The Book of Business Awesome/The Book of Business UnAwesome, by Scott Stratten, John Wiley & Sons, 272 pages, $24.95, Hardcover, August 2012, ISBN 9781118315224
This new book by Scott Stratten is actually two books in one. Open the cover with the title The Book of Business Awesome: How Engaging Your Customers and Employees Can Make Your Business Thrive and you’ll read some great advice about marketing, business technology, customer service, branding, human resources, public relations, and more. Stratten’s language is smart but informal, letting you know this is learned experience, not theory, and his stories take your mind to many familiar situations you’ll regret not having had this book for previously.
One great story is about his experience at a Phoenix Suns game, where he gets seated behind a pole—his fault, he figures, and complacently sits there wishing he’d bought a different seat. Eventually, he tweets his situation to the Phoenix Suns account and suddenly someone appears at his seat and escorts him to a luxury lounge where he enjoys the rest of the game with other audience members who live-tweeted about the game. Stratten could have remained complacent in the seat choice he made, which would have greatly altered his experience with the brand. His tweet could have fallen on deaf ears, or might have only received an apologetic reply. Instead, he experienced Business Awesome, where he voiced his disappointment, and customer service listened, responded, and strengthened the brand in the process.
Flip the book over and you’ll see not a back cover, but a new front cover, with the title, The Book of Business UnAwesome: The Cost of Not Listening, Engaging, or Being Great at What You Do. This book is literally the flipside of the first book in physical form and content, as it tells stories about businesses that don’t listen to customers, don’t provide great service, and lose great branding opportunities and loyalty in the process.
In a story of similar Twitter use, Stratten tells of a train ride where he tweeted to the train company about an abusive employee. Stratten received a message back right away, telling him to simply email customer service with the full details. Upon doing so, he received an auto-reply that his message would be addressed within 10 business days—not while he was on the train, not while he was experiencing the problem, but 10 business days later. Taking weekends into account, this would be about 2 weeks. By then the negative experience would be too solidified to change Stratten’s perspective of the brand, which would likely affect future travel decisions.
Through these positive and negative perspectives, Stratten paints a clear picture for business people on how to improve their process, actions, and communication. He also clearly shows what our customers think, feel, and experience when we don’t. In today’s highly competitive marketplace, it’s critical to understand these perspectives so we can better align our business with customer expectations and experiences in order to avoid being Business UnAwesome.