“Obsess over small defects” is how you become the Amazon of the web. From a fantastic interview with Jeff Bezos by Steven Levy at Wired;
Bezos: “Tech companies always have high margins, except for Amazon. We’re the only tech company with low margins.
Levy: How did you do it?
Bezos: We really obsess over small defects. That’s what drives up costs. Because the most expensive thing you can do is make a mistake. We can afford to focus on smaller and smaller defects and eliminate them at their root. That reduces cost, because things just work…
Our version of a perfect customer experience is one in which our customer doesn’t want to talk to us. Every time a customer contacts us, we see it as a defect. I’ve been saying for many, many years, people should talk to their friends, not their merchants. And so we use all of our customer service information to find the root cause of any customer contact. What went wrong? Why did that person have to call? Why aren’t they spending that time talking to their family instead of talking to us? How do we fix it?’