24 August 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Quacking the Surface, Managing Customer Perceptions by Lauren Pibworth

I judge books by their cover, at least initially, and this one made me giggle a little. There’s the bottom half of a duck and by the bubbles, you can tell that little guy is paddling like crazy. Having said that, when I saw it, I didn’t really tie it into the author’s version of why she used this image. I won’t ruin it for you but you learn why very early on and it’s an interesting analogy and one that will probably stay with me forever.

I first met the author in April of 2010 at a networking event. She was a speaker there, talking about managing your customer’s perceptions. During one of the early sessions (I didn’t know who she was or that she was speaking), I had mentioned on a social networking site that I felt the speaker didn’t apply to everyone and wished they had made it a breakout session. She made her way over to me and thanked me and told me she thought it was brave to put that out there. Again, I didn’t know she was speaking later on, and now I wonder if that was her true perception of me. I have always said what I thought and been vocal about it, so really it doesn’t matter, but given what her talk was on… well…

At any rate, her presentation was on the same topic as her book. It’s about how to manage your customer’s perception of you. Of not faking who you really are, of letting yourself shine through. I thought it was going to be a more of “how to pretend you know what you’re doing” type of presentation, but it was the exact opposite. As is this book. If you want to know how to make the boss think you’re the best thing since sliced bread by faking it, this is not the book for you. If you want to know how to bring yourself into your business and still shine, well, you need to read this.

Having seen her speak and having had a few conversations with her, it’s readily apparent to me why she is successful in her business and why she will continue to see success. Lauren has a ready sense of humor and a quick wit and she’s not afraid of showing it. This trait comes through in her writing. More than once, I found myself smiling and laughing. It’s so refreshing to see someone lay down how it all works. She gives actual concrete ideas (survey is genius, especially the spin she gives us for it – so simple yet so overlooked – even by myself!) that are fabulous take away items.

If you have an opportunity to see Ms. Pibworth speak, absolutely do it. Buy the book as well – it will reinforce what she is telling you. If you simply don’t have the chance to see her and you are a business professional, you have no excuse not to buy it. Now.

I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from this book, “One lesson I quickly learned was the difference between being a ‘professional’ – and being an unapproachable snob.” Amen, sister. Amen.

Perception is “How someone sees you and your company”. Everyone has their own perception of reality, and whether it corresponds to what you see as truth or not – it is THEIR truth and therefore has validity.

Quacking the Surface is a guidebook created for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to learn how to actively manage customer perceptions and appear to be the business of their dreams, while they are still actively building it. Too often we struggle as we attempt to thrive and grow in today’s competitive market, and one of the things that can hold us back is our customer’s perception of our company. Whether we ARE the best in our field or not really does not matter. What matters is what your customers think.

This is NOT a fake it till you make it book. In fact, it is the complete opposite. While the book does cover elements of visual branding and perception marketing, it is focused on elements of business professionalism, customer service and reputation management. The trick to successfully managing your customer’s perception is to live up to the image you create.

This book not only offers insights into what customers are looking for, but it is full of how to advice to show you how to build the business of your dreams, right from the start.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Book count for 2010: 60

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