly, but I know it will go no further because frankly they don't really care.

October 11 2013 at 11:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
SaraQS

I think this is excellent customer service. As a long time customer of Best Buy, two days ago they lost me as a customer both for my personal purchases and my small business purchases.

It may not be much to that big box company, but it's a lot to me after years of purchases and giving them my true customer loyalty, choosing not to waste time by searching out "bargains" because I had been confident in their service. However after having had a manager at the St. Petersberg, FL store tell me it was, "...a privilege given to me for me to shop there." I am not paraphrasing that at all as she repeated herself when I said, "Pardon me?" Having thought I had to have misheard or misunderstood her.

However, with confirmation or what I knew I heard, not only was I applaud at her comment; I was furious enough to call their corporate office and spend over an 45 minutes on hold just to be able to vent to the supervisor who apologized repeatedly, but I know it will go no further because frankly they don't really care.

So, if this is how Amazon's CEO treats his customers, I will now make the majority of my purchases from this company happily knowing that they understand that yes, customer service and loyalty should still mean something at the end of the day.

October 11 2013 at 11:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jmg62

So? The article doesn't mention what happens if the CEO Billionaire doesn't get his response in this arbitrary "few hours time" in which several levels of management need be conferred with in order to answer him. Written up? Punished? (How?), Fired? What? - My boss expects issues to be cleared up in the reasonable amount of time something of it's nature would need to be solved CORRECTLY. Stop-gaps, duct tape and bailing wire are no excuse if it's only going to become an issue AGAIN. But, if Bezos offer's up merely managerial mediocrity - he'll receive back - in return - mediocrity. Expectations are difficult to alter once applied and made rote. With so many firms nipping at his heels - it may behoove Mr. Bezos to reevaluate his own expectations being that nervous employees will most always "default" to what the Emperor wishes to hear about his new clothes. This simply leads to embarrassment for the Emperor.

October 11 2013 at 10:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ezpayday

What a dick. Just take your billions and go lay down already. Leave the little guys alone.

October 11 2013 at 10:58 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ezpayday's comment
queenieee

I'll bet you're a stellar employee.

October 12 2013 at 1:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Articles

Top Companies Hiring

Week of Sep 14 - Sep 21
View All

Picks From the Web