Required Reading GAINING GROUND THROUGH THE WEB.

Author:HOLTZMAN, HENRY
 
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customers.com: How to Create a Profitable Business Strategy for the Internet and Beyond

In the long run readers, not hype, dictate how well business books succeed in the marketplace of ideas. That seems to be the case with customers.com. Although for months after its release it was received with minimal fanfare, business readers are increasingly seeking its how-to advice. As the Internet grows in importance, it's easy to understand why.

Co-authors Patricia Seybold and Ronni T. Marshak use a series of step-by-step methods to describe how to do business on the Internet, or e-commerce as people are now calling it. This time-tested approach allows readers to adapt traditional concepts to the new medium without getting bogged down in cyberspeak. Their point is that doing business over the Internet is becoming far too important to leave in the hands of computer wizards.

If the basic five steps urged by the authors have a familiar ring, it's because smart businesspeople have been advocating most of them since computers were very fast number-crunchers. The five steps are:

  1. Make it easy for customers to do business with you.

  2. Focus on the end customer for your products and services.

  3. Redesign your customer--facing business processes from the end customer's point of view.

  4. Design a comprehensive, evolving electronic business architecture.

  5. Foster customer loyalty--the key to profitability in electronic commerce.

These steps, each organized into chapters, account for the first 100 pages. The remainder of the book combines how-to with real life case studies, which are also organized into a series of "factors," as the authors call them. Like the previous five steps, these eight have more than a touch of the familiar:

* Target the right customers

* Own the customer's total experience

* Streamline business processes that target the customer

* Provide a 360-degree view of the customer relationship

* Let customers help themselves

* Help customers do their jobs

* Deliver personalized service

* Foster community

Even though the book addresses a hot topic, is well...

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