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Friday, May 04, 2018

Amazon's customer focus blows my mind

Amazon's customer focus blows my mind, especially as someone who knows how the sausage gets made at big companies. One day, I was watching an Amazon rental movie at home. Bowen would come and interrupt me, I'd pause the video, play with  him or answer his question, and then unpause. This happened so frequently that day that I eventually gave up on the movie.

The next day, I got an e-mail to the effect of: "We noticed you had poor quality video last night. We're giving you your money back."

This blew my mind. Somewhere at Amazon, there was a project to detect poor quality streaming and refund customers. The ROI on that project was negative: if the project succeeded, Amazon would lose money. Google for sure doesn't do this. Neither does Apple, as far as I know. It just boggles my mind that anyone would greenlight a project whose entire purpose was to return money to its customers.

My guess is that ultimately, the ROI must be positive, because even cheapskates like me notice excellent service and will buy more from Amazon as a result. But good luck getting big data to pick up on stuff like that and justify a costly software engineering project. I am in awe.

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