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Posted Dec. 10, 2012 5:17 a.m. by 800-ceo-read
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
And...the 2012 800-CEO-READ Book Awards are underway!
Over the course of this week, we will be posting the shortlist selections for our 8 business book categories: General Business, Leadership, Management, Innovation/Creativity, Small Business/Entrepreneurship, Marketing/Sales, Personal Development, Finance. Then on Monday, December 17th, we'll announce the category winners, and, on Wednesday, December 19th, we'll celebrate the overall winner of the 2012 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards! Stay tuned.
The selections for the General Business category are:
- Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Businessby Harley Manning & Kerry Bodine, New Harvest
- The Pirate Organization: Lessons from the Fringes of Capitalismby Rodolphe Durand & Jean-Philippe Vergne, Harvard Business Review Press
- Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy Worldby Michael Hyatt, Thomas Nelson
- Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Elseby Chrystia Freeland, The Penguin Press
- Private Empire: Exxon Mobil and American Power by Steve Coll, The Penguin Press
Owing to an increasingly service-oriented economy, the customer has been restored to the throne, and Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine’s Outside In provides an excellent argument for why customer experience is so important, and how we can put our customers at the center of our business. The global economy has a whole lot of dissatisfied customers—a group frequently referred to as ‘the 99 percent’. Chrystia Freeland’s Plutocrats gives us a timely look at the increasing disparity between incomes of the super-rich and everyone else, and in doing so gives a voice to that financially-frustrated majority. Also feeling frustrated are the thousands of businesses struggling to gain or maintain a presence within their respective markets amid a growing cacophony of attention-seeking sound. That group will find solutions--fifty recommendations in short and easy-to-understand chapters--in Michael Hyatt's Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. Rodolphe Durand and Jean-Philippe Vergne’s The Pirate Organization explains why following the surprisingly predictable actions of pirate organizations operating in our global economy offers a map to how ideas and innovations move from the fringe to the center. And finally, Private Empire by Steve Coll details the extraordinary operation of oil giant ExxonMobil, the most consistently profitable--and controversial--corporation in the US.
Posted Aug. 15, 2012 5:14 a.m. by michael
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
Customer experience is it. While it's increasingly difficult to set yourself apart from your competitors with regard to innovation or product offerings, there seems yet to be a huge opportunity for companies to excel in providing a superior customer experience. According to this new book from Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine, there is a lot of money at stake in the customer experience game. Through the series of case studies they provide, they present a pretty compelling argument for their cause.
The starting point is understanding exactly what customer experience is:
It's not customer service. People call customer service when they have a problem. So equating customer service with customer experience is like saying that a safety net is a trapeze act.
It's not usability. Take your car, for example. Even if the steering wheel is easy to turn and the brake pedal feels just right, your driving experience will still be miserable if the car fails to meet your basic needs, like running reliably and stopping safely.
It's what products and services your company offers, how you manage your business, and what your brand stands for. It's what your customers think happened when they tried to learn about and evaluate your product, tried to buy it, and maybe tried to get help with a problem. What's more, it's how they felt about those interactions: excited, happy, and reassured, or nervous, disappointed, and frustrated.
It's not difficult to agree with the authors when they state the importance of getting customer experience right. I can think of plenty of recent experiences in which I was the customer and I left with a feeling ranging between anger and disgust. Some companies take their customers for granted. According to an online survey conducted by Forrester Research in 2011, only 3% of the 160 brands surveyed were rated 'Excellent' (an equivalent of an A grade). Over 60% of these brands received the equivalent of a C grade or worse (10% received Fs!). If you've been on hold with your local ISP or cable company, or if you've fought to get your claim covered by your insurance company, these numbers will not surprise you.
Manning and Bodine offer 'The Six Disciplines of Customer Experience', essentially a step-by-step guide to improving the customer experience at your organization. Using these key disciplines—strategy, customer understanding, design, measurement, governance, and culture—we have a clear-cut guide to mastery of this increasingly-important aspect of our business. The result? We can reach what the book calls the 'systematic' adoption level. This is the point at which the company has a process that defines when to execute key customer experience practices.
Here's a simple recommendation: if you have customers, you should read this book. I quickly thought of Gary Vaynerchuk's Thank You Economy while paging through this book, because Outside In offers an equally simple and compelling argument. Like Vaynerchuk's bottom line, Manning and Bodine's point can be reduced to the idea of systematic caring. If we care, and we make our customers feel like they're cared for, it will pay off. It's more than a nebulous, romantic notion, though. It requires a lot of planning, work, and application (notice that the most accomplished level of application of this discipline is called 'systematic'). But like Chapter 2 states: "Customer Experience Means Billions to Business".