Jeff Bezos explains why he will never be satisfied with Amazon's success

Drew Angerer / Getty ImagesAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in his annual letter to shareholders that he loves that customers are “divinely discontent.”
  • “Their expectations are never static – they go up,” Bezos wrote. “It’s human nature.”
  • And because of that, companies cannot “rest on [their] laurels in this world.”

Despite Amazon’s immense success, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos isn’t about to get complacent.

And there’s a good reason for that. Although Amazon has scored highly in recent studies of customer feedback, he wrote in his annual letter to shareholders, customers’ demands increase all the time.

“One thing I love about customers is that they are divinely discontent,” Bezos wrote. “Their expectations are never static – they go up. It’s human nature.”

Bezos goes on to explain that human progress from hunter-gatherer days was not made by “being satisfied.”

“People have a voracious appetite for a better way, and yesterday’s ‘wow’ quickly becomes today’s ‘ordinary.'” he writes.

Bezos notes that as technology improves, customers are demanding more – and more quickly – than ever before. That means that companies and organisations that do not rapidly adapt to meet these challenges could quickly get dropped from customers’ minds.

“You cannot rest on your laurels in this world,” Bezos says. “Customers won’t have it.”

Bezos cites having “high standards” as a big part of staying ahead of customer expectations.

“We’ve had some successes over the years in our quest to meet the high expectations of customers,” Bezos wrote. “We’ve also had billions of dollars’ worth of failures along the way.”

One of those successes is Amazon Prime. Bezos shared in the letter that Prime now has more than 100 million subscribers globally. This is the first time that Amazon has revealed just how many people pay for Prime. Estimates from analysts pegged it at about 90 million as recently as last year.

Bezos went on to explain how much Prime has expanded since it was founded 13 years ago. The membership now includes one-day and same-day shipping as well as the classic two-day shipping. Those benefits added up to a lot of packages – five billion items were shipped with Amazon Prime in 2017.

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