Likeable Business is Dave Kerpen’s second book on the power of social media; this time, extending to business success and customer loyalty.
The book takes an approach that is very similar to his first book (Likeable Social Media) in that it uses a compilation of personal stories and real examples, rather than research, to convey his points. Likeable Business is a very straightforward and light read, just like the first book was.
There are 11 principles that the author believes makes business leaders more likeable and makes their organization better and more customer-centric. In this review, selected principles are covered in more detail than others while a brief summary will be shown for the remaining ones. Grab your copy if you are interested in reading in detail all the principles, along with great, insightful stories, and personal experiences about each.
The author talks about Netflix and how listening helped the company regain its customers. In the summer of 2011, Netflix began a price hike for all their services and that they would split their business into a DVD rentals (through a new site called Qwikster) and a separate streaming service business. Customers were extremely unsatisfied and expressed their thoughts on Facebook and Twitter. Shortly after, Netflix’s CEO, Reed Hastings stated on a short blog: ‘It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs. This means no change: one website, one account, one password…In other words, no Qwister. While the July price change was necessary, we are now done with price changes.’ His decision to listen to his customers helped Netflix reduce the risk of losing more customers. After losing 800,000 customers after the original announcement, Netflix gained a net 610,000 customers in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Do your customers know the story of how you began? The author tells the story of a 19-year-old college kid named Brian Scudamore and coming up with the idea for what was then called ‘Rubbish Boys’ a customer-based junk removal service that traveled around Vancouver removing unwanted items from people’s homes. In 1999 the company changed names to 1800-GOT-JUNK? Within 5 years what had started as a $700 investment turned into a booming business with locations in most major metropolises across North America.
Brian uses storytelling as a tool to promote teamwork and grow his business because ‘When people understand who you are and where you come from, they’re more likely to rally around your cause’
Great leaders are who they say they are. Vulnerability and humility are hallmarks of the authentic leader and create a positive attractive energy.
Openness and honesty lead to happier staff and customers – and a happier you. Take the curtains down between you and the customer because when you lie, you lose. Take for example the case of the BP oil spill where internally, BP said the spill could reach 100,000 barrels per day but when it handed the documents to Congress, the company claimed that the number was 5,000 barrels a day. As a result of the deceit, BP lost over $25 billion in market value due to falling stock.
No matter how small your organization, you interact with others every day. Letting other shine encourages innovative ideas.
Today’s leaders are responsive to their customers, staff, investors and prospects. Responding shows you care.
Leaders must be flexible in managing changing opportunities. Humility and willingness to adapt mark a great leader.
Those who love what they do don’t have to work a day in their lives. Passion is contagious. It will affect your bottom line.
Most people like surprise. This section explores many ways to surprise without spending extra money.
The world is more complex than ever before and yet what customers often respond to best is simplicity – in design, form and function. We humans all crave for simplicity. A likeable leader or business must be focused and deliver simplicity.
An interesting concept, the ROI of gratitude is discussed in this section. The author tells the story of Charles Best, the founder and CEO of Donors Choose, an online nonprofit organization that makes it easy for donors to give classrooms in need. Charles conducted an experiment to demonstrate the ROI (return on investment) of gratitude. The experiment consisted of hand-writing thank you notes to about half of their recent first-time donors. The results were positive and they showed direct correlation between the act of being thanked and the likelihood of giving again. In fact, those who were personally thanked were 38 percent more likely to give another donation, proving an actual ROI on gratitude.
This book is great for those interested in reading about success and failure stories revolving around running businesses, from small to large. Some may even find it inspiring since there is a significant focus on entrepreneurs who have been widely successful by either practicing all or some of the principles discussed in this book.