Amazon CEO Andy Jassy is already making his mark on the company, including by focusing less on Jeff Bezos’ top priority.
Jeff Bezos founded and led Amazon from a tiny startup to one of the biggest, most valuable companies in the world. Throughout that journey, his top priority was always the customer. In fact, according to Forbes’ Bill Murphy, Jr., in the 23 shareholder letters Bezos wrote, the word “customer” appears 443 times, more than any other keyword he normally talked about. In contrast, “Amazon” only appears 340 times.
There’s no doubt that Bezos’ almost obsessive focus on the customer is much of the reason Amazon has been the success it has. Whatever other missteps the company has taken along its journey, whatever other issues it may have, Amazon became the behemoth it is by delivering what the customer wants at a price they want it.
Interestingly, at the company’s most recent quarterly call, Jassy appeared to be shifting focus away from the customer somewhat. As Murphy writes, Jassy outlined his priorities as follows:
- “[P]robably the No. 1 priority that I spen[d] time with the team on is reducing our cost to serve in our operations network …”
- “The second thing, priority-wise, I would talk about is just speed. We believe they’re continuing to get products to customers faster, makes customers happier, and they also converted a higher rate when they can see promises of deliveries that are faster …”
- “I think pricing being sharp is always important. But particularly in this type of uncertain economy, where customers are very conscious about how much they’re spending … we’ll continue to work really hard on being sharp on pricing … “
- “And then just the customer experience improvements that we’re working all the time … we will continue to work very hard on those customer experiences, and we have a lot more planned …”
Putting aside that Jassy has four priorities — which Murphy argues is broad enough to count as not having any real priorities — Jassy lists the “customer experience” as the fourth and last priority.
It is true that Jassy mentions ‘making customers happier’ in his second priority, but that’s not the focus of Number Two. The focus is having faster logistics…which will result in the customers being happier.
While Jassy is clearly concerned with happy customers, it appears he does not have the same focus on that metric as Bezos did. Whether this works for Amazon, or undermines what has made the company great, remains to be seen.