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."

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