Book Review

Learning From Google Can Enhance Your Business

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The Bookworm

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

How does a cheap, quick vacation sound this summer? A little fun, plenty of relaxation — but where to go? Pop on your computer and you’d probably pull up Google. Google “flights” and “hotels,” search museums, maybe get some tickets, Google your maps, make reservations, and there you are. Vacation planned.
“Google” is not just a noun anymore. We “Google” something when we’re looking for information. So how in this www did that happen? Better yet, how does it affect the way you do business? Find out by reading “What Would Google Do?” by Jeff Jarvis.
You’ll discover that if you give customers power, they will use it. If you give your customers the power to offer feedback, they will tell you what to improve and what they don’t like about your product. You will have obtained valuable information without paying a penny for a think tank or survey team. Through honest communication, your worst customer will become your best friend.
But rule number one won’t work without rule number two: Pay attention. Read your customer’s blogs, Web sites and online comments. Don’t ignore them. Start a dialogue with your customers. Offer to fix every problem personally, then watch the negative comments turn golden.
Understand that “small is the new big,” that the masses are now niches and that you’re throwing your money away if you don’t go where your customers are. Embrace “free” as the new way to do business. Decide what business you’re really in, and become the best at it. Give up control to gain your customer’s trust.
Jarvis says remember that life and business are just ongoing experiments. Fail spectacularly and learn from it. Encourage … no, demand innovation from your employees, then get out of the way.
Need to drag your business kicking and screaming into the 21st century? Read this book. While it’s steeped in geekspeak, it’s filled with sound advice and real-life examples on how to work with and retain today’s computer- and Internet-savvy customers, or Generation Google, as Jarvis calls them.
Jarvis gets brutally specific with industry-by-industry advice, which is not for the faint-hearted. If he’s right — and his track record is impressive — you might not like what you read.
Not as techie as you want to be? Then read this book and turn it over to your IT staff. Give your customers control, and they’ll all know exactly what to do.

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