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Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000: Running a Business in Today's Consumer-Driven World Hardcover – July 8, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In June 2006, a man named Vincent Ferrari had a shockingly combative conversation with an AOL sales rep; he recorded it and posted it on YouTube. More than 62,827 viewings later, AOL's reputation was irretrievably damaged. In the digital age, disgruntled customers are now in the driver's seat, argues Blackshaw in this thoughtful and engaging book. With the advent of and other venues where customers can blow off steam about bad service or deficient products, consumer generated media is a force to be reckoned with. Since consumers trust other consumers above companies or brands, a company's success depends on its credibility and its ability to gain the trust and support of Web-savvy, outspoken and influential customers. Through remarkable stories of mass consumer advocacy and the power of bloggers and ordinary Joes with an Internet connection and a bone to pick, Blackshaw advises executives on how to build credibility into their businesses through blogs, Web sites and video postings. Informative, energetic and entertaining, this is a marvelous argument for corporate responsibility and accountability, interesting to laypeople and instructive for executives. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Blackshaw, a consumer-behavior specialist and marketer, originates the phrase “consumer generated media,” or CGM, which identifies the new commercial relationship between businesses and consumers and includes all online media such as blogs, video- and photo-sharing sites, social-networking pages, online forums, message boards, and product review sites. In our new world of never-ending consumer-to-consumer “conversation,” we learn how companies should interpret, analyze, and respond to the messages of today’s consumers. Using stories from his experiences with notable Fortune 500 companies, Blackshaw emphasizes the need for companies to be attentive to consumers since they no longer control them. Noting that sooner or later every company will get into trouble, his troubleshooting tips include knowing who are the company’s key influencers, using the corporate blog as a rapid-response vehicle, and what to do when a simple apology is not enough to placate irate customers. The author stresses his conviction that our online world has turned credibility into a company’s most important asset. Excellent book. --Mary Whaley

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; 1 edition (July 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038552272X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385522724
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,028,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Pete Blackshaw, whose professional background encompasses public policy, interactive marketing, and brand management, is Executive Vice President of Digital Strategic Services for Nielsen Online, a new entity combining Nielsen BuzzMetrics, a firm Pete helped co-found, and Nielsen NetRatings. Pete's strategy group works with many of the world's top brands and corporations to develop cohesive, consumer-centered digital programs and strategies in three core aeas: online content, defensive branding, and brand advocacy. A key focus revolves around how to help brands interpret, manage, act on consumer-generated media (CGM), a term Pete coined. A former interactive marketing leader at P&G and founder of consumer feedback portal, Pete co-founded the Word-of-Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). A popular speaker with Nielsen clients and at interactive marketing industry events, Pete authors several blogs including He is author of an upcoming book by Random House entitled "Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3000: Running a Business in Today's Consumer-Driven World." He sits on the board of the National Council of Better Business Bureaus, as well as the advisory boards of Ad-Tech and, and recently was one of three "industry achievement award" winners at Ad-Tech San Francisco, one of the industry's largest conferences. He advises a number of non-profit organizations on digital strategy. Pete, his wife Erika, and three children live in Cincinnati. Pete is a graduate of Harvard Business School and the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Carl Ertmann on July 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Credibility is the lifeblood of an organization, and Pete Blackshaw's six drivers of credibility should be indelibly etched onto the reverse of every CEO's business card. They are the essentials of brand and corporate trustworthiness and they are the foundation for Pete's new book, "Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000"--absolute must reading for every one of those CEOs, every front-line/online company spokesperson and, for that matter, anyone within an organization that truly cares about nurturing perhaps the most valuable yet often elusive organizational asset.

Public affairs professionals will want to keep a copy within easy reach. (Mine now sits in front of my "Roget's Thesaurus.") Customer Relations and Consumer Affairs personnel should read it at once, then again, and--likewise--keep this easy to digest textbook at the ready as you go about talking to, emailing or--more likely--instant messaging internet-savvy customers and consumers.

Pete Blackshaw writes with the common sense clarity of a consumer, yet as readers we benefit from his well-honed expertise in social media and interactive marketing as well as his own well-earned credibility in the vast and potent online marketplace. Pete has written a fine and timely how-to-book on the art of relationship building in a business world being powerfully influenced by consumer-generated media.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Easy Writer on May 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I'll be honest - I didn't expect much from this book, published by Nielsen Online. I expected it to be a 200-page brochure for their Buzz Metrics monitoring practice.

But the book is surprisingly comprehensive and contains useful advice. They discuss practical applications of buzz tracking (private communities, blog post tracking, review site tracking) and even some free resources if you want to track buzz yourself. And they provide an informed discussion of the many ways people are posting comments online and practical advice for a company that wants to start engaging with these customers online and offline. I was prepared to dislike this book, but felt the authors presented the merits of online buzz tracking fairly, without over-inflating their importance (eg. Clueless Manifesto).

On the other hand, their BAM (Brand Association Map) appears like a scientific way to understand the conversations, but is unusually thin on useful and actionable intelligence. There are other books which cover most of the same information in a more helpful and insightful format. Groundswell (see my review) is the best of them.

So I take one point off for falling a bit short (and for using a quote from Seth Godin - the junk food of business book authors -- in their testimonials). But it's still a surprisingly good book for what could have easily turned into a self-serving brochure for Nielsen Media. Recommended reading.
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Format: Hardcover
One of the fascinating by-products of the internet age is how consumers have commandeered an increasing amount of power in the marketplace equation. If in the 1970s, the marketspace was where nobody could hear you scream, today the Blogosphere and the attendant media is a place where we can hear everything, and a compelling YouTube video (the dead mouse in the cereal packet)can become the retailer's worst nightmare. What do you say when your PR assistant tells you: "We're up to 2 million hits on the dead mouse. It seems to be gaining momentum."

In this environment, many corporates are woefully flat-footed, and use old solutions to band-aid the new problems. This won't work, and Blackshaw sets out exactly how bad things can get, what not to do in these situations and, mercifully, what SHOULD be done.

Readers should treat carefully the title of the book. It isn't always true that an unhappy customer tells anybody else. And even the old adage that an unhappy custoemr will tell 10 others (and they'll ten others etc) is simply not correct. If it were, then mathematically, many more businesses would be going out of business. But Blackshaw's arresting title does highlight the very real possibility that in today's highly connected and somewhat random world, even the smallest ideas or bad experiences can quickly catch alight and become a forest blaze. These things can happen.

In my own country, New Zealand, two high school students tested a well known British drink Ribena and found that despite the claimed content of Vitamin C, the drink contained almost none whatsoever. Ribena responded with a "no comment" and really handed the media a perfect storm. Charming school girls, a big bad corporate and a public already twitchy about health issues.
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Format: Hardcover
Enjoyed listening to SATISFIED CUSTOMERS TELL THREE FRIENDS, ANGRY CUSTOMERS TELL 3,000: RUNNING A BUSINESS IN TODAY'S CONSUMER-DRIVEN WORLD (Tantor Media), written by Peter Blackshaw and read by Lloyd James.

The author discuss how the Internet has brought about a shift in the balance of power for today's customer. Consequently, the consumer is now in charge as a result of consumer-generated media including blogs, video sharing and social networking.

This means that a single disgruntled customer can broadcast his or her opinion to millions within seconds and the only way a company can respond is by creating 100% credibility with all consumers via any means possible.

Blackshaw presents numerous examples from such well-known companies as Toyota, Dell, Nike, JetBlue and Bank of America as to how this should be done, but he also shows many blunders that have happened along the way:

Included was this one that I still remember:

* A single 21-minute call to AOL caused a public relations disaster for the company.

However, much of the book focused on the positive things that are being done by companies, such as when:

* Lands End simplified its guaranteed to: Guaranteed. Period.

In addition, the author cited this classic demonstration of what's simply good marketing:

* Brand loyalty is nurtured by the process of asking customers to participate in the design of the end process. . . . Another successful user participation model was M&M's breakthrough global color vote initiative, in which nearly 10 million customers voted for the new M&M colors.

As the book points out, customers are going to get the word out about your company--both positive and negative . . . you need to be aware of that fact and if you're smart, you will use this information to your advantage.
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