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Top 30 Customer Service Books Every Team Needs to Read

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.
Charles W. Eliot

Sometimes we learn important customer service skills through training, or through years of hard-earned experience. But other times we can take the wisdom someone else has so carefully researched, developed, and discovered by reading a book in your free time.

For big support teams with busy professionals, however, finding the extra time to read is already a challenge. To have to shift through the numerous titles on the subject can make it an overwhelming feat. But we still want you to be able to take advantage of the books that can transform your current customer support operations. For this reason, we’ve compiled a list of 30 excellent customer service related books, separated by comprehensive categories so you can find exactly what you need in record time.

For Support Team Leaders

If you’re a support team leader, then you’re at the helm of your daily support operations. For this reason, reading books that can help you gain a broader perspective on the issues you and your agents face will help you fine-tune your day-to-day operations. These are also books that can help you acquire crucial insight and skills down to pass the whole team, so everyone can benefit.

1. Service Failure: The Real Reasons Employees Struggle with Customer Service and What You Can Do About It by Jeff Toister

In this book, customer service expert Jeff Toister points out the many reasons representatives fail to deliver excellent service, from specific interactions with customers to organization-wide issues. This book will serve as a guide for why support teams fail, and how you can avoid a similar fate.

2. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

In the most difficult support leader scenarios, you may find yourself running out of fuel. This groundbreaking book explains how a fixed mindset, one that’s focused on success and ego, will keep you from finding the solutions to your most difficult problems. Instead, Dweck encourages you to embrace a growth mindset, one that gets you to take on challenges with enthusiasm and zeal. As a team leader or manager, you would do well to study the principles of a growth mindset, and apply them to the numerous challenges you face managing staff, customers, and internal operations.

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3. Customer Experience 3.0: High-Profit Strategies in the Age of Techno Service by John A. Goodman

With all of the technological developments in recent years, it’s important to be able to leverage them in order to stay current with your customer service operations. Goodman shows you how to develop and implement a good customer service strategy with the cutting-edge tools at your disposal. It’s a terrific read for leaders who are looking to grow their support team’s digital impact.

4. The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes by William Ury

Whether you’re dealing with a customer or speaking to your agents, being able to say no is crucial if you want to get things done. But saying no outright can be difficult for many people. In this book, Ury teaches you the steps to a positive no. Having this skill will not only give you confidence in your convictions, but also help others accept, and even embrace, your position.

5. Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

This best-selling book is a classic text that can inspire you to speak effectively to your team in the most stressful and time-sensitive situations. The second edition, updated with case studies and additional resources, will show you how to be, “persuasive, not abrasive.”

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

This book will show you how to launch a proven framework through customer experience expert, Jeanne Bliss’s, five-competency model. This book is a crash course for leaders looking to enhance their company’s overall customer experience.

7. The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences by Matt Watkinson

Winner of the CMI Management Book of the Year, this book is specifically written for leaders and management. Designer and consultant, Matt Watkinson, will teach you how to make changes and improvements to your customers’ experience through his casual and engaging writing style.

Customer Service Culture

Whether you’re trying to reinvent your current customer service culture or simply enhance it, it’s important to have a sense of the values you want to instill in your agents. Read these books to gain perspective on how other successful companies have delivered impressive and note-worthy customer service cultures.

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

Ever wonder how Zappos does it? CEO, Tony Hsieh, gives you an in-depth look into the company’s customer support culture, and what unorthodox or counter-intuitive approaches have helped them skyrocket to success. Read this book to learn the principles behind the world’s longest support call on record.

9. The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary by Joseph Michelli

Starbucks is able to succeed as a global brand, operating in over 23,000 locations worldwide, because of their keen focus on the customer experience. Join author Joseph A. Michelli as you discover through insider stories how the team at Starbucks succeeds with their customers, and how you can do the same with yours.

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

Nordstrom is one of the handfulof companies that has been listed in the Fortune’s “Best Companies to Work For” and “Most Admired” list every year. With this book, you can take a peek into the retailing giant’s customer-driven culture.

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

Disney’s company culture focuses on exceeding customer service expectations rather than just meeting them. This book will help you develop a magical quality to your support, and wow customers with your service culture.

12. The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles Behind the World’s Most Disruptive Company by John Rossman

Amazon is well-known for putting the customer first. As Jeff Bezos himself said, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” As an internet-based retailer, Amazon provides a great example for e-commerce professionals who want to know how they can provide customer service in mold-breaking ways.

13. The Customer Culture Imperative: A Leader’s Guide to Driving Superior Performance by Christopher Brown and Linden Brown

If you need direct instruction on how to create a strong customer service culture, this is the book for you. Packed with actionable tools and roadmaps, The Customer Culture Imperative is a great resource if you’re redesigning your customer service culture, or even starting from scratch.

Creating Customer Loyalty

On a day-to-day basis, it may seem that an agent’s number one priority is primarily responsive—that is, based on fixing and addressing time-sensitive issues for customers. But the true purpose of every support team venture is to create customer loyalty. After all, customer loyalty is what will generate long-term revenue for your company. The following books will help you develop a well-rounded customer loyalty program.

14. Ask. by Ryan Levesque

This best-selling book is geared towards the sales people of the world, but its secret power rests in making agents better at creating the perfect conditions for customer loyalty. With Ask., you will learn a specific formula to help you figure out what your customers are thinking and need—bringing them closer to your company than ever before.

15. Loyalty 3.0: How to Revolutionize Customer Employee Engagement with Big Data and Gamification by Rajat Paharia

A great resource for those who are concerned with integrating technology with their customer loyalty goals, Loyalty 3.0 focuses on how to use big data and gamification to engage your customers more than ever before.

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

Jill Griffin, an internationally published author and business consultant, has written the bible on customer service loyalty programs with this book. Packed with quality case studies on massively successful companies, ranging from Home Depot to Sharp Electronics, this book will have you inspired to create your own customer loyalty program today.

17. Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless by Jeffrey Gitomer

Don’t let its straight-forwardness fool you—this concise book on customer loyalty packs a heavy punch. For this reason, it’s a great introduction to the importance of customer loyalty for support experts at all levels, especially front-line agents and operators.

18. Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Steve Curtin

In his book, speaker and consultant Steve Curtin points out the crucial problem with most businesses today: that customer service is not the motivating factor behind most employees’ actions. Curtin shows you how to solve this common dilemma, and ultimately helps you get to customer loyalty instead.

19. Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization by Leonardo Inghilleri and Micah Solomon

The best growth engine for your company is incredible customer service; following this principle creates customer loyalty that can drive your company to next-level success. With Exceptional Service Exceptional Profit, you’ll learn how to generate big bucks with an enhanced service plan. This is a book filled with “treasure and big ideas” according to marketing guru Seth Godin.

Delivering Customer Satisfaction

Your customers deserve responsive customer service that gets to the core of their needs. But even when you think you’re delivering the absolute best service possible, some times things fall through the cracks. Read the following to learn how to up your customer satisfaction rate.

20. Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers by Jay Baer

Due to social media, unhappy customers are now more vocal than they ever had the means to before. Baer breaks down the two types of critics (which she calls “haters”), and tells you how you can deal with them based off of in-depth research and case studies.

21. Uplifting Service: The Proven Path to Delighting Your Customers, Colleagues, and Everyone Else You Meet by Ron Kaufman

It’s not effective for your agents to be basing their interactions with customers on clichés or vague guiding principles. In Uplifting Service, New York Times Bestselling Author, Ron Kaufman, guides readers through a new, more effective set of guiding principles with actionable advice.

22. The Customer Service Revolution: Overthrow Conventional Business, Inspire Employees, and Change the World by John R. DiJulius III

Did you ever think customer service would be your competitive advantage? With The Customer Service Revolution, you might just be able to make that kind of presence within your industry. Author John R. DiJulius III, founder of the famous John Robert’s Spa, has years’ experience consulting the top customer service teams in the United States, and brings his knowledge and expertise in his pioneering book.

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

Former EVP of Walt Disney Lee Cockerell shares his rules for delivering customer service with excellence. Based off of his experience in the hospitality industry, this advice can be transferred across industries to help you deliver consistent, creative, and quality service that will have customers raving.

24. The Best Service is No Service by Bill Price and David Jaffe

Price and Jaffe promote the practice of using the right metrics to identify company points of weaknesses. Ultimately, this eliminates the need for additional customer service, which is the first step in lightening loads for your agents and creating an overall better experience for your customers.

25. Farm Don’t Hunt: The Definitive Guide to Customer Success by Guy Nirpaz and Fernando Pizarro

From customer service theory to practical, actionable wisdom, this book provides insight on how to build customer success from the ground-up. This book is especially useful for companies that adhere to subscription-based and recurring revenue models.

26. Customer Success: How Innovative Companies Are Reducing Churn and Growing Recurring Revenue by Nick Mehta, Dan Steinman, and Lincoln Murphy

Like The Customer Culture Imperative, this book will guide you from the planning stage to the execution of your new customer success strategy plan. This is an especially useful resource for B2B, SaaS, and subscription-based companies.

Reinventing the Customer Experience

Your support department is responsible for delivering quality customer service, but your entire organization is responsible for the customer experience. Use these books to discover how each and every aspect of your business can be enhanced to put your customers first.

27. Service Design for Business: A Practical Guide to Optimizing the Customer Experience by Ben Reason, Lavrans Lovlie, and Melvin Brand Flu

When optimizing your different channels for improved customer satisfaction, it’s imperative that you take design into consideration. Design, though it plays a big role in the customer experience, can often be overlooked. This book will show you exactly how to approach the customer experience from a design perspective, and understand how to make the customer experience an organization-wide issue.

28. Mapping Experiences: A Complete Guide to Creating Value through Journeys, Blueprints, and Diagrams by James Kalbach

Do you need practical diagrams and tools to help you map your customer journey? If you’re concerned with achieving greater customer success, but aren’t sure how to map the customer journey, this book will hold your hand through the entire process.

29. The Customer Experience Revolution by Jeofrey Bean and Sean Van Tyne

This book will give you the inspiration you need to revolutionize your entire customer experience. With a look at such leading CX companies as Apple, Intuit, and Starbucks, Bean and Van Tyne show you exactly how you can radically reinvent customer experience for your organization.

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

This book, based on fourteen years of research by the experts at Forrester Research, will help you leverage customer experience as a competitive advantage. From a look at case studies involving such companies as Mayo Clinic and Office Depot, you’re sure to gain the concrete understanding you need to deliver greater customer satisfaction.

We hope these books help you enhance your organization’s customer experience. What books have you read recently that you would add to this list?

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Carla Jerez

About Carla Jerez

Carla Jerez is a senior content writer at Comm100. She has a degree in Creative Writing from Florida State University and has years' experience writing for the SaaS industry. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, traveling, or playing around on Photoshop. Connect with her on LinkedIn.