THE CUSTOMER REVOLUTION: How to Thrive When Customers Are in Control
The quality of a company's customer relations with today's better informed, more demanding consumers will determine its future success, contends Seybold, a consultant and author of the bestselling Customer.com. "Thanks to the Internet and to mobile wireless devices... customers are challenging and disrupting the standard practices in virtually every industry.... They won't be denied. They have power and they know it," she writes, pointing to the music industry as an emblematic crucible of change. Variations on this argument have been proposed for more than a decade, but Seybold asserts that it holds true for all industries and throughout the world. To help managers capitalize on this inevitable shift, she lays out three "principles" ("Customers are in control"; "Customer relationships count" and "Customer experience matters"). Drawing on 14 case studies of companies from Charles Schwab, Hewlett-Packard and Tesco to Finland's largest bank and the apparel manufacturer Timbuk2 Designs, she also offers eight steps for achieving success in this new environment, such as "Create a compelling brand personality" and "Value customers' time." But like any true believer, Seybold tends to get carried away. She directly attributes the recent turmoil on Wall Street to an ongoing customer revolution—though value investors might disagree—and blithely predicts that in less than five years "investors will be actively assessing the quality of companies' customer relationships." Still, her worthwhile central points come through loud and clear, and her arguments could help frame future market debates. (Apr. 3)
Forecast:Seybold's solid track record, a national print ad campaign in the Wall Street Journal and the Industry Standard and an NPR sponsorship should help this book garner strong sales.
Release date: 03/01/2001