Free, Perfect, and Now

Connecting to the Three Insatiable Customer Demands: A CEO's True Story

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In a world where knowledge is king, the Web never sleeps, and competitive challenge increases exponentially, Robert Rodin shows you how to prepare for the three insatiable demands of today's customers: they want their product or service FREE, they want it PERFECT, and they want it NOW. No matter what business you're in, you have to find a way to respond -- or risk losing your customers to competitors who are discovering new ways to sell your product or service cheaper, better, and faster than you've ever imagined.
As the dynamic CEO of electronics distributor Marshall Industries, Rob Rodin engineered the astounding reinvention of his company, turning a conventionally successful $500 million business into a Web-enabled $2 billion competitive powerhouse. Free, Perfect, and Now tells the dramatic story of that transformation from the inside. Detailing the hard lessons learned in competitive battle, it offers a compelling new perspective on the most pressing issue facing businesspeople today: how to prepare a customer-focused corporation for a future you can't predict.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684863122 | 
  • July 2000
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Customer Connection:

Addressing the Problem


"Why Do They Call It an Idiot Light?"

Do you lie awake at night, as I do, worrying that someone will come along tomorrow and eat your lunch?

In the electronic '90s, knowledge is king, the Web never sleeps, and competitive challenge increases exponentially. It's easy to feel overwhelmed. Dizzied by the frenetic pace of change and confused by overwhelming choices, too many managers react with too little too late -- then sit back and watch as their companies or their careers slowly wither.

Could this be you?

Absolutely.

Does it... see more

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Group Questions
1. How are your customers' demands today different than they were two years ago? How will they be different two years from now? What is driving that change? How will you have to change to meet it? Will your organization and customer connection be the same? Will you have the same definition of who your customer is? (Chapters 1 and 2)
2. How many people know your mission by heart? How many think it is relevant to how they do their job each day? Is it relevant to how you do your job? (Chapter 5)
3. What do your customers want when they talk with your salespeople? Does your compensation system motivate your sales team to provide it -- every time, one customer at a time? (Chapter 7)
4. What is the difference between data, information, and knowledge? Could technology help you turn what anyone on the frontline discovers into learning everyone in your organization can use? What would you most like to learn? What would your customers like to learn? What would give you the best gauge of your company's health and prospects? (Çhapter 8)
5. What makes a Web site "successful" for your customers? Could you create a networked connection that would make your product or service cheaper, faster, or better for them? How would you measure "better"? Who would your customers measure it? (Chapter 9) see more

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