by Frederick Newell
McGraw-Hill, 2000, 325 pages, $29.95

Consider your wallet for a moment. If you're a typical consumer, you likely have a few loyalty cards from thefollowing in there: your bank, your supermarket, hotels, airlines, department stores, your long-distanceprovider, drugstores, gasoline companies, and your favorite specialty stores. But have any of these cards reallyhelped these companies gain your loyalty?

If your business thinks it can buy customer loyalty, think again, writes Frederick Newell in loyalty.com. He maintains that loyaltycards and points programs generally miss the point. These programs don't consider what customers want. And the key toloyalty is giving customers what they want to buy -- as opposed to what you want to sell them.

We all recognize that today's selling environment is undergoing enormous changes. The stakes are high. If you can't buy yourcustomers' loyalty, how can you keep them coming back again and again?

The Power of CRM

According to Newell, companies need to implement the strategies and techniques of customer relationship management(CRM), "the tool that unlocks your power, including the power of the Internet where people can meet and relate."

Newell believes that CRM will gain additional sharpness as the capacities of communication continue to grow. And withoutCRM, a business will find it difficult to exist profitably in the new selling environment.

loyalty.com is a thorough overview of CRM. It includes discussions of how to fully utilize technology such as the Internet,data mining, and print-on-demand to build relationships with customers, but it also covers far more than new technologies. It'sa guidebook on how to implement CRM in every aspect of your business.

In-Depth Treatment of Familiar Ideas

At this point, many of the ideas are familiar. Most companies recognize the benefits of one-to-one marketing and realize theyshould be providing solutions, not products. But the book is valuable because of its in-depth treatment ofCRM. It includes "Quick Tips" at the end of each section, numerous case studies, and it's written inclear, straightforward language.

If your business -- like most every business -- has struggled with how to keep your customers coming back, youdefinitely want to read this book.

Copyright © 2000 Soundview Executive Book Summaries