Four Customer Service Lessons From Steve Jobs’ Outbox

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Apple fans are downright obsessed with the company, its products, and Steve Jobs.  When a customer receives an email from the mighty Jobs, it completely rocks their world. There are entire websites, like, dedicated to such customer experiences.

Few CEOs are as celebrated as Jobs, but it always goes a long way when executives respond directly to customers. Here are a few email strategies Jobs has mastered that you should adopt:

  1. Keep responses short. Many of Jobs’ email responses are pithy and unimpressive. “Coming” and “Nope” are one word answers fans deemed worthy enough to post on Sometimes, the mere act of responding is all it takes to generate excitement.
  2. Don’t respond to everything. Jobs only responds to emails that are short and straight-forward. They ask him direct questions that can be answered quickly. Busy executives don’t have enough time to respond to everything; spend time wisely by responding quickly to multiple people, not writing paragraphs to one. If you have a personal assistant, they can help you tackle responses as well.
  3. Communicate new information.  Jobs only communicates information that is not already known.  He also picks who he communicates with wisely. Sometimes they’re students, sometimes they’re journalists, and more often than not, Jobs knows the communication will become public knowledge.  Jobs’ emails are, in a way, PR stunts.
  4. Real company issues are in your inbox; don’t ignore them. Within Jobs’ millions of emails, real customer issues are being brought to light. Harvard Business Review writes, “I suspect that someone is carefully sifting through the emails and is able to compile statistics on issues that might be a real problem or perhaps ones that are impacting a small number of users right now. They might be an early warning of problems to come.” Email is just another way for customers to give feedback; use your inbox as a customer-service support system.

Harvard Business Review writes, “Put simply, this is another way of crowd-sourcing customer feedback. In an age where the flow of information to large corporations might be overwhelming and noisy, it creates incentives for obtaining higher quality and timely information. For some corporations, a twitter account is playing this role. For Apple, the CEO is an active part of the game.”