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What Would Google Do?

Reverse engineering the world's fastest growing company

By Jeff Jarvis
15-minute read
Audio available
What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis

The age of the Internet has dawned, but very few companies seem to understand how profoundly it has changed the business landscape and what they must do to thrive. The most obvious exception? Google. What Would Google Do? endeavors to explain what strategic choices fuel the success of Google and other web 2.0 companies like Amazon.

  • Anyone who wants to learn the secrets to the success of Google and other web 2.0 companies
  • Anyone who wants to drive more traffic to their websites
  • Anyone who wants to emulate Google’s strategy in their own business

Jeff Jarvis is an American journalist, academic and advocate for the Open Web. He has written for the San Francisco Examiner and the Guardian, and currently heads the new media program of City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism.

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What Would Google Do?

By Jeff Jarvis
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 10 key ideas
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What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis
Synopsis

The age of the Internet has dawned, but very few companies seem to understand how profoundly it has changed the business landscape and what they must do to thrive. The most obvious exception? Google. What Would Google Do? endeavors to explain what strategic choices fuel the success of Google and other web 2.0 companies like Amazon.

Key idea 1 of 10

The rise of the Internet has made good, fast customer service a necessity.

Most business owners know that the worst mistake they can make is to ignore their customers. The consequences of doing so can be dire, as was demonstrated by the author in 2005, when he purchased a Dell laptop. Disappointed with the customer service he got in response to a support request, the author posted a rant on his blog about his experience. Soon, many other dissatisfied customers started chiming in, and the blog post became highly prominent in Google searches for Dell. Steadily, Dell’s situation worsened. This kind of scenario is exactly where angry customers can do a lot of damage to a brand.

Dell believed its customers should provide feedback only via Dell’s site and on Dell’s terms, but it turned out that customers were already talking among themselves elsewhere on their own terms.

The author later sent an open letter of advice to Dell, telling them that losing a single customer today can have large knock-on effects, as that customer will likely go on to tell all of his or her friends about the poor experience as well.  And in today’s connected world, a single customer can have a lot of friends.

This means companies no longer have any place to hide; every mistake they make is made public instantly via the Internet. Leave a customer on hold for too long? Expect to read public, angry rants about it online very soon.

So if you are running a company, what can you do?

The main thing is to ensure you provide excellent and fast customer service, as this can prevent and repair any damage. Talk to unhappy customers and try to understand and fix their problems. Remember, the fact that a customer bought your product indicates he wants to like it. If you solve the problem, he may well spread the word of this good service.

Also, read blogs where your customers talk about your products. This way you’ll stay tuned in to what your customers think of your product without having to spend a fortune on consumer research. Next, you’ll find out about even more ways to involve your customers in your business.

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