Amazon’s Bezos Once Said Customer Service Was Priceless. His Successor Has Put A Price On Customer Satisfaction.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos amassed a multi-billion dollar fortune through a 40-year “obsession” with building the most customer-friendly product in the world. But since he retired in 2021, Bezos has moved on to new obsessions, and under new CEO Andy Jassy, the e-commerce giant’s customer satisfaction has plummeted as it shifted its priorities to profits over people.
Past its prime: Amazon’s platform has seen an exodus of high-quality retailers such as Ikea and Macy’s — replacing them with cheaper, lower-quality products from obscure overseas brands paying Amazon for promotion. Customers hate the changes, but they’ve been lucrative for Amazon.
- One study says that Amazon charged merchants up to in fees for transactions and fulfillment in 2022 — pushing its Marketplace revenue higher by 20% year-over-year (YoY) in Q4 2023.
- The company reportedly changed its search results page to steer customers toward advertised products — sending its ad services revenue up 27% YoY.
Amazon’s diminishing returns
Customers initially coming for the company’s free shipping often stayed for Prime’s additional benefits. But since 2018, the subscription price has risen from $99 to $139, ads are being shown on Prime Video (which can be removed for a fee), and the company continues cutting back on features.
- Buyers claim that customer service has been largely automated — with fees and restocking charges added to product returns.
- Making matters worse, Amazon has watered down its free video and music streaming platforms and raised delivery minimums on grocery delivery services.
Plan B(ezos): $AMZN has surged ~66% over the last year, and now Bezos plans to cash out 50M shares (~$8.6B) this year. The upcoming antitrust inquiry or a potential ruling could hold Amazon accountable for the safety of the goods it sells. There’s also speculation about the noticeable decline in quality since Bezos’s departure — or maybe he just needs to fund his $500M mega yacht.