INDISPENSABLE | How to Build the Company That Your Customers Can’t Live Without


Summary of “Indispensable” : Among all the businesses that you know, there is bound to be a small number of them that are indispensable to you. What is it that makes these businesses stand out from the others? Joe Calloway breaks down the major principles in order to allow your business to become indispensable for your customers.

By Joe Calloway, 2005, 220 pages.

Chronicle and summary of “Indispensable”:

From the viewer who prefers to record every episode of Sex and the City rather than miss an episode, to the decision-maker in a large company who prefers a trustworthy salesperson over a less expensive competitor, there are customers who consider certain products or companies to be indispensable.

It is the Holy Grail of business: loyal customers who want to do business with you and only you when they buy your product or service. Think of a company that you cannot do without. You must have one, whether it is your local garage or the multinational that delivers your office supplies.

Indispensable companies are the ones that win the business even when their prices are higher. They are the ones that we will travel to visit even when we could find a similar product at a closer distance.

What is their secret to earning your trust and your consistent loyalty?

According to Joe Calloway, there are five drivers when it comes to establishing habits that will make the company that practices them indispensable. They influence one another.

1. Create and maintain movement

One of the greatest challenges facing businesses is the inertia of their organisation. It is a human tendency that a group of people will continue to do what they are doing because it has always worked in the past. The problem is that whatever you are doing that appears to be working may be what is preventing from taking your business to the next level.

To generate a progressive upward movement toward a new level of performance, you need to let go of what is working and make room for what is going to work. This is difficult. This requires courage. To achieve it, you have to perform a number of actions that are both difficult and simple. First, you have to decide to go for it. Most companies do not do this.

Most companies talk about achieving a new level of performance. They hold meetings on this subject, create mind maps and diagrams with their ideas… And in the end, everyone goes back to doing what they were doing before. It is like when you read a brochure about Barcelona and you tell all your friends that you are going there, but you never buy the plane ticket.

To create and maintain movement, you have decide to go for it. Assign the responsibility for the journey to someone, and then implement the actions necessary to ensure that it happens.

This is exactly what leadership is about: leaders of successful businesses see that their job consists of keeping everyone in movement and on the right track.

2. Develop reliability as a habit

Consistency of performance is the greatest magnet for customers. Ensuring that everything runs smoothly, the same way every time with a high level of service on the part of each employee in each location without fail is the glue that holds an indispensable business together.

If only one of your employees looks good, is friendly, professional and helpful, he or she may be indispensable to the customers he or she serves. However, this will not be the case for your business. A good indication that a company is in trouble is if the customers have to go on a treasure hunt to find the right employee.

3. Ongoing connection

This driver is simple, powerful and requires vigilance. Ongoing connection means that you maintain contact with your customers in a manner that strengthens your relations. Constant communication is the slogan of indispensable companies. Initiate the contact early, and often.

customers care

4. See the overall result

This means that you envisage the overall experience that your customer wants. It goes beyond the products or services and opens new ways of doing business. Instead of focusing on the product or service at the level of the transaction, focus on things like saving your customers money, or ease of use, or quality. Think about how your product or service can help your customers achieve their overall long-term objectives.

Of course, this means that you will need to put in some work to understand the long-term objectives of your customers. This is a job that few people are willing to take on. But it will be your competitive advantage.

5. Engage, enchant and excite

This driver is the opposite of analytical science. It’s magic. Most mediocre companies do not have the necessary talent to create magic. More importantly, they do not have the creativity or the vision to put it into place. The only thing they know how to do is to act through and because of figures.

This magic can also be called the WOW factor, in other words doing something that you did not have to do, and that the customer was not expecting you to do. This driver works hand in hand with seeing the overall result, and its effect on customer satisfaction and loyalty is incredible.

The idea is to be the best part of each customer’s day. Learn it. Do it. Live it.


Rather than develop hundreds of pages about the drivers, Joe Calloway gives the main outline and shows their practical applications through a number of in-depth case studies. Six of the seventeen chapters are devoted to them. He also gives us other methods, techniques and tips on how to become an indispensable business.

Chapter 4: Back to the six new basics

What people think is a radically new idea today will be the standard of tomorrow. What we call thinking “outside the box” in one field has been done for years in another. Let’s examine some very basic ideas. The thing is, that for many people, these ideas can be presented in a manner that you had not considered up to now.

Basic rule 1: Constantly say “Why not?”

You see things; and you say ‘Why?’  But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’

George Bernard Shaw

Say “Why not?” Say it early. And say it often. “Why nots?” are endless. Examine what you are doing and how you are doing it. Then challenge the assumptions. You can easily go back to what you were doing before. At least you will have gained valuable experience by thinking about it and looking for ways to improve it.

Basic rule 2: Get back inside the box

As a counterpoint to saying “Why not?” all the time, Joe Calloway makes another suggestion. Before embracing all those popular theories about thinking outside the box, you would do better to be completely sure that you have taken good care of everything that is located inside the box.

Too many companies are saying, “Let’s be different”. They should be saying: “Let’s get really good at what we were doing first, then we can be different”.

Basic rule 3: You will make partnerships

Who is your partner? Who has customers who could also be your customers?

business partnership

The days of “Here is what we’re offering and that’s all I can do for you” are quickly being replaced. Now it is a case of “I can put together the pieces of the puzzle and take care of you in general.” This does not mean spreading yourself thin or diluting your brand. It means that you can make a partnership with other companies that have a different product or service that offers value to your customers.

What other companies on your market – or not – complement yours? Be creative: if you have a cake shop, why not offer your cakes to the new hair salon that just opened so that they can give them to their customers?

Basic rule 4: Selling is dead

Traditional sales are going to continue their slow, well-deserved death. The idea that sales involves talking to someone and convincing them to buy your product is a concept that has largely disappeared. It will soon be a thing of the past, according to Joe Calloway. He does not like to sell anything to anyone, and in fact, he does not do it. When someone asks him: “Why should I do business with you?” Joe Calloway answers: “I don’t know that you should. That’s what we need to find out.”

For some people, this assertion could be a basic rule that you adopted a long time ago, but for many, it could be a sacrilege. It seems like something outrageous and naive.

No. It is simply recognising that the way people do business has changed. If your prospects are businesses, and you know everything about you but nothing about them, then you are done for.

The general idea according to which selling is a question of numbers remains true today, but they are not the same numbers. You are going to spend your time making phone calls to get meetings. Make 50 calls in one week. Then be happy if you make three sales. The author will take the time to prepare and learn more about the prospective business than you do. He will have seven conversations and make six sales.

Basic rule 5: Every that happens is normal

For the past ten years, newspapers and magazines have been bombarding us with headlines along the lines of:

  • “Living in a changing world!”
  • “Change! Get used to it!”
  • “Time to change!”
  • Etc.

We get it. Everything changes all the time and have to adapt in order to succeed. Ok.

The old rule was the ability to change during difficult times. The new rule is that there are no difficult times. There are just times. If we stop constantly judging whether what is happening is good or bad, then we will be in a better position to make the most of it.

Joe Calloway is not talking about times of war or hurricanes, death and destruction. They are genuinely difficult times. He is talking about when the economy is having a difficult time, high interest rates, new regulations, threats from your competitors, technological revolutions, etc. None of these things makes for difficult times. They simply are what they are. The mantra that works is: “Everything that is happening is normal.”

All that is pure perception. And don’t misunderstand: your perception IS your reality. You have no other way to look at the world apart from your own perception. It might as well be positive and allow you to act effectively.

Basic rule 6: Internet has changed nothing

This rule is going to annoy some people, in particular Internet evangelicals. Sorry, but for Joe Calloway, Internet changed nothing. In any case, nothing that is truly important.

Many technological innovations were supposed to replace older ones: the fax was going to make the post office obsolete, computers were going to get rid of paper, video-conferencing was to eliminate the need to meet people physically. None of this happened – which does not mean that these inventions do not provide value. While they may have changed the way we do business, they have not changed the profound nature of the rules of business.

Internet was supposed to replace all forms of advertising. As we can see, that is not the case. For several years, the Internet was a kind of virtual world in which the old rules were outdated. In particular, in this new economy, profitability was no longer necessary. And yet, business is business. And a magnificent website with no useful content serves no purpose.

The Internet is a wonderful tool – the author does business over the internet all the time – but this is not the point. Making customers happy is the point. And that hasn’t changed with the Internet.

Note: the concept of the Internet on which this conclusion is based – which seems relevant to me – is somewhat outdated and not very relevant, and seems to correspond to the mentality that was around just after the Internet bubble burst in 2001. However, the book was published at the beginning of 2005 and probably written in 2004, which no doubt explains this outdated context – 5 years on the Internet is equivalent to many more years in other sectors.

Chapter 6: Create community

The driver that is continuous connection is largely about creating a community. If you manage to build a community around your business, your products or your services, then you are touching the Holy Grail of marketing power. One of the companies that does this most successfully is Apple, with its computers, and then its iPods and its iPhones.

People who own a Harley Davidson or a Porsche wave to each other when they pass on the road because they belong to a community built around the product. It is a subtle wave of the hand and cool. It is a link that says: I am a free spirited guy, with long hair and tattoos and I look tough on a Harley. You are a dentist with short hair and a polo shirt and you only take your Harley out for a weekend rock and roll fantasy, but we still have something important in common.

Can any company create a community?

Yes, and your challenge is to find out how rather than starting from the bad position according to which a community does not apply to you. That is silly. There is an infinite number of ways to consolidate people around your product or company.

The car dealer who holds a monthly seminar called “Understand your car” with free hot dogs and a barbecue for new owners is a car dealer who understands the power of community. Just like the owner of a dry cleaner’s who sponsors a local football team and turns up to every match to sit with the parents of the players. Just like the restaurant that posts its most popular recipes on its web site and is always offering tips about cooking and wine.

Chapter 8: Obvious but often overlooked

It is an endless source of amusement, astonishment and frustration for Joe Calloway to see so many people in companies overlook the most obvious truths.

Obvious truth 1: You had me at hello

Something surprising happened to Joe Calloway the day he went to see one of his clients who worked for one of the best companies he knew. He was very proud of the consistency of their performance and their attention to detail.

When he arrived at the company just to pick up his client to go to lunch, Joe Calloway went up to the reception desk. The woman working behind the desk was taking some notes about something, so he waited for her to finish. Then she went onto her next task, which was to call someone up to tell them that their meeting was cancelled. Joe Calloway waited for her to finish. She then went onto her next task, which was to do something on her computer.

At that point, Calloway began to feel that the situation was somehow surreal. There he was, just a few inches away from her, and she had clearly placed him at the bottom of her to-do list.

He said “Hello”. She glanced at him briefly before turning back to her computer. He said, “Excuse me, I’m here to see someone.” With a look of resignation at being forced to interrupt her work at the reception desk in order to welcome someone, she asked “Who are you here to see?”

Aren’t you glad that this kind of thing could never happen in your company? Don’t be. It happens everywhere. Indispensable companies assume that there are bound to be some cracks in their organisation, and they maintain constant vigilance to fight against it.

business customers

“You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” What a cliché. But ideas become clichés because they are true. To be indispensable to your customers, you must focus a lot of energy on making a good impression.

The best way to check this is to play the “mystery customer”. You can hire the services of a company to do this.

Obvious truth 2: Talking about it doesn’t make it true

Beware of advertising today. The most often used and least true slogan is “We exceed our customers’ expectations.”  It has become a hugely popular phrase in mission orders, when announcing the company vision, and in advertising.

The fact is that very few companies exceed anyone’s expectations. And the ones that do are indispensable companies. When is the last time you surprised one of your oldest customers? It is a good indicator of whether or not you have exceeded your customers’ expectations. If this is not the case, at this very moment, someone else is wondering how to surprise your customers in a way that will make them think: “Hey. Why do YOU never do that for me?”

Obvious truth 3: Tell the truth

Conduct your own truth survey over the coming week. How many times do companies lie to you?

This problem is real, and yet most people do not pay attention to the fact that they can lie to customers every day. Moral considerations aside, lying is ineffective and inoperative.

If you hold a survey: “How many times has a company lied to you?” you will probably be shocked by the frequency with which this happens. You will end up with a list that is a veritable litany of lies. It’s as if lying has become the norm.

Truth begins internally. Lying is a leadership problem. Full stop. The culture of an organisation encourages truth telling or it does not. Any indispensable company will tell you that their customers’ loyalty partly derives from their habit of telling the truth. Truth is part of their corporate culture. If management lie to employees, then employees will lie to the customers.

Lies are often related to bad news. But the good news is that the customers can appreciate bad news, if it allows them to be better organised. Try not to let the bad news be too frequent, but if it is the case, then you have a poor quality product or service and you will be soon be out of the game.

You need to know how to announce bad news to customers. Do not do like the airline company staff when they tell you that the aircraft will depart on time even though the expected departure time is in five minutes and the plane has not landed yet.

Will she call me back before the end of the day? Will I get my delivery next week? Would you do this job for that budget? Can you guarantee that I will get the quantities I need?

These are all questions to which you can answer “no” and gain the confidence and loyalty of your customers. You will become indispensable to them, because you will know how to give them relevant and truthful information.

Your customers can handle bad news. What they cannot handle is not knowing what is going on.

Chapter 9: Right place – right time

Being in the right place at the right time with the right delivery time for the right product is getting very close to the universal formula for a successful business. Today, however, the meaning of the place, time and delivery has changed to include factors we did not think about years ago.

For an entire new generation of customers who grew up with their needs and desires satisfied 24/7, this type of accessibility is a real advantage. Their point of view would be: “Why is the bank not open on Sunday? Why would this not be the case? Who came up with the stupid idea that people do not need a loan on a Sunday?” And this applies to many other areas.

Clearly, balance is required. Being open on a Sunday or at night may enter into conflict with the strategic plans for your company, or with the personal preferences of employees. Sometimes the cost of overtime exceeds the benefits of improving customer satisfaction.

But it is important to identify the things that “nobody is doing in this field” and that you can change to give you a competitive advantage over your competitors. Things like more flexible opening hours, or opening on a day when your kind of business is traditionally closed. This requires courage.

So the next time someone in your company comes up with an idea that is clearly unrealistic and violates all the written and unwritten rules of your business, take a few minutes to ask yourself: “Ok, why not?” and “OK, what if?”

A large part of the success of McDonald’s is built on its flexible opening hours and its geographical proximity to just about everyone. It is one of the only places you can go to at any time of the day and be sure to leave with hot food within a few minutes.

Chapter 11: Big picture outcomes

People don’t buy products or services. People buy results. There is an old proverb that says: You don’t want a drill, you want a hole.

This means that you must go much further than the transaction, the product or the service. You have to understand that every customer brings an entire set of needs and desires to the table. In order to become indispensable, you have to address them all. To understand this, let’s look at an example:

Joe Calloway had a maintenance contract with the company that installed the air conditioning system in his home a few years previously. As part of this contract, the company sent a technician to perform maintenance every six months. During one of these inspections, the technician showed a perfect example of how to be fully present and his understanding of the overall result.

James, the technician, appeared to be doing his work with the serious approach that characterised the company. Joe Calloway realised that his two-year old daughter Jess was going to take her afternoon nap, and he told James that when he had finished his work, perhaps he would be putting Jess to bed, and that if that was the case he could simply leave.

indispensable company

Jess fell asleep very quickly. Then the author saw James going through the kitchen door. What attracted his attention was the subtle, but very significant way that James opened and closed the door as quietly as possible. Then he tiptoed over to Calloway and whispered: “Is the baby asleep?” The author told him that she was, and James made out his report while continuing to whisper. When he left the house, he was careful to make as little noise as possible.

Some of you might say: “Ok. So, he whispered. Very touching. Very cute. Big deal. So what?” It’s not a big deal. It’s a HUGE deal. What James did is the essence of what makes a company indispensable. James understood that he was not there to inspect the air conditioning system. He was there to pay attention to their home. This started, of course, by doing a good job of inspecting the equipment, but it didn’t stop there.

In most companies, they tell a new employee what his or her duties are, describe the position and he or she immediately begins training on the job. They never tell them what their objective is. Focus is almost exclusively on the “What we do”and almost never on the “Why we do it”. But this question of “why” is what allows us to consider the overall result and become indispensable to its customers.

Joe Calloway used to say that he was a business speaker and an author. Then one of these friends said to him “It’s like you are saying that you are a Coke dispenser”. And Calloway understood. Do not confuse the system of delivery with the product. Joe Calloway’s product is ideas that help businesses to build their brand and to be more competitive.

Chapter 12: Twenty eight indispensable lessons

In this chapter, Joe Calloway offers us 28 lessons on the art of becoming and the way to become indispensable. The challenge they represent is that you must detect the ones that are applicable to your business. Then you have to creatively discover what particular version works for you. What would be even more productive would be to make your own list of 28, 50 or 100 companies that you and your team could study for your creative inspiration. Be warned, however – it is not a question of copying someone or poaching their fish. It is about where to fish for yourself by drawing inspiration from others.

  1. Have the lowest price. It is a good way to become genuinely indispensable for a large segment of the market.
  2. Compete with the lowest prices with your own version of “plus”. Propose a plus with your product that makes you truly stand out from your competitors, including the ones that are cheaper than you.
  3. Wow – nobody else has that. Creating new products that don’t exist yet and respond to a need is a good way to become indispensable – before others start to copy you.
  4. Become a way of life. Some products are more than just consumer goods. They characterise a way of live, like a Harley Davidson, and convey a powerful symbol for their buyers and the people they meet. Another good way to become indispensable.
  5. Be the good guys and
  6. Have the right product. Here are two ways that can combine to create a powerful force to stand out. Do not compromise on quality and do not compromise on human values.
  7. Know your customers and
  8. Change when they change. Never assume that you know what your customers want to buy today because you knew what they wanted to buy last year.
  9. Be one thing less they have to worry about. One of the oldest lessons in books about business is the power of consistency. Consistency in performance and reliability make you something that your customers don’t have to worry about. This is the fast track to becoming indispensable.
  10. Make life simpler. If you are positioned in the market as the choice that makes life simpler, you are on the right track to becoming indispensable. Look at the companies that you believe to be indispensable; there is a good chance that they make your life easier.
  11. Know when it’s not your job. There is a big difference between being able to get a job and being able to do it. One of the worst professional mistakes that Joe Calloway made was when he took a job that was not for him. The courage to say “no” to a job or to clients who have no correspondence with you may be one of your most important investments in becoming indispensable.
  12. Do your best all the time. The history of music is full of artists who had one hit before falling into oblivion. It is much rarer to find artists who have consistent hits in the long term. Be like them. You may have signed countless loans for your bank, fitted hundreds of carpets in houses, or created more websites than you can count, remember that for me, the customer, there is only one loan, one home and one website in my world. Do your best all the time and you will become indispensable. And here are 16 short lessons.
  13. Make it simple. Then make it even more simple.
  14. Remember what they are really buying.
  15. Spend money to find the next idea.
  16. Be prepared to be wrong. Errors offer information.
  17. Don’t save ten cents to lose fifty in six months.
  18. The power of charisma. Having charisma is a major part of leadership.
  19. Half-baked generic marketing. Avoid junk mailing sending out 300,000 flyers for nothing. Computer technology now allows you to personalise your marketing for next to nothing. Do it.
  20. Pay for performance. Set up rewards for your best employees. Note: On the other hand, scientific research shows that do rewards work to motivate employees who do mechanical tasks. However, they are completely counter-productive once the task requires minimal creativity. Watch this video by Dan Pink for more information (15 minutes).
  21. Use the customer’s name from the start and use it often.
  22. Tell stories. Stories are infinitely more powerful than numbers.
  23. Change the way people buy or use. The product does not count so much as the way you deliver it.
  24. The best place to be is everywhere.
  25. Six words or less. Summarize what you do for your customers in six words or less.
  26. Allow your colleagues and employees to surprise you.
  27. Take something away. Examine your product or service, and examine how you can improve it by removing something.
  28. The market decides. If your competitor wins the battle of the customers, this means that he is offering something that your customers want, and you’re not. You don’t decide who wins, the customer does. Listen to the customer.

Chapter 14: Repeatable process

Having some employees who, luckily, have a good notion of human relations and know how to take care of a customer is all very well. But having a repeatable process that makes extraordinary interactions with customers the rule and not the exception is even better. To do this, you have to remove, or at least minimize, the luck factor. This involves establishing processes and procedures that allow everyone to know what they have to do in all circumstances.

Joe Calloway takes a position here that is the opposite of that of Chet Holmes in The Ultimate Sales Machine: he is against employing superstars, because by definition a superstar is above the average. What we want is a completely different standard of behaviour which is considered to be the rule: the objective is to have normal people who accomplish extraordinary things with customers every day. Extraordinary in relation to the competition, not compared to the other members of your team.

Chapter 15: Stop apologising – start doing your job

We all know the carpenter’s old adage: “measure twice, cut once”. This applies to creating consistency in performance. If having a good experience with your company depends on my being lucky enough to come across the right employee, then you have a huge problem.

Most companies spend their time apologising rather than solving their root problems. Let’s look at an example experienced by the author to get a sense of this:

Joe Calloway landed at Springfield airport. His hotel was next to the airport, so he called it to find out about the shuttle service. The employee told him that the shuttle would be there in ten minutes. So Calloway waited for the shuttle outside. 5 minutes went by. 10 minutes went by, then 15. He went back into the airport, called the hotel, and asked why the shuttle had not arrived. The employee said that the shuttle would be there in ten minutes. The author said that he could not wait any longer and that he was going to take a taxi, and the employee told him: “Do as you please”.

hotle pickup

When he got to the hotel, he was a little heated. At the reception, the employee was the same person he spoke to on the phone. When he asked him why he had told him that the shuttle was going to arrive in ten minutes when it had not even left the hotel, the receptionist said: “Sir, the driver of the shuttle had other things to do apart from driving the shuttle. He must have been busy”.

Calloway expressed his discontent in clear and precise terms, and the other receptionists kept their heads down, avoiding his eyes. He went to his room, dissatisfied.

One of the receptionists must have told the manager, because he called 15 minutes later to say how sorry he was and that he would send up a bottle of wine and a fruit platter as an apology. Calloway thanked him and hung up saying to himself: “Now that manager would have made a very good bus driver”.

One of the surest signs of a B-list company is the number of apologies it makes to its customers. Indispensable companies do not spend a lot of time apologising. They spend this energy on training, on building a company culture, and on constant communication about what is important and what is expected. “Problem solving” and “Managing customer complaints” training is good, but if I am your customer, I would prefer that you took a training course in “doing your job right the first time”.

When a customer complains, listen to him or her and ask several questions in order to understand what happened and to find solutions to prevent it from happening again.

Chapter 17: The customer decides

Here are a few additional lessons learned from BtoC (business to customer) business that the author believes can apply to BtoB:

  1. Do not take your customer for a fool, even if s/he is one. Your job is to solve your customers’ problems, not to expect them to know as much as you do about what you are doing.
  2. When you are my customer, you are the most important person in the world to me.
  3. If the customer is not happy, make sure that s/he is. Even if it costs you money, make it so. It is the difference between making money on one transaction, and building a fortune with a lifetime income.
  4. People are a soft touch when it comes to their children. If you can make your company child-friendly, the parents will love you for it. Joe Calloway is strictly involved in BtoB, but every time he asks his customers about their children he scores some points. And you will score points, on condition that you do it sincerely. Either you are interested in people or you are not. If you are, it helps.
  5. When the owner or manager changes, the new sheriff in town is advised to perform a little customer research and find out what has been working up to now. If you are on the point of changing something about the way in which things are done, you must at least inform your customers that changes are in the pipeline.
  6. We often hear that “The customer is always right”. Add the following sentences: your customer is cool. Your customer is trendy. Your customer smells nice and rocks. Repeat after me – Honour the customer.
  7. When you run into problems, you remember who was there to help you. When things get tough for your customers, be there.

Book critique of “Indispensable”

Joe Calloway offers concrete, down-to-earth advice about how to make your business indispensable. His book is surprisingly empty of any frills, hype and complicated jargon. His style – honest, frank, and perhaps a little too direct – is perfect for the bottom line of the book. It is a kind of “User manual for companies”. It has the simple and effective approach of the guy standing on his own two feet saying “before thinking web 2.0, social media, SEO, PNL, organisational methods and marketing strategies, find out if your customers are satisfied. Find out whether you are making stupid mistakes in important places”. It is a back to basics, “the best methods are the ones that are tried and tested” and “Remember your ABCs”, which could be boring, but in fact seemed to me to be refreshing and relevant.

Most of the content of this book may seem obvious, but it is often tackled in an original way or one that is different to what we can see. It gives us a fresh perspective on simple yet essential concepts that are often forgotten or neglected. In addition to this, I find the author’s focus on what makes companies indispensable – and his commitment to customer service – particularly interesting. The author delivers a detailed manual point by point about how to make your customer more than satisfied. The book devotes 6 chapters out of 17 to case studies that allow you to understand how the five drivers and the other principles can be put in place in your company. What’s more, the author gets right to the essential and pinpoints problems and how to fix them.

When it comes to its flaws, we should mention that the structure of the book is a little disjointed. It looks more like a collection of tips than a well-organised system to become an indispensable company. It is up to the reader to identify the advice that is of interest and applies, and “creatively find the particular variation of the advice that works for us”. The candid and straightforward style of the author may displease some readers, and he can sometimes seem a little authoritarian when he says “If you don’t do this, then you are heading straight for the wall”.

But his frank and engaging style is a call to action: expect to be engaged and challenged by this book, as well as motivated and inspired. A must-read book, easy to read and packed with concrete and relevant advice.

Strong points:

  • Simple, frank and to the point
  • A collection of methods and tips that point precisely to the problems and the ways to fix them.
  • Laser-sharp focus on what makes a company indispensable: customer service
  • Numerous case studies to understand the concepts
  • A motivational and engaging style

Weak points:

  • The organisation of the book is a little disjointed: it is a collection of advice rather than an organised system
  • Joe Calloway’s style may feel a little too prescriptive and authoritarian

My rating : business customers calloway business customers calloway business customers callowaybusiness customers callowaybusiness customers callowaybusiness customers callowaybusiness customers callowaybusiness customers callowaybusiness customers calloway

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