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Customers.com: How to Create a Profitable Business Strategy for the Internet and Beyond Hardcover – November 10, 1998

3.8 out of 5 stars 125 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Lots of books have been written about how to do business on the Internet, but few can match the understanding and passion for making e-commerce work of Patricia Seybold's Customers.com. Drawing on case studies of companies and organizations as diverse as Boeing, Babson College, National Semiconductor, Hertz, PhotoDisc, and Wells Fargo, Seybold identifies what makes e-commerce work successfully. She argues that any e-commerce initiative has to begin with the customer. She writes:
In the electronic commerce world, knowing who your customers are and making sure you have the products and services they want becomes even more imperative than it is in the "real" world.... The corner grocery needs only to approximate what customers really want because the convenience factor brings in the business. But when you eliminate this advantage--when customers can go anywhere to get what they want--you'd better know what they're looking for.
The first section of the book outlines five steps aimed at any organization grappling with the challenge of doing e-commerce right. The final section offers a technology roadmap and suggestions for getting e-commerce initiatives off the ground. But the heart of the book is the 16 case studies of companies that have successfully embraced e-business and e-commerce. Each is well researched, and includes an executive summary and "take-aways" about what each firm did right. If you're looking to develop your business online, this book belongs on your desk, not your bookshelf. Highly recommended. --Harry C. Edwards

From Publishers Weekly

Aiming her debut at both executives and the technologists who carry out their dictums, consultant Seybold consolidates a wealth of information on how to link businesses to the Internet and other electronic tools. Her "five steps to success" in electronic commerce?"Make it easy for customers to do business with you" and "Redesign your customer-facing business processes from the end customer's point of view," to name two?are confirmed by a compilation of 16 case studies illustrating "eight critical success factors," including knowing the target market, giving customers room to browse and making service more personalized. Tales from the Webbing of American Airlines, National Semiconductor, Hertz, Amazon.com and Bell Atlantic, among others, make the book's basic messages seem inescapable, though at a cost of much built-in redundancy, as they crop up in a myriad of contexts. Going beyond screen-based issues, Seybold shows how billing for electronic commerce or the integration of third-party business can tip the scales toward on-line profitability. The final "handbook" outlines general prescriptions for planning and implementation. While much of the detail about particular Web sites will be outdated before long, of more lasting value are the lessons regarding insightful marketing, innovations and just good business sense?regardless of medium. Illustrations not seen by PW. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; 1st edition (November 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812930371
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812930375
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,191,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book has many good and bad reviews. It seems that you either like it or hate it. I believe that it all has to do with the expectations of the reader.
Customers.com is about the concept and relationships between E-commerce, business objectives, internal business procedures and customer/supplier relationship (all together: E-Business). I believe that Mrs. Seybold is doing an excellent job in analyzing implemented concepts, and explaining why they are important. The case studies are great examples for many executives who don't understand the technology, but like to focus on the business side of E-Commerce and E-Business. (Unlike the university teacher from LA, I believe that E-Commerce and E-Business are not the same.) This book will give the executive food for thought, and a starting point for discussing E-Business with their own staff and technical consultants.
It is also important to notice that this book is written in 1998. Around that time, hit counts were all that mattered, and the more visitors your site had, the better you were doing. Mrs. Seybold passed all that in her book, and focused on CRM, something that wasn't important then, but is huge right now. In 2000, everyone is talking about CRM, and it is a sin if you ignore it. Mrs. Seybold was ahead of her times, which proves her reputation.Customers.com is an excellent read, especially in 2000!
Don't read this book if you expect a manual on how to start your own E-Business. This book will not give you information on how to implement all the necessary technology; if you are just focused on the implemented Information Technology this book is not for you. The implemented technology is given to you in a quick 1 or 2 page(s) breakdown per case study. Customers.
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By A Customer on January 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you never heard of the Internet, MAYBE this book would be helpful, but for most professionals who understand the dynamics of web strategy, this book is a complete waste of time. It is poorly written and presents arguments in a way that is not straighforward. In additional, the actual arguments are overly simplistic with no practical frameworks. If you want something that packs in a lot more practical knowledge in a concise way, check out "E-Business: Roadmap for Success"
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is too thin and fluffy. I managed to get through a few chapters, skipped to the middle, and then gave up. It contains the same standard stories I hear about every day. If it wrapped up uncommon stories, even if they were common sense, it would have some value. Boil it down to a checklist for your operating officer and webmaster, and you'd have it all.
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Format: Audio Cassette
Seybold examines "the best practices for electronic commerce and electronic business today on the Internet and beyond" to enable her reader to "walk behind the scenes at more than a dozen pioneering companies -- companies that have committed themselves to doing what it takes to make it easier for their customers to do business with them." I was fascinated by her "insider" information about e-commerce, of course, but also by the correlations she suggests between e-commerce strategies and strategies for marketing and sales unrelated to the WWW. The strategies are often quite similar...if not the same. For example, greeting visitors to a website shares much in common with greeting those who enter a retail establishment in a mall. In both situations, ease and convenience are critically important to attracting traffic; hospitality gives customers a feeling of being welcome, indeed appreciated. Obviously, the website is a unique environment within which to establish and nourish customer relationships but customers in any environment are still human beings with certain expectations, requirements, and sensitivities. Those now involved or about to become involved in e-commerce will learn a great deal from Seybold's book. I also recommend this book to everyone else for whom customer loyalty is also absolutely essential.
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Format: Hardcover
Despite the previous negative reviews, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It takes a somewhat novel perspective on web technology by refocussing the reader on the raison d'etre of web technology itself: serving customers better. Ms Seybold puts web technology in its proper place from a manager's point of view: a means to an end. She drives her point home with numerous anecdotes and helpful advice. Her emphasis on fostering community on the web site to enhance the customer experience is revealing and refreshing. Having served as Customer Services Manager of a small utility company for 3 years, I can appreciate the importance of her customer-first, top-down, starting-from-the-outside-in approach to web design and development. Admittedly, a more indepth coverage of the underlying technologies used in the success stories covered would have been quite helpful. But the book delivers what it promises: it provides a framework for re-aligning organizational thinking along the proven lines of strategy before structure. After all, what's the use of having a web site that shows off the state of the art but forgot to leave room for the customer.
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