Top 10 Customer Service Books

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For a business to thrive it needs to have a continuous and rewarding relationship with its customers. And this is why customer service is so important, it helps you keep your customers. Reading these customer service books will teach you how to improve your customer service from industry experts no matter how great it is.

Acquiring new skills from books about customer service is more important than ever in this customer-centric era. Running a business in a digital ecosystem means delivering exceptional customer service and experience. And the more know-how you have, the better you can deliver on the expectations of today’s consumers.

Here are the top 10 customer service books that will help you perfect your customer support and show you a new way you might’ve not thought of to improve the relationship with your customers.

Best Customer Service Books

1. Would You Do That to Your Mother

by Jeanne Bliss

The steps in this book are guided by one overarching question: Would you do that to your mother? And following this main premise, it goes on to expand on lessons a mother teaches a child. They are: Be the Person I Raised You to Be; Don’t Make Me Feed You Soap; Put Others Before Yourself; Take the High Road and Stop the Shenanigans. If you apply these principles, it won’t take long before you create a company culture delivering the best customer service.

It’s common knowledge that happy customers are loyal customers.  And loyal customers make for a profitable business. If that’s true, then, why do so many customer service programs make it virtually impossible to create a customer experience a business can be proud of. Just ask yourself one simple question; Would You Do That To Your Mother? The primary message in this book is to ask yourself if your customer service policies are designed for your business or for the customer. Bliss shares many great stories and case studies from small and large businesses. The book offers a five-step guide to customer experience and how to outperform your competitions.

2. The Cult of the Customer: Create an Amazing Customer Experience that Turns Satisfied Customers into Customer Evangelists

by Shep Hyken

When your customers become evangelists, you are doing something right. In his book, Hyken wants your company to have a customer-focused culture that turns satisfied customers into customer evangelists. Hyken helps readers understand that a cult isn’t necessarily a bad thing but rather a group of people. He goes on to describe the five cults that exist in the corporate world. The author also includes dozens of case studies in the book that showcase how companies made their respective journeys.

Customer experience is more than just a buzzword. It’s the best (and easiest way) for small business owners to differentiate themselves. The Cult of the Customer: Create an Amazing Customer Experience that Turns Satisfied Customers provides a clear and effective approach to help organizations and teams of any size take their customer experience from satisfied to amazing! Packed with useful concepts and tools that any company, team, or individual can use to create amazing customer experiences. You’ll find provocative concepts and practical techniques for turning satisfied customers into super-loyal fans. 

3. What Customers Crave: How to Create Relevant and Memorable Experiences at Every Touchpoint

by Nicholas Webb

The first lesson the book offers is insights into how the hyper-connected economy is radically changing customer expectations. It then goes on to lay out what companies need to do to stay on top. To this goal, Webb offers a solution by posing two simple questions: What do your customers love? What do they hate? By finding the answers businesses will be well on their way to success. The book comes with great tools and examples so you can tap into the psyche of today’s customer.

Sure, you can spend all of your time and money generating NEW customers, but it’s much easier to increase sales by selling more to the ones you already have. The best way to do that is to create an amazing customer experience.  And the best way to do that is to understand what they want and need. What Customers Crave: How to Create Relevant and Memorable Experiences at Every Touchpoint will help you find out what your customers need. Specifically, there is a section on how to transform a negative experience into a positive one; acknowledge the error, listen to what went wrong from the customer’s point of view, fix the problem and follow up.

Read our review of What Customers Crave

4. The Loyalty Effect: The Hidden Force Behind Growth, Profits, and Lasting Value

by Fred Reicheld

The one thing this book does above all else it to emphasize the importance of loyalty for a company. The loyalty a customer has towards a company will dictate its growth and profits. And business must understand the lasting value of nurturing this loyalty. Reicheld goes on to show why companies that ignore to practice these principles face a dismal future of low growth, weak profits, and shortened life expectancy.

The author is the expert behind the powerful Net Promoter Score, a measure of loyalty that correlates to profitability. In The Loyalty Effect: The Hidden Force Behind Growth, Profits, and Lasting Value he delves into the costs of lost customers and employees. Losing customers and employees is costing you money. Many major corporations now lose–and have to replace–half their customers in five years, half their employees in four, and half their investors in less than one. If you’re looking to rescue profits in a down economy, this book may have some solutions.

5. Customer Loyalty: How to Earn It, How to Keep It

by Jill Griffin

Loyalty is a prevailing theme of books on customer service. This is because customer acquisition and retention is a costly and time-consuming endeavor for a company. Throughout this book, Griffin gives readers practical advice on reaping the benefits of loyalty from consumers. She offers guidance on turning first-time buyers into repeat customers, preventing customer loss, and recovering from customer loss. Considered one of the best customer service books, it adds to the body of knowledge with practical examples and guides for planning strategies to assure loyalty.

What does customer loyalty mean? And how do you earn customer loyalty? Instead of focusing on the intricacies of the customer service process, Jill Griffen looks at the meaning of loyalty and how it is earned and kept with an organization. Customer Loyalty: How to Earn It, How to Keep It is less about theory and more about useful applications. Griffin distinguishes between customer satisfaction and loyalty. Some key points include turning first-time buyers into repeat customers, preventing customer loss, and recovering from customer loss. 

6. FRICTION―The Untapped Force That Can Be Your Most Powerful Advantage

by Roger Dooley

Roger Dooley defines Friction as the unnecessary wastage of time, effort, or money in performing a task. These he says inhibit growth and productivity as they take away swiftness and efficiency of business transactions. Dooley points to these as frictions in your organization. As a remedy, he provides valuable tools and insights on how businesses can eliminate these bottlenecks. This includes empowering frank conversations and building a company culture without friction.

Every year, the U.S. economy loses $3 trillion dollars in productivity due to excessive bureaucracy. A lot of that bureaucracy is centered around customer service. A critical aspect to running a profitable business is being “easy to do business with” and FRICTION―The Untapped Force That Can Be Your Most Powerful Advantage will open your eyes to all of the ways that you make it hard for customers to work with you. 

7. The Laws of Human Nature

by Robert Greene

The author taps into the 48 aspects of humanity through the lens of history, philosophy, psychology, and wisdom in this book. He argues since people are social animals, it is essential to understand our own motivations and those of our associates in order to function more effectively. The book is packed with anecdotes of heroes and villains throughout time to show how their tendencies were used positively or negatively, or in some cases for both.

Customer service is not so much about policies and procedures, rather, it’s about understanding human nature. And, this is what Robert Greene delivers. Instead of looking outwardly (to your customers), Greene wants you to start with understanding yourself and then moving beyond yourself and understanding others and the human condition overall. The Laws of Human Nature is a great first step in developing great customer experience and customer service culture along with a philosophy that works for everyone.

8. Difficult Conversations: How To Discuss What Matters Most

by Douglas Stone,Bruce Patton,Sheila Heen

Difficult Conversations helps readers walk through a step-by-step proven approach to having your toughest conversations with less stress and more success. Among the notable gems include how to start a conversation without defensiveness and how to decipher the underlying structure of every difficult conversation. This book is filled with examples from everyday life to help readers navigate tricky conversations in their jobs, at home, or out in the world. With so many channels of communication available to consumers, such as social media, this is a must-have customer service book to begin each conversation on the right foot.

The challenge with customer service is having difficult conversations. No matter your business, your front line employees often take the brunt of unhappy customers and have no way of walking the fine line between providing great customer service and protecting the company from “unreasonable” customers. Difficult Conversations: How To Discuss What Matters Most offers constructive tips on how to navigate through those encounters. The authors base their sage advice on fifteen years of research at the Harvard Negotiation Project.

9. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It

by Chris Voss

Negotiating is a skill. If you don’t study and master it, you can make irrational decisions you will very likely regret later on. The author offers practical guides, action items including what he calls the nine effective principles. A key takeaway is that instead of problem-solving skills, what we need are psychological skills and emotional intelligence to put things into perspective. Understanding this concept makes it possible to deliver the best service for your customer, even when they are upset.

Life is a series of negotiations from buying a car, to negotiating a salary and yes, dealing with an unsatisfied customer. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It takes emotional intelligence and negotiating techniques to the next level. As a former FBI negotiator, Voss shares his expert tips on how to connect with even the most difficult people and move them toward a mutually beneficial outcome in the book. 

10. How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships

by Leil Lowndes

Lowndes helps to unmask the shroud of the mystery of what makes some people instantly loved and respected? This skill comes in handy for both salespeople and anyone who wants to swiftly rise to the top of their organization. The 92 techniques are easy and effective and you can apply them right away. From making the first impression to sustaining lasting relationships, you will find solutions in this book.

With so much of our communication going online, it’s clear that we all need to hone our communication skills. How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships is an excellent book that will give you practical tips to help you make a great first impression, master the art of small talk, and manage any sized ego. If you’re shy or feel socially awkward, you definitely want to read this.  It’s more than just a book about conversing with others; it helps you unlock the true potential within yourself.

More Business Information on Customer Service

If you have read all the business books on the list or are looking for more resources, we have more suggestions. Check out the following free resources for customer service advice and tips starting with our customer satisfaction page.

Customer Service

Customer service is part art and part science, so there are many ways to support your customers. This will depend on your industry, demographic and products or services you are selling. The customer service solutions you choose have to take this into consideration. You can then build your customer service team and start delivering great customer service.

Customer Experience

In a connected world with 24/7 access to social media and company websites, the customer experience matters more than ever. Why, because a bad customer experience posted on a social media channel, blog or vlog can go viral and damage your brand. The key is establishing a process and creating a system that ensures each customer is getting the right experience with each purchase and interaction.

Customer Loyalty

All of the books on this list point out customer loyalty is very important to a business. And building long term customer loyalty is especially important. As a business, you have to know how to identify a loyal customer, start a loyalty program, and never forget to also be loyal to them.

Deliver Excellent Customer Service

There are many examples of great customer service and when you deliver it they will tell you and the whole world about it on social media or other channels. The customer service books on this list offer ideas and solutions for establishing and improving your customer service journey. Beyond the books, there are other resources you can use to continually improve your customer service as consumer habits and behaviors change.

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Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."