Saturday, February 16, 2019

Likeable Business (2013) by Dave Kerpen, Book Review

Likeable Business: Why Today’s Consumers Demand More and How Leaders Can Deliver (2013)
by Dave Kerpen with Theresa Baun and Valerie Pritchard

Dave Kerpen ends this book with Seth Godin’s quote but I’ll put it at the beginning: “How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable?” All individual is inherently likeable said Dave. With all the advancements and accomplishments in the world today especially in technology and social media, it is easier (high probability, great potential) for us “to be remarkable” – and at the same time, unlikeable, too. Before I read this book, I asked myself, why likeable is important? Can’t business just be… business? Who cares about some complaining customers? After I read the introduction of this book, I changed my mind. “In hyper-connected, social media-driven society,” explain Dave, “businesses can no longer afford to be mediocre. Businesses large or small must be obsessed with their customers, making and keeping them happy.” When I read about how one angry customer, Dave Carroll, damaging United Airlines’ reputation and stock price by uploaded a video onto YouTube (over 12 million views) because United breaks his guitar and treated him rudely, I’m ready to learn to be likeable.

It seems scary that one disgruntled customer could negatively impact a business. Scary yes, but this is also good news. If one person can damage a reputation and stock price with just one negative feedback on social media, imagine what one or more customers share positive recommendations. “Stories of customer service failures can spread quickly, writes Dave, “so can stories of going above and beyond to delight your customers.” Agree! There are three (3) reasons why I LIKE this book: 1) Although Dave admits that the 11 principles that he outlines in this book are not new, he makes it interesting by sharing stories, personal examples and straight to the point anecdotes that even a non-marketing background person like me can understand; 2) Each chapter and subchapter is broken up into bite-sized chunk for easy reading and to come back to if you’re a busy person, and 3) Action items at the end of every chapter are very helpful to apply the principle. Here are the 11 Principles of Likeable Business that together make for more likeable leaders and better, more customer-centric organizations:

#1 Listening: One Mouth, Two Ears, Many Opportunities. “Listening is the foundation of any good business.”

#2 Storytelling: Tell, Don’t Sell. “A likeable leader has a strong vision and purpose and always has stories to see that vision.”

#3 Authenticity: Just Be Yourself. “Likeable leaders are transparent about who they are online, merging their personal and professional life together.”

#4 Transparency: The Truth Shall Set You Free.Openness and honesty lead to happier staff and customers – and a happier you.”

#5 Team Playing: There’s No ‘I’ in Team (or Culture).Letting others shine, encouraging innovative ideas, and following other rules for working in teams will help you become a more likeable leader.”

#6 Responsiveness: Taking Listening One Step Further. “Responding shows you care and gives your customers and employees a say, allowing them to make a positive impact on your company.”

#7 Adaptability: Change or Perish.Stubbornness is no longer desirable. Instead, humility and the willingness to adapt mark a great leader.”

#8 Passion: Love the Work You’re With. “People who are able to bring passion to their business have a remarkable advantage, as that passion is contagious to customers and colleagues alike.”

#9 Surprise and Delight: Every Mistake Is an Opportunity. “Likeable leaders underpromise and overdeliver, assuring that customers and staff are surprised in a positive way.”

#10 Simplicity: Be Simply Human. “The world is more complex than ever before, and yet what customers often respond to best is simplicity – in design, form, and function.”

#11 Gratefulness: The ROI (Return on Investment) of ‘Thank You.’ “Likeable leaders are ever grateful for the people who contribute to their opportunities and successes.”

Meg Cadoux Hirshber, author and entrepreneur, writes this praise for Likeable Business: “This important, persuasive book will change the way you think about and operate your business. Anyone who hopes to lead successfully in the twenty-first century needs to read this book.” Amen. With that, I must return back this book to the state library, Pustaka Negeri Sarawak, hoping that another reader will be blessed like I do. Can’t wait to incorporate these principles into my new small (perhaps smaller) business – online bookstore. By the way, do you want to buy great and valuable books? CLICK HERE.


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