The most effective lessons to excel at work are learned through experience, with books coming a close second. Supplementing your real-life experience with the wisdom and research of Customer Service leaders who have done it before, can help you avoid common mistakes and help you charter a long fulfilling career in Customer Success.
At HappyFox, we like to read. We believe it is an essential part of building our customer relations and improving customer loyalty. Here is an updated list of books that our experts have read, loved, and recommend.
Our Top Picks for Customer Service Books
26. The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty
by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, Rick DeLisi
“Most customers don’t want to be dazzled; they want an effortless experience.“
What are the myths about customer loyalty? What does it mean to delight customers? Backed by their experience at CEB, Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, Rick DeLisi combine their knowledge to tell you how devoting time and coming through on your basic promises to your customer is what makes them stick with you through thick and thin.
25. Raise the Bar: An Action-Based Method for Maximum Customer Reactions
by Jon Taffer
“All business is about creating the right reactions in your customers.”
Touted as the visionary in the food and beverage, hotel, and hospitality industries, Jon Taffer’s book throws light on methods to control customer reactions. If you’re a fan of his TV series Bar Rescue, you will find this a stunning read. A booming restaurant business is a background for his take on gathering customer satisfaction.
24. The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company
by Joseph Michelli
“When a business defies the traditional, when it ‘colors outside the lines’, customers often receive exceptional experiences.”
Often a topic of excellent case studies, The Ritz-Carlton hotel is the very definition of luxury and is the frontrunner in the field of extraordinary customer service. In this book, Joseph Michelli provides anecdotes from their leadership who delve into the 5 important principles that differentiate their great customer service from any other good customer service.
23. Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding the Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty
by Patrick Lencioni
“What makes naked service worthwhile is that it puts us in a position to more effectively help our clients, which of course, is what providing service is all about.”
This self-described fable by Patrick Lencioni explains the theory of vulnerability and how to utilize this powerful but often missed human emotion to power your customer support teams’ efforts. This book discusses the principles of “naked service” that helps service providers of all types can to sell and serve their customers better.
22. Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization
by Leonardo Inghilleri and Micah Solomon
“The primary threat to a business today is the perception that all you offer is a replaceable, interchangeable commodity.”
The book explains some otherwise never-to-be-disclosed secrets of building an exceptional customer service organization. With examples from brands that have raked in the money with their principles, this book is a knowledge repository for a customer service representative.
21. Strategic Customer Service: Managing the Customer Experience to Increase Positive Word of Mouth, Build Loyalty, and Maximize Profits
by John A. Goodman
“Customer service has become too important to leave to business-as-usual tactical methods.”
Your company’s finances are directly impacted by your customer service. The easiest way to market your company is to get your customers to talk about it. This book by John A. Goodman explains the concept of using the ‘word of mouth’ tactic to maximize profits and a lot of other simple ideas to get your company’s growth to skyrocket in a short period.
20. Managing the Customer Experience: Turning customers into advocates
by Shaun Smith and Joe L. Wheeler
“You need loyal customers, not satisfied ones.”
This book throws light on creating a branded customer experience. Shaun asks you pertinent questions like how Harley Davidson has continuous growth with such minimal advertising or how Virgin Atlantic is seeing such a massive customer base. With real examples and templates, the authors create a comprehensive manual to teach you how to turn customers into advocates for your product in a simple and elegant manner.
19. The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary
by Joseph A. Michelli
“A vision and a plan executed to perfection are what categorize great businesses.”
Starbucks is not the best coffee shop out there. It is better than that. With stocks seeing phenomenal growth year after year – staggering 5,000 percent since 1992, Joseph A. Michelli again brings insight into how Starbucks became what it today is. This book talks about the principles the insiders follow to thrive and provides a number of examples and strategies anyone can follow to replicate Starbucks’ success.
18. Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers
by Jay Baer
“The most dangerous customers aren’t your haters; they are the “meh” in the middle, the dissatisfied customers who don’t take the time to complain.”
In this book, the bestselling author Jay Baer sheds light on modern consumers, the modern approach to serving them. He talks about ‘haters’, who are essentially unhappy customers – offstage and onstage, and how great companies respond to their grievances. Backed by solid research and data, this book gives you tips and tricks to strengthen your company by listening to your customers.
17. Secret Service: Hidden Systems That Deliver Unforgettable Customer Service
by John R. DiJulius
“Customers are willing to pay a premium to have their needs met and there’s no limit to what they’ll spend if their expectations are consistently exceeded.”
In this book, John R. DiJulius reveals some interesting and practical methods to surpass great customer experience and satisfaction, employee retention. He also discusses the best practical and realistic practices every company must uphold to continue to keep up the momentum going and turn good customer service into exceptional experiences.
16. The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service
by Lee Cockerel
“Great service does not cost any more money than average or poor service.”
Authored by Lee Cockerell, the former EVP of Walt Disney World shares 39 rules for serving customers so well that they never would want to do business with anyone else. This succinct book is packed with wisdom like building meaningful relationships, going above and beyond expectations as a service provider. He puts forth examples of things that worked for him and how.
15. Beans: Four Principles for Running a Business in Good Times or Bad
by Leslie Yerkes, Bob Nelson, Charles Decker
“You’re known by the company you keep.”
This is no self-help book. Beans by Leslie Yerkes, Bob Nelson, Charles Decker is a short story about El Espresso, a small coffee company and it’s zealous and loyal customers. It takes the journey of a fictional character called David to explain how he competes and triumphs against the Goliaths of this corporate world by creating a successful business around a product.
14. Customers for Life: How to Turn that One-time Buyer Into a Lifetime Customer
by Carl Sewell, Paul Brown
“We have to realize that there is only one way to differentiate ourselves. And that is through our people.”
The book is a classic. They didn’t call this the ‘Book of the year’ for no reason. It tells you how to measure customer satisfaction, set the guidelines and benchmarks, and achieve phenomenal growth for your company. The authors talk about the “Ten Commandments of Customer Service” that are relevant to today’s customers. This book is packed with wisdom from the authors’ experience working at organizations famous for their excellent customer service.
13. What’s the Secret: To Providing a World-Class Customer Experience
by John R. DiJulius
“When it comes to products, people are realizing that the cheaper they go, the more it costs them.”
Another book from John R. DiJulius, this one has real examples of organizations that have successfully led their customer service efforts speak for themselves – companies like Disney, Nordstrom, and The Ritz-Carlton being consistently named as top customer-centric organizations. John’s demonstrated methods and guides in the book are truly world-class methods that have time and again proven to help companies bring about amazing customer experience.
12. The Amazement Revolution: Seven Customer Service Strategies to Create an Amazing Customer (and Employee) Experience
by Shep Hyken
“Amaze your employees and they’ll spread the amazement.”
Shep Hyken is no newbie to customer service. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author’s blogs are quite a rage amongst companies. He has just summed up some of his theories under a book, where anybody who upholds these 7 strategies and ‘Amazement Tools’—like “Ask the extra question”; is almost certain to succeed.
11. Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service
by Theodore B. Kinni
“There are three features of great service moments to keep in mind. They are high-touch, high-show, and high-tech.”
Words like the above could throw you off, but the explanations for those are so mighty simple. Theodore B. Kinni makes customer service look like a Sunday morning walk. This book gives you a sneak peek at Disney’s successful and consistent customer service. It is an unputdownable treasure trove of information for your business.
10. The Thank You Economy
by Gary Vaynerchuk
“The only thing that never changes is human nature. Given a choice, people will always spend their money on people they like.”
The above is probably a highly profound description of human nature; that we would love to spend on people we like. The New York Times bestselling author, speaker Gary Vaynerchuk gives us a solid and well-researched book that showcases the power of creating lifetime customer value through personal touch for that competitive edge. If your customers like you, your coffers will never dry. This book teaches you how to make them like you. Simple.
9. Customer Loyalty: How to Earn It, How to Keep It
by Jill Griffin
“Perhaps the biggest reason for the disparity between satisfaction rating and repeat purchase is the measurement of satisfaction itself”
A bestseller by Jill Griffin, this book is about the ‘it’ factor – going above and beyond in customer service. The author defines what customer loyalty truly means and how it differentiates from customer satisfaction and most importantly how organizations can start working towards a customer loyal base.
8. Chief Customer Officer 2.0: How to Build Your Customer-Driven Growth Engine
by Jeanne Bliss
“Earn the right to business growth by embracing employees and customers and delivering an experience they want to have again and tell others about.”
A must-read for leadership teams, Jeanne Bliss’ book is revolutionary if you’re looking to make a shift onto customer-focused. “Chief Customer Officer” is a relatively new but rapidly growing role. Often called the “Customer Care Bible”, this book is packed with high-profit strategies and frameworks, asking you difficult questions along the way to make you think and develop a customer-centric mindset.
7. What Customers Crave: How to Create Relevant and Memorable Experiences at Every Touchpoint
by Nicholas Webb
“Innovation is as much a philosophy as it is a business discipline. The philosophy begins with a customer-centered view of the universe.”
The book offers great insight into the “hyper-connected economy” and the customers in this new digital era especially with the growth of social media. The book encourages you to dig deeper into your customer journey (‘touchpoints’) and find out what they like and dislike and the ever-changing customer expectations and how a business can benefit from providing innovative customer service by going a step beyond and understanding the ‘soul of the customer’, to complement a ‘good’ product.
6. The Cult of the Customer: Create an Amazing Customer Experience That Turns Satisfied Customers Into Customer Evangelists
by Shep Hyken
“The purpose of every business and organization is to get and keep customers.”
Shep Hyken brings another brilliant book on tools and tricks to “wow” their customers. In this hyper-competitive world, ‘satisfying’ experience is not enough. The Cult provides the five cults of the customer and a great framework that is easy and usable to elevate your customers into ‘evangelists’ for your organization.
5. The Best Service is No Service: How to Liberate Your Customers from Customer Service, Keep Them Happy, and Control Costs
by Bill Price and David Jaffe
“The most radical and far-reaching solutions often need rethinking of processes and deep questioning of the status quo-and these are hard.”
In this interesting and rather non-standard book, the authors throw light on a game-changing approach to customer service. They argue that organizations need to strategically reduce customer contact (“dumb contact”) and promote “self-service”. They also point out how managers make the mistake of utilizing the wrong metrics to measure their effectiveness. This engrossing book lists seven principles to deliver the best service that ultimately leads to “no service’.
4. The Nordstrom Way: The Inside Story of America’s #1 Customer Service Company
by Robert Spector
“At Nordstrom, we Outservice, not Outsmart”
Nordstrom’s way of doing customer service is renowned world over. They have set the benchmarks for customer service, and in this book, the author, Robert Spector explains how you can do so too. A customer service classic, this is the story of a company that built customer service deeply into its company culture.
3. Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business
by Anne Morriss and Frances Frei
“To achieve service excellence, you must underperform in strategic ways. This means delivering on the service dimensions your customers value most, and then making it possible—profitable and sustainable—by performing poorly on the dimensions they value least. In other words, you must be bad in the service of good.”
Uncommon Service, written by Anne Morriss and Frances Frei is a favorite among the service industry. And rightly so. It is full of case studies, giving practical and strategic ways in which an organization can design and build their service team members, making a massive impact on their customers. Written by two Havard professors, this book is a must-read for all service leaders.
2. Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless: How to Make Them Love You, Keep You Coming Back, and Tell Everyone They Know
by Jeffery Gitomer
“Customer Loyalty is the measure of your present and future success.”
It is the only measure of any company’s success, isn’t it? This book is a gold mine of 12 simple and practical ways for business owners to create and deliver outstanding customer service culture. This book by Jeffery Gitomer is 2nd best on our list because the methods are so simple, it would be appalling how we couldn’t think of them ourselves. But since you didn’t, go ahead and read this classic.
1. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
by Tony Hsieh
“I didn’t know why. I just knew I needed to know where my path began. And then just before reality returned and time started moving again, I figured it out.”
This book is the top of our list. This is not a self-help book. This does not tell you what your company should do. In fact, it does not give you any directions. What makes this our best pick is that this is an honest recollection of one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, explaining his mistakes, his learnings, and his takeaways from establishing his own little empire on the internet.
Voice Your Views
No matter how great your customer service is, you can always improve by learning from industry experts. Now that we have summarized our views for you, we would love to hear yours. If you’re looking for customer service excellence, don’t forget to check out these recommendations. Let us know if we have missed out any of your favorite business books, and also let us know why it tops your charts.