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March 5, 2001

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - The Customer Revolution

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 9:56 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

The Customer Revolution by Patricia B. Seybold with Ronni T. Marshak and Jeffrey M. Lewis, Crown Business, Unk Pages, $27.50 Hardcover, March 2001, ISBN 0609607723
Patti Seybolds first book, Customers.Com has been one of our best-selling books for the past 5 year. It was our #1 bestseller for all of 1999, and, one must also note (as much as I hate to acknowledge it) we werent the only company selling her book. In fact, the publisher still has 250,000 books of her first book in print. In other words, it was a BIG book! Needless to say, I was looking forward to what she had to say in her next book. Could she continue to stay out in front of the crowd like she had with her first book? She has succeeded.
In The Customer Revolution, Seybold provides a fascinating look at the Internet and e-commerce, and explains why the real measure of success is customer relationships and customer loyalty. Music to my ears. Whenever I read books like this, books that talk about practical issues which I can apply to retail, I always compare the authors opinion with my own experience in the business. Typically, these types of books serve as a guidepost for my role as president of a company. Best case, they have me nodding along saying, Yeah thats my experienceIm doing the right thing. Then, again best case, suddenly they bring up a point that makes me stop and think: Geez, I havent thought of that. Those moments are the most valuable, of course. Its great to have a book reaffirm any actions you have taken in your business, but it is even more valuable for books to act as motivators, as idea farms, that may inspire you think outside your box. The Customer Revolution does this successfully.
In the beginning of the book, Seybold talks about the music industry and the devastating effects Napster and Mp3 and the portable Mp3 player have wrought on the industry. She uses them as the canary in the coal mine because she believes that the customer revolution will affect all industries. As a previous insider, and now an outsider looking in on the music industry, I find her points about why Napster and other peer-to-peer networks and the digitizing of music are changing the music industry right on. She explains very cogently the issues involved, like copyright protection for the artist, but she also shows that many consumers are using the new technology to change how they use music. People are digitizing their entire CD libraries so they can make private mixes and share the mixes with friends. She calls these folks renegade customers. It is very easy for me to take to heart these lessons of the music industry, because it is not unlike what the publishing industry is looking at in terms of the Internet and ebooks, etc.
Seybold ends each chapter with a section of takeaways which are extremely valuable.
The problem with books like this are that every page contains something I want to tell you about. I guess that means that I should stop here and let you buy the book and read its wisdom for yourselves. However, I want to share with you a little about the second part of the book. There, Seybold presents case studies that will show you what familiar companies (and some unfamiliar ones) have done and are doing to focus on delivering a great branded customer experience and how leaders are changing their companies to respond to their customers needs. I have a strong feeling that this book will have a prominent spot on my best of 2001 and is another book that I want you to know you heard about it first here.