Review of “The Age of the Customer” by Jim Blasingame

the age of the customer
Rebecca Henderson

Rebecca Henderson

Rebecca Henderson has a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee and an M.S. in Community Leadership from Duquesne University. The academic experience, combined with more than three decades of volunteer leadership experience on more than two dozen boards of directors, ranging in scope from local to international, give her significant expertise in nonprofit leadership. Rebecca loves strategic planning, organizational development, and geeky things like bylaws and parliamentary procedure; she was a National Operational Volunteer for Girl Scouts of the USA for three years. Rebecca is an active member of First Christian Church in Johnson City, Tennessee and is First Vice Chair of the Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians. She is a member of the Johnson City Morning Rotary Club and the Monday Club, an affiliate of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. She loves to read and is writing a book about effective volunteering
Rebecca Henderson

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Jim Blasingame’s ” The Age of the Customer “ is a phenomenal book that draws on the author’s years of experience and his knowledge of business. I think an apt subtitle might be “The Status Quo Has Got To Go”;  instead his subtitle is even better:  “Prepare for the Moment of Relevance.” Blasingame is definitely a future-forward thinker and writer. ” The Age of the Customer ” certainly challenged my thinking, and I believe it will certainly challenge the thinking of most people. The book will be in a prominent place on my bookshelf for quite a while.

Blasingame is correct in saying that businesses must view their customers in the future reality that is business, if the business is to survive and thrive. The internet has been a true game changer for virtually every kind of business; if businesses do not adapt so that their customers (and potential customers) can easily make decisions, the business will find itself defunct.

The author says that before the internet provided rapid communication, if a customer liked a service or product, he might tell one person, but if he disliked something, he would probably tell ten people. The internet has been a business game changer, because of the instantaneous communication and variety of communication vehicles it provides. With the variety of message mediums at our fingertips today,  if a person does not like a product, literally millions of people may know within the hour. “ The Age of the Customer ” provides great pointers for business owners and managers that will help to prevent negative comments about their business spreading globally.

There are many features that I particularly like about “ The Age of the Customer ”. Blasingame refers to the “Bible” several times; the references are in appropriate places throughout the book. I like the length of the chapters, which are fairly short. Each chapter has several subsections. This feature makes the book very practical for the busy on-the-go reader who may not have the block of two to four hours I would estimate it would take the average reader to read the book.

I really like the way Blasingame has posted nuggets of wisdom throughout the book.  He calls these sidebars “This Will Be On The Test”. One of my favorite examples is on page 100: “Customers are attracted to Sellers who understand the power of relevance.”  Blasingame intentionally capitalized “Sellers” in the above quote; read the book to see why! “Remember, face-to-face is the original social media” is another quote that “Will Be On The Test” (page 166); that particular quote really resonated with me.

Additional gems of wisdom are posted throughout “ The Age of the Customer ” using “Blasingame’s Law….”. On page 70, Blasingame wrties his “Law of Business Love” which is “It’s okay to fall in love with what you do, but it’s not okay to fall in love with how you do it.” I also like “Blasingame’s Law of Customer Time”, which is on page 102, and states “In the Age of the Customer, the most important and relevant thing a Seller can do for Customers is to save them time.” Again, the author has intentionally capitalized “Customer”, “Customers” and “Seller.” As you read the book, you will understand why this is the case. For easy reference, Blasingame has compiled his list of laws in the back of the book.

Charts and graphs are spread throughout the book, and they aptly demonstrate how a picture (or a graph) can be worth many words. The author liberally uses stories and anecdotes that are relevant to the point he is making; in addition, he has used quotes from many people (some from centuries ago, some from our present day) to help make important points.  Blasingame’s attention to his research is evident and appreciated.

I found the epilogue, which puts the reader in the position of the futurist, to be of special interest. I know that I will refer to those pages often.

The book is well indexed, and has a nice bibliography.

Jim Blasingame has an ambitious writing schedule, with one book scheduled for release in 2015 and another one scheduled to be released in 2016. I’ll be eagerly awaiting both books!