“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

– Charles Dickens, ‘A Tale of Two Cities.’

Scott Stratten’s excellent new book is actually two books, printed back-to-back under the same cover.  “The Book of Business Awesome,” as its name suggests, is a collection of examples, ideas and concepts on how businesses can deliver extraordinary customer service through actually communicating and connecting with their customers. The flip side, “The Book of Business Unawesome,” shows the price of not communicating, not thinking, and not caring  about your customers.

As you might expect, social media plays a large role in both the positive examples and the negative examples of this book, but it is not a book about social media per say. Those looking for a nuts and bolts how to I do X, Y, and Z on Twitter, Facebook or practically any another sphere of social media would be better served by Arnie Kuenn’s excellent: Accelerate! that I reviewed this time last year. “The Book of Business Awesome,” however, is more of a call to arms for brands and companies to be something other than normal – particularly because normal can be so crappy – and to go out of their way for their customer.

To be funny.

To be honest.

To be human.

And to apologize because they genuinely regret a mistake, or bad customer experience, not because they got caught or called on it.

Really, this book is about culture and people. The stories that are replayed in both their awesomeness and unawesomeness throughout give a window into the soul of the featured companies. It shows ordinary front line employees doing extraordinary things and those extraordinary things having an impact far beyond the normal, or even intended, business interaction.  As Scott states on numerous occasions: social media doesn’t fix anything – it just makes things louder. If you don’t give a damn about customers when you transact with them – this will be heard loud and clear online and will also come across in your social media interactions.

Filled with links to additional content and even the odd QR code (I’d actually would have liked to see more QR codes, the link typing thing got old after a while) the Book of Business Awesome also has an excellent couple of chapters on public speaking and panel discussions. As a side note, if you ever get a chance to see Scott speak at a conference, or on his book tour, do so – for the rest of us there is YouTube!

Not as funny as Scott’s in-person presentations, The Book of Business Awesome is, however, just as passionate and quite amusing. And this is actually a very minor quibble consider that many business books are about as entertaining as a tax audit. It also probably says more about Scott’s skills as a public speaker than any lack of skill as a writer.

The Book of Business Awesome is nothing short of a bible for customer service in the Social Media age.

(Clicking on the cover above will take you to the book’s Amazon page and contribute to my book buying habit / problem.)