In this book, Michael Hinshaw and Bruce Kasanoff explain why and how companies must always be "smarter" than their customers are. Smarter about what? Specifically, smarter about establishing and then nourishing relationships with customers who, each day, increase their control of those relationships. Actually, companies are not smart or stupid but many of those who work for them are and sometimes the problem is ignorance or indifference, not stupidity. That is, those who interact with customers are not as well-informed as the customers are...or they really don't care.
Smart customers see disruptive change in terms of the opportunities it creates. For example, smartphones will become smarter (i.e. do more, do it better, and do it faster). Although Apple's iPhone 5 may not be able to support mobile payments via near-field communication (NFC), it is only a matter of time. Actually, there are hundreds (thousands?) of examples of disruptive change. Smart customers will understand them and take full advantage of them. Those who offer products and services must also view such disruptive change -- in social influence, pervasive memory, digital sensors, and the physical web -- in terms of opportunities created by it. I agreed with Hinshaw and Kasanoff: "Smart customers expect smart customer experiences"...and they will not settle for anything less.
These are among the dozens of passages that caught my eye:
o Profile of a "smart" customer (Pages 12-13)
o "Case Study, Circa 2015" (28-29)
o "A Framework for Infinite Opportunity and Innovation (39-41)
o "The Four Disruptive Forces" (53-80)
o The power and impact of "smart, interconnected touchpoints" (24, 114, 116-117, 140-142)
o 10 ways to disrupt an industry, raise standards, and create new growth opportunities (147-163)
o "Welcome to Simultaneous Change" (166-167)
Hinshaw and Kasanoff have much of substantial value to say about the "smart, interconnected touchpoints" to which I referred earlier. It's true that both touchpoints and customers are getting smarter. It is also true that within companies, interconnected touchpoints can help prepare those who interact with the company's customers as well as with each other. Moreover, consider the fact that under Steve Jobs's leadership, Apple created a number of immensely profitable products. One of the reasons they are "insanely great" is their interconnected touchpoints with those who use them. "As digital touchpoints continue to grow, the number of touchpoints a customer encounters as they move through your relationship cycle is moving towards the potentially infinite."
I commend Hinshaw and Kasanoff on their brilliant use of various reader-friendly devices, notably the "Key Takeaways" inserted at the conclusion of each major section. This device facilitates, indeed expedites frequent review of key pints later. Also, congratulations to everyone involved with the book's design. Choices of font size, bold or italics, ink color, etc. provide a visual variety and diversity that complement the flow of the lively as well as eloquent narrative. Bravo!