No matter how great you think your customer service is, there’s no refuting the fact that to stay in business, you need to constantly up your game. One of the best ways to improve is by reading up on the topic.
While the internet is a treasure trove of resources, we’d like to share a list of seven books we think you should read at least once if you’re in a customer-facing role.
Let’s jump right in.
Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business
by Frances Frei and Anne Morriss
Frei and Morriss make a counter-intuitive but compelling argument that to be successful, businesses need to quit trying to be perfect. Instead, you should excel in the business function your customers value the most and accept that you’ll need to make some trade-offs in other areas in the process. They uncover four basic truths about customer service that companies must understand in order to boost productivity, profitability, and gain a sustainable competitive advantage.
The Cult of the Customer: Create an Amazing Customer Experience that Turns Satisfied Customers into Customer Evangelists
by Shep Hyke
In this book, Hyke explains how customer loyalty starts from within your company—your employees are internal customers. If employees are not treated well, there won’t be any customer loyalty. He discusses five distinct cultural phases—uncertainty, alignment, experience, ownership, and amazement—and shows how to design a strategy that leads your customers and employees through these phases. He explains every aspect clearly without leaving anything to question.
The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence: The Handbook for Becoming the “Nordstrom” of Your Industry
by Robert Spector and Patrick D. McCarthy
Nordstrom has been synonymous with legendary customer service for over a century, and this book does a wonderful job of explaining how you can do the same by going above and beyond in delighting customers. What this book stresses repeatedly is that management needs to trust their employees and give them the freedom to make their own decisions when it comes to serving customers. While most relevant to retail, this book has ideas that can be extrapolated to businesses in any industry.
Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers
by Jay Baer
All brands, from your regular mom and pop stores to the Walmarts of the world, have their own set of haters. These haters can be broadly categorized into two sets: 1) folks who just want solutions to their problem at hand and resort to normal media such as phone calls or emails to the service desk for issue resolution, and 2) those who want more than just a solution to their problem and hence seek out an audience with whom to share their grievance, usually on social media. This book is a wonderful compilation of how to handle both sets of haters. It’s supported by real-life research and examples, making for an engaging read.
The Thank You Economy
by Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary V eloquently describes three key pillars to building strong customer relationships. In this book, he speaks about the importance of companies embracing and adapting to social media patterns to improve customer retention, as well as the need to distinctly manage traditional and online media channels.
Strategic Customer Service
by John Goodman
In his book, leading customer care consultant John Goodman explores ways to leverage the incredible power of customer service to increase word-of-mouth marketing for your brand as well as customer loyalty. Drawing on over 30 years of experience researching global brands such as 3M, Coke, GE, FedEx, and more, he makes a compelling case for the importance of aligning customer service with corporate strategy to stand out amongst the hundreds of competitors vying for your customer’s attention.
Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit
by Leonardo Inghelliri and Micah Solomon
Inghelliri and Solomon reveal the secrets behind providing customer service that guarantees customer loyalty and word-of-mouth promotion. Their anticipatory customer service approach, first developed at the Ritz Carlton and then successfully proven at other corporate houses across various industries, is a hallmark for making your customers less sensitive to price competition and more tolerant of small issues. This book will have you wanting to implement their tested methodologies in your organization as soon as possible.
We hope you find these books helpful. Do let us know if you agree with our picks, and add your own favorites in the comments!