We have developed a list of some of the most interesting customer experience focused books out there. Broken into three categories (Brands, Loyalty and Delight), these are the books you should read if you are looking for inspiration to recharge your organisation’s existing CX programme or infuse a new mindset of customer-centricity into your operations.
Sometimes the best way to learn is to look at those who have hit it out of the park. These books delve into the most famously customer-focused brands’ CX strategies and operations. They should inspire you to innovate and adopt new best-in-class policies that put your customers at the front of every business decision you make.
Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, 2010
This book by the Zappos’ CEO chronicles Hsieh’s business story and how his passion drove Zappos’ success. Zappos is notoriously one of the most customer-centric retail companies in the world. They have policies that ensure that customers are wowed and delighted at every opportunity, so this book is a great start if you want to understand how those policies came to be. Hsieh wants readers to understand that the key to running a successful business like Zappos is to find a way to simultaneously make all employees, customers and partners happy as happiness is what everyone ultimately desires in life.
Driven to Delight by Joseph A. Michelli, 2015
Michelli was offered an exclusive inside look into operations and culture at Mercedes Benz, the “customer-obsessed organisation” and luxury car manufacturer. The book centres on the leadership team at Mercedes Benz, particularly CEO Steve Cannon, and how they drove a vision of customer-centricity from the top to be one of the best CX brands in the industry through their desire for customers to be “Driven to Delight.”
The Airbnb Way: 5 Leadership Lessons for Igniting Growth Through Loyalty, Community, and Belonging by Joseph A. Michelli, 2019
Another investigation into best CX practices by Michelli who is known to be one of the top CX business consultants and speakers in the U.S. This book focuses on Airbnb’s success in the sharing economy and will be most interesting to those interested in learning about best practices to drive customer loyalty. The book focuses on interviews with Airbnb leadership as well as guests and hosts to show how Airbnb achieves customer engagement and loyalty through great service.
The Nordstrom Way to Customer Experience Excellence: Creating a Values-Driven Service Culture by Robert Spector and breAnne O. Reeves, 2017
This deep dive into Nordstrom’s operations is all about the values that drive a successful CX strategy and the company culture that makes Nordstrom one of the best companies to work for in America. The book offers ten values based on Nordstrom’s ethos which insists that to drive the financial success of the company you need to do what is best for the customer and respecting and rewarding frontline employees.
The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty by Carmine Gallo, 2012
Apple is known as a brand with unparalleled customer loyalty, but what strategies were pioneered by Steve Jobs to drive this success? Gallo offers Apple’s five core principles of service that have defined how the company revolutionised the in-store experience and how their employees actively engage customers and keep them coming back.
It’s common knowledge that gaining a new customer is a lot more expensive than retaining an existing customer. The value of loyalty is clear, but many companies struggle to find strategies to gain customers and preserve those relationships. These books highlight how you can revamp your CX initiatives to correct for past errors, maintain customer relationships, and reclaim the customers you’ve lost along the way.
The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, Rick DeLisi, 2014
Dixon, Toman and DeLisi examined the idea that to keep customers, you have to dazzle them, but found that the key to loyalty is really low effort. The authors give a deep empirical dive into the “dazzle factor” and debunk its voracity to show that true loyalty and success extend from the easiest of experiences. Four principles are defined to show you how you can create effortless experiences.
Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers by Jay Baer, 2016
Baer discusses how the nature of customer service has changed so you need to pivot to keep up with the new “spectator sport” challenges that have arisen with social media and contemporary customer expectations. The book investigates the how, where and why behind complaints and how to handle them publically as well as the relationship between complaints and loyalty.
Winning Her Business gives readers a unique look into the female customer, who accounts for 70-80% of consumer spending. An often overlooked and undervalued segment of consumers, this book offers tips to cater specifically to the growing economic power of women. Women have specific needs, desires and expectations when it comes to spending, so this is an important read for anyone interested in understanding how to target the largest growth market in the modern economy and encourage them to stick with your brand.
Why Customers Leave (and How to Win Them Back) by David Avrin, 2019
This book is about gaining loyalty after you’ve lost it. Avrin details 24 reasons that customers might abandon your company for a competitor and explains how to win them back. It’s a great jump-off point for anyone noticing that their customer base’s loyalty is floundering and wants to pull them back from those they left you for.
We are now living with the Expectation Economy, in which customers expect personalised, fast, convenient, and amazing service at every interaction. The way customers see it, if one business can cut through the nonsense to innovate to make an experience better, why can’t all businesses do the same? These books will show you how you can delight your customers by meeting their expectations and outperforming your competitors
Amaze Every Customer Every Time by Shep Hyken, 2013
Hyken is known as one of the top experts in customer experience and this is one of his many books that proves why. Here, Hyken explains why you must amaze your customers at every interaction to gain a competitive advantage. He specifically focuses on a case study with Ace Hardware, a company known to go above and beyond for every customer. He offers 52 tools to help you to adopt a strategy that prioritises amazing customer experiences.
What Customers Crave: How to Create Relevant and Memorable Experiences at Every Touchpoint by Nicholas Webb, 2016
Webb details what customers actually want and how companies too often miss the mark in meeting customer expectations. Webb will teach you that the first step is really knowing your customers and investigating who they are and what they like rather than assuming you know what they care about. This book shows how you can create memorable experiences based on what customers really want to keep them coming back.
Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business by Frances Frei and Anne Moriss, 2012
Frei and Moriss argue that to be successful at CX you must “design excellence” into your organisation so that your employees can drive superior service. Through intensive research, the authors found that organisational culture is a key driver to produce great customer experiences. It is a must-read for anyone wanting to tackle internal ineptitudes to manifest a company culture that puts the customer first.
This book will show you how to introduce personalisation and embrace the digital economy to shift your agenda to bring amazing experiences to your customers instead of amazing marketing. Frisch introduces the “Content Experience Framework” to show you how you can engage and excite your customers and immerse them with your brand. This book isn’t just for marketers; it’s for anyone who wants to deliver modernised content to the customer through amazing experiences.