CX Speak

31 Customer Experience Books You MUST Read

Written by Sonal Jaiswal | Evangelist, Customer Guru

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” ~ Groucho Marx

If you are anyone like me, you have a wall-high shelf full of books, and you take pride in your collection! I believe books are the best thing we invented that not only helps store valuable knowledge but also transfer the same through generations. Of course, the way we consume content has transformed enormously, but for most of us, books are still the best option when it comes to enhancing your knowledge, learn something new, or get a deeper understanding of a subject. For the bibliophiles who are also passionate about customer experience, here’s a list of 31 customer experience books you must read:

1. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

This wonderful book is authored by one of the most customer-centric business leaders of the world, Tony Hsieh. Incidentally, he leads one of the most customer-centric organizations in the world, Zappos. In this book, Hseih articulates his journey as an entrepreneur, focussing chiefly on LinkExchange and Zappos. He also emphasizes on how creating a customer-centric culture can change the face of an organization and bring in remarkable results. He goes on to record his learnings in how he created a long-term, enduring brand.

2. Chief Customer Officer 2.0: How to Build Your Customer-Driven Growth Engine by Jeanne Bliss

Written by one of the leading experts in customer experience, ‘Chief Customer Officer’ gives you a proven 5-competency framework that has launched and advanced the customer experience transformation in business-to-consumer and business-to-business companies around the world. This book outlines in detail Jeanne Bliss’ Five-Competency Model, the same model she uses to coach the C-Suite, Chief Customer Officers and Vice Presidents of Customer Experience globally.

3. The Ultimate Question 2.0 (Revised and Expanded Edition): How Net Promoter Companies Thrive in a Customer-Driven World by Fred Reichheld and Rob Markey

This amazing book has been co-authored by Rob Markey along with the founder of Net Promoter Score, Fred Reichheld. This practical and insightful book defines the fundamental concept of Net Promoter Score, explaining how it can help a company grow and increase profits. It also shares inspiring stories of organizations that have transformed their performance and grown tremendously by using this metric.

4. Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless, Customer Loyalty Is Priceless: How to Make Customers Love You, Keep Them Coming Back and Tell Everyone They Know by Jeffrey Gitomer

Customer service expert Jeffrey Gitomer enunciates on how to transform ‘satisfied customers’ into ‘loyal ones’. This book provides simple and practical techniques that are super easy to implement. He breaks down the components of ‘customer satisfaction’ and tells us why it has failed and builds a case for ‘customer loyalty’ as the way forward for businesses.

5. The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences (Financial Times Series) by Matt Watkinson

Winner of the ‘CMI Management Book of the Year 2014′, this book covers ten principles one can make to any business to make improvements to the customers’ experiences. This beautifully researched and well-articulated book is an excellent one for anyone who wants to put the customer at the heart of his business.

6. Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

In this New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling book, two social media experts, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith show how to one can tap into the power of social media to build a brand’s influence, reputation, stature, and profits. Combining high-level theory and practical advice, they deliver actionable strategies and real case studies that show how social media can positively impact your business. This book is certain to aid an organization in leveraging the power of the web and social media to help a business grow.

7. The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary – by Joseph Michelli

Written by the very famous business consultant, professional speaker, and author Joseph Michelli, this book gives out the secrets of the massive success of the most-loved coffeehouse chain in the world, Starbucks. Filled with real-life insider stories, eye-opening anecdotes, and solid step-by-step strategies, this fascinating book gives us great insights into what makes Starbucks one of the most admired brands in the world.

8. The Amazement Revolution: Seven Customer Service Strategies to Create an Amazing Customer (and Employee) Experience by Shep Hyken

This New York Times and Wall Street Journal is written by customer service expert Shep Hyken. In this insightful book, Hyken delivers seven powerful strategies that any organization can implement to create greater customer and employee loyalty: membership, serious FUN, partnership, hiring, the after-experience, community and walking the walk. Supporting the seven main strategies are 115 “Take-Away’s.”  There is definitely something here for everyone: owner, executive, and employee.

9. The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk

The New York Times best-selling author, Gary Vaynerchuk brings in an expansive look at the evolution of today’s marketplace, revealing the essential factors defining and driving successful relationships between businesses and consumers. The book reveals how companies big and small can scale personal, one-on-one attention to their entire customer base, no matter how large, using the same social media platforms that carry consumer word of mouth. Vaynerchuck uses stats, case studies, and firsthand experience to make his points and recommend actions.

10. The Customer Experience Edge: Technology and Techniques for Delivering an Enduring, Profitable and Positive Experience to Your Customers by Reza Soudagar, Vinay Iyer and Volker Hildebrand

Drawing on over sixty years of experience in shaping customer-centric strategies and technologies for leading companies, the authors bring practical and proven ways to create customer experience programs and overall business strategies. The key is to strike a balance between programs that are effective but prohibitively expensive and programs that fail to dedicate enough resources to be effective. In the middle ground lie the tools that everyone overlooks – foundational and disruptive technologies. This book explains how to combine strategy, leadership, organizational change, and technology to develop products and services that are highly valued by customers, form bonds that keep clients from turning to competitors and transform customers into your best advocates

11. The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty by  Matthew Dixon, Nicholas Toman and Rick DeLisi

In this book, the authors explain that basic premise that loyalty is driven by how well a company delivers on its basic promises and solves day-to-day problems, not on how spectacular its service experience might be. Most customers don’t want to be “wowed”; they want an effortless experience. And they are far more likely to punish you for bad service than to reward you for good service. This delightful book tells us that we may be solving the wrong problems sometimes; all you have to focus on is to provide “an effortless experience” to the customer.

12. Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization by Micah Solomon

In ‘Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit’, Leonardo Inghilleri and Micah Solomon reveal the secrets of providing online and offline customer service so superior that it nearly guarantees loyalty. Their anticipatory customer service approach was first developed at The Ritz-Carlton as well as at Solomon’s entertainment and technology company Oasis, and has since proven itself in countless companies around the globe from luxury giant BVLGARI to value-sensitive auto parts leader Carquest, and everywhere in between. This book offers some fundamental truths that are not just trendsetting tips, but timeless truths.

13. Measuring Customer Experience: How to Develop and Execute the Most Profitable Customer Experience Strategies by P. Klaus

P. Klaus is Professor of Customer Experience and Marketing Strategy and is a frequent keynote speaker. Based on rigorous scientific tools and global data, this book offers a simple but thorough guide on how to master the challenges of the market, and how to deliver superior performance through effective customer experience management.

14. Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service by The Disney Institute and Theodore Kinni

Exceeding expectations rather than simply satisfying them is the cornerstone of the Disney approach to customer service. In the amazing book ‘Be Our Guest’, Disney Institute, which specializes in helping professionals see new possibilities through concepts not found in the typical workplace, reveals even more of the business behind the magic of quality service. During the last twenty-five years, thousands of professionals from more than thirty-five countries and more than forty industries have attended business programs at Disney Institute and learned how to adapt the Disney approach for their own organizations.

15. The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles For Creating A Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy Of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company by Joseph Michelli

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company is a name synonymous with customer experience. ‘The New Gold Standard’ takes you on an exclusive tour behind the scenes of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. Granted unprecedented access to the company’s executives, staff, and its award-winning Leadership Center training facilities, bestselling author Joseph Michelli explores every level of leadership within the organization, giving wonderful insights into how one can ace customer experience.

16. Design Thinking: Integrating Innovation, Customer Experience, and Brand Value by Thomas Lockwood

A Ph.D in Design Management, author Thomas Lockwood, is recognized as a thought leader at integrating design and innovation into business and building great design and UX organizations. ‘Design Thinking’ is packed with intriguing case studies and practical advice from industry experts. This anthology is organized into three sections that focus on the use of design for innovation and brand-building, the emerging role of service design, and the design of meaningful customer experiences. This book provides readers with the strategies necessary to encourage the creative thought process in their companies, which will ultimately help to cultivate innovation, and therefore boost business.

17. Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business by Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine

Based on fourteen years of research by the customer experience leaders at Forrester Research, Outside In offers a complete roadmap to attaining the experience advantage. It starts with the concept of the Customer Experience Ecosystem—proof that the roots of customer experience problems lie not just with customer-facing employees like your sales staff, but with behind-the-scenes employees like accountants, lawyers, and programmers, as well as the policies, processes, and technologies that all your employees use every day. Identifying and solving these problems has the potential to dramatically increase sales and decrease costs.

18. Customer Experience For Dummies by Roy Barnes and Bob Kelleher

The authors of this book need little introduction. Roy Barnes is one of the leading authorities on Customer Experience Design and Performance Management. Bob Kelleher is the author of Employee Engagement For Dummies and the Founder of The Employee Engagement Group. The book gives details on positive ways to deal with an unhappy customer, customer experience killers to avoid, ten things to do to improve the experience delivery and a four week plan to redesign touchpoints.

19. Customers for Life: How to Turn That One-Time Buyer Into a Lifetime Customer by Carl Sewell and Paul Brown

This practical book explains how the groundbreaking “Ten Commandments of Customer Service” apply to today’s world. Sewell focuses on the expectations and demands of contemporary consumers and employees, showing that businesses can remain committed to quality service in the fast-paced new millennium by sticking to his time-proven approach: Figure out what customers want and make sure they get it.

20. I Love You More Than My Dog: Five Decisions That Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad by Jeanne Bliss

A second book by expert Jeanne Bliss in our list. This book discusses five key decisions that lead to customer devotion: Decide to believe, Decide with clarity of purpose, Decide to be real, Decide to be there and Decide to say “sorry”. Backed with wonderful examples and advice, this book is a must-read for anyone with a passion for customer experience.

21. The Customer Experience Fiasco: Learning from the Misguided Adventures of a Customer Experience Executive by Jeff Lewandowski, Andy Mattox and others

In ‘The Customer Experience Fiasco’, experts from Andrew Reise provide an engaging and instructive fable that unravels the mystique and complexity of customer experience strategy. While most such books are elucidate concepts that may not be very practical, the Andrew Reise team/writers have created a story that anyone can relate to and learn from.

22. What’s the Secret: To Providing a World-Class Customer Experience by John R. DiJulius

‘What’s the Secret?’ gives you an inside look at the world-class customer service strategies of some of today’s best companies. You’ll learn how companies like Disney, Nordstrom, and The Ritz-Carlton get 50,000 employees to deliver world-class customer service on a consistent basis- and how your company can too.
23. Loyalty Myths by Timothy L. Keiningham, Terry G. Vavra, Lerzan Aksoy, and Henri Wallard

In ‘Loyalty Myths’, the authors have assembled 53 of the most common beliefs about customer loyalty – all of them wrong or misconceived! Hence, the authors tear down false idols of customer loyalty. Each of the beliefs in this book is debunked with real-world examples and data, making it a riveting and insightful read!

24. The Cult of the Customer: Create an Amazing Customer Experience That Turns Satisfied Customers Into Customer Evangelists by Shep Hyken

A second book in this list by CEx expert Shep Hyken. In this book, Hyken shows how to design a strategy that leads both customers and employees through five distinct cultural phases – from “uncertainty” to “amazement.” By presenting dozens of case studies that show how great companies made this journey, Hyken identifies the critical internal and external changes that allowed them to build a Cult of the Customer – and shows how you can do it too.

25. Customer Loyalty: How to Earn It, How to Keep It by Jill Griffin

In the form of this book, marketing consultant Jill Griffin has written a practical guide for planning strategies to assure customer loyalty. She uses actual examples to describe whom a company should target, how to find qualified prospects, and how to turn customers into company advocates. Griffin also details how to win back inactive customers and how to develop a loyalty-driven corporate culture.

26. The Customer Experience Revolution: How Companies Like Apple, Amazon, and Starbucks Have Changed Business Forever by Jeofrey Bean, Sean Van Tyne

In their innovative book, ‘The Customer Experience Revolution: How Companies like Apple, Amazon, and Starbucks Have Changed Business Forever’, authors Jeofrey Bean and Sean Van Tyne uncover valuable insights about leadership and decision-making. It takes a solid look at the marketplace and why some business fail and other succeed beyond expectations, giving us valuable information in the process.

27. Creating and Delivering Your Value Proposition: Managing Customer Experience for Profit by Cindy Barnes, Helen Blake, David Pinder

‘Creating and Delivering Your Value Proposition’ provides guidance for business leaders – demonstrating why having a strong value proposition is so important for a company. This practical title shows readers how to build, deliver and harness value propositions to create profitable growth for a business, by utilizing the experience of clients and customers. Featuring global case studies and examples, this book is an essential guide to understanding and developing a value-focused strategy for all senior practitioners.

28. Loyalty Effect: The Hidden Force Behind Growth, Profits and Lasting Value by Frederick Reichheld and Thomas Teal

Fred Reichheld’s national bestseller ‘The Loyalty Effect’ shows why companies that ignore customer loyalty face a dismal future of low growth, weak profits, and shortened life expectancy. Reichheld demonstrates the power of loyalty-based management as a highly profitable alternative to the economics of perpetual churn. He makes a powerful economic case for loyalty and takes you through the numbers to prove it. His startling conclusion: Even a small improvement in customer retention can double profits in your company! The Loyalty Effect will change the way you think about loyalty, profits, and the nature of business.

29. The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence by Robert Spector and Patrick D. McCarthy

This book focuses on how Nordstrom delivers their superior customer service, from hiring and training to rewards and compensation. It includes a wealth of new resources for managers and trainers, including assessment tools, exercises for improving teamwork and morale, and the secrets of Nordstrom’s top-selling salespeople.

30. The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service by Lee Cockerell

Chock-full of universal advice, ‘The Customer Rules’ is the essential handbook for service excellence everywhere. In 39 digestible, bite-sized chapters, Lee Cockerell, former EVP of Walt Disney World, shares everything he has learned in his 40+ year career in the hospitality industry about creating an environment that keeps customers coming back for more. He not only shows why the customer always rules, but also shows the rules for serving customers so well that they’ll never want to do business with anyone but you.

31. The Customer Advocate and The Customer Saboteur by Michael Lowenstein

A very interesting take on building customer advocacy and understanding how to avoid customer saboteurs. Highly acclaimed by some of the most admired customer experience professionals, Michael presents a contemporary strategy in developing relationship with the social customer, applying analytics and understanding how social word-of-mouth should be used by businesses. A must-read for anyone building a modern-day customer-centric organization. (A huge thanks to Michael Lowenstein for reaching out and sharing this gem with us!)

Are there any other books that have helped you with customer experience that you’d like to include in this list? Do let us know!

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