“We try not to spend money on things that don’t matter to customers.” — Jeff Bezos, CEO & Founder at Amazon

Yesterday I read another article about Jeff Bezos’ empire and how he started Amazon in 1994: after the last Whole-Foods M&A my curiosity raised again.

Even if I’ve read a lot about this company, a quick remainder is important: it helps staying on track.

One of things I didn’t know is that, when he launched Amazon, Bezos personally answered customer e-mails to collect feedbacks.

In his opinion, customer service is and was “the cornerstone of Amazon”.

By 1999, after 5 years of its foundation, Amazon had a team of 500 people answering e-mails.

This ‘customer-obsessed’ orientation founded Amazon culture and is still followed by the company’s employees, especially by senior executives that know that every anecdote, feedback or information provided by customer is necessary for the company’s success.

Through its customer service, Amazon can establish a personal and emotional connection with its customers because

The relationships that Amazon establishes with its online customers are not virtual, they are real.

This focus on the customer service allowed and allows Amazon to rise above the competition:

according to a Boston Consulting Group research (1), a loyal Amazon customer spends $2873 per year on Amazon.com. These loyal clients make eight recommendations, via word-of-mouth (60%), gifts (16%) and social media (13%).

The BCG researchers have estimated expenditures of a convert at $867: this means that the average loyal customer is worth at least 2.3 times her actual spending on Amazon.com.

(1) BCG 2014 consumer survey; BCG analysis