Thursday, July 25, 2024

‘Uncomfortable’ moment Jeff Bezos phoned Amazon customer service during meeting to prove point

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Despite being the second wealthiest person on planet Earth, Jeff Bezos is not afraid to roll his sleeves up and get involved. Even if it involves tasks that leave his colleagues feeling ‘uncomfortable’.

Worth a staggering $216 billion (£168 billion), the 60-year-old businessman runs a tight ship when it comes to his empire.

As the founder of Amazon, he’s become a household name for running the world’s largest buying and selling market.

Only Tesla and Space X founder Elon Musk has more cash in the bank than Bezos, with a cool $258 billion putting him top of the global rich list.

As an incredibly successful businessman, Bezos is known for a no-nonsense approach to keeping standards high.

After all, the moment they slip can be the moment things start to unravel. Every empire has its heyday, and none of them have lasted forever.

Bezos, who stepped down as Amazon CEO and president for the role of executive chairman back in 2021, is quite clear that he’ll stop at nothing when it comes to maintaining his company’s dominance of the global e-commerce market.

Speaking during an appearance on the Lex Fridman Podcast in December last year, Bezos recalled one particular stunt he pulled that divided opinion. And the reason behind it? To get his point across to his staff.

CEO, entrepreneur, born in 1964 (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

It happened back when Amazon was in its earlier days compared to the global dominance we expect know from the company now.

During a period in which he was trying to improve the Amazon business across the board, Bezos explained that the data they had was showing that customers were waiting one minute before connecting to someone from customer service if they called.

One minute is pretty good. But the anecdotal evidence from complaints to Amazon presented a different case altogether.

During one meeting when a staff member tried to convince him that everything was all running smoothly, Bezos was sick and tired of being told something he believed to be untrue.

Bezos and fiancee Lauren Sanchez (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Bezos and fiancee Lauren Sanchez (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

He simply wasn’t having it and decided to prove otherwise.

“I have a saying which is: when the data and the anecdotes disagree, the anecdotes are usually right,” Bezos said.

“It doesn’t mean you just slavishly follow the anecdotes then, it means you go examine the data. It’s usually not that the data is being mis-collected, it’s usually that you’re not measuring the right thing.”

Bezos explained that he then called customer service to see just how long the wait would be. He laughed as he said he and the team just waited in complete silence.

The king of Amazon (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The king of Amazon (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Amazon bossman then revealed that the total wait time before being connected was an agonising 10 minutes. Cue awkward faces around the room combined with Bezos’ ‘I told you so’.

He said: “It dramatically made my point that something was wrong with the data collection. That set off a whole chain of events where we started measuring it right.

“That is an example of truth telling. That is an uncomfortable thing to do but you have to seek the truth even when it is uncomfortable.”

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