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Fact: Having the best products on the market won’t matter if you treat your customers like they are disposable.

Customer experience books can provide insights on how to build a successful, consumer centric business. As the marketplace becomes increasingly digital, there is a push by bricks and mortar stores to navigate both in-store and online customer journeys simultaneously. Many owners and marketers look for guidance in literature for how to achieve this. 

No matter the changes in commerce, the focus remains the same: to provide outstanding customer experience that keeps people coming back for more. Here are some great customer experience books that help you develop a competition-beating CX strategy and learn how your company can work towards creating outspoken advocates for your brand.   

1. The Cult Of The Customer

By Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken’s book outlines examples of real-world companies that have implemented a customer experience that creates, you guessed it, cults around their brand. Not in a scary way, he’s quick to point out, but in one that harks back to the word’s latin roots meaning “care and tending”. Hyken gives examples of what he calls “Amazement”— a positive commerce interaction that leaves people star-struck. The goal is to create interactions that are so positive that they generate word-of-mouth advertising from the recipient. 

Photo Of The Cult Of The Customer Book Cover
Learn how to transform customers into brand evangelists.

If you are a customer experience manager, this is a cult you want to be part of. 

2. The Customer Of The Future 

By Blake Morgan

Amazon fundamentally changed customer expectations around speed and convenience. What commerce trends will brands have to adapt to next? “Customer of the Future” outlines ten ways you can prepare for future buyer mentalities before they arise. Read and analyze case studies of customer service innovators like Netflix, Apple, Sephora, and Spotify and learn how to apply these lessons to your own customer experience strategy. 

Photo Of The Customer of the Future Book Cover
10 strategies for a customer-experience-focused company strategy.

Working towards a stellar customer experience moves a company to a positive future.

3. More Is More 

By Blake Morgan

Less is not always more. In the case of customer experience, more is more. Managers need to understand that gaining customer loyalty means creating wonderful customer experiences. This book outlines how to go the extra mile. It shows how important it is to examine the invisible toxins that are hurting your customer experience, and gives advice on how to improve it. Learn how to remain relevant and thrive in the current business market. 

Photo Of More Is More Book Cover
Practical advice for applying more energy, focus, and resources to CX.

Work harder, go farther. More is more.

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4. Customer Understanding 

By Annette Franz

This book is a guide on how to put the customer at the center of everything. Customers should be central in meeting conversations, decision-making processes, design and every other facet of the business. Franz breaks down the process of customer journey mapping and provides insights for exciting and dynamic ways to identify and offer solutions to the challenges they face.

Photo Of Customer Understanding Book Cover
Leverage surveys and data, personas, and journey mapping to build a customer-centric business.

Start your journey to creating a better customer experience with Franz’s book.

5. The Effortless Experience

By Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman and Rick Delisi

This book is aimed at customer service leaders. It serves to remind them that the core of customer satisfaction is delivering on basic promises and solving the day-to-day problems of customers. Most customers don’t need to be wowed; they just want products and services to work as promised. Make the customer experience an effortless experience to decrease churn, improve customer service, and reduce excess costs. 

Photo Of The Effortless Experience Book Cover
Create an effortless experience for customers that makes it easy for them to keep coming back.

This book will show managers how to emphasize keeping promise over excessive customer courting.

6. The Experience Economy

By Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore

In today’s ‘attention economy’, personable, unique, exciting experiences are the critical link between a business and its consumers. The market is about creating compelling experiences for customers, which in turn garners customer loyalty and good returns. This classic was originally published in 1999 and has enjoyed many updates and additions since then; a tried-and-true tome that belongs on every customer experience lead’s bookshelf.

Photo Of The Experience Economy Book Cover
Learn to manage in a way that prioritizes a strong customer-centric strategy.

 Experience is the keyword. Without it, businesses will stall and stagnate.

7. Hug Your Haters

By Jay Baer

Jay Baer is the New York Times best-selling author of six books and this one in particular has a rather enticing message: embrace the haters! Baer details what he calls “The Science of Complains”, outlining that negativity is everywhere, backlash is inevitable, and none of it really matters so long as you understand the rules of the game. Hug your Haters teaches customer response teams how to deal with negative feedback and transform complaints into a positive influence. 

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Pointed (and often funny) case studies explore why praise is overrated compared to the opportunity a complaint provides.

Hug Your Haters was named one of 2016’s top 3 business books by Strategy+Business Magazine.

8. Mapping Experiences 

By Jim Kalbach 

Customer feedback, good or bad, is helpful. Kalbach teaches managers and teams how to turn any feedback they are given into actionable insight for experience improvement.  He uses a tool called the “alignment diagram” to help teams make this happen. This tool assists in creating visual maps of existing customer experience to better pinpoint disconnects between what customers expect and what they are actually receiving. 

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Understand how and where business goals and customer perceptions cross paths.

Maps will get you to where you need to be. Learn to map for better insight.

9. The Nordstrom Way 

By Robert Spector and breAnne O. Reeves

The goal of customer loyalty is to create relationships that last a lifetime, not merely days or weeks. Nordstrom is a prime example of how to accomplish this despite dramatic market shifts. This book is a case study on how an employee-centric experience translated to a customer-centric experience, championing a service-oriented culture from top to bottom. Interviews from senior Nordstrom executives punctuate this in-depth examination with relevant and engaging anecdotes of success. 

Photo Of The Nordstrom Way Book Cover
See how employee experience directly correlates to customer experience and learn how to harness this knowledge for good.

The Nordstrom Way outlines how managers can lead by example in creating a luxurious and personalized experience that customers crave.

10. The Power Of Moments 

By Chip Heath and Dan Heath

The Heaths look at why people remember the best and the worst experiences but nothing in between. The book looks at what defines an impactful, positive experience. The authors look at four elements that make these experiences stick with us: elevation, insight, pride, and connection. Knowing why and how moments affect us allows customer experience managers to manufacture deeper, richer experiences for consumers. 

Photo Of The Power of Moments Book Cover
Learn how to make moments that matter by tuning into the inner experience of what makes something memorable.

The New York Times bestselling authors of Switch and Made to Stick dive into the science of memorability in an easily distractible world.

11. The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences

By Matt Watkinson

This is a must-read for customer experience managers and other business leaders. This book outlines 10 principles that make for a great customer experience—from the goal of satisfying higher objectives to the importance of putting customers in control. Watkinson blends human psychology with business strategy for a holistic CX approach packed with example-led and actionable insights.

Photo Of The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences Book Cover
Great experiences are the goal, and these ten principles will get your company there.

This CMI Management Book of the Year is a slick, accessible read for managers, leaders, and those starting a new business.

12. Winning At Social Customer Care 

By Dan Gingiss 

Gingiss focuses on the role that social media plays in modern customer service. Additionally, he walks businesses through selecting the best digital platforms for reaching their customers when new apps seem to pop up so regularly. This book does a deep dive on crisis management and proactive customer service when negative feedback is always just a Tweet or hashtag away. Readers will also be treated to real-life examples of brands that excel online, including tips on how to mimic their strategy.

Photo Of Winning at Social Customer Care Book Cover
Explore Gingiss’ 8 steps to winning at customer care with a focus on CX through social media.

Social media can make you a winner when it comes to customer care; leverage this book to make sure you’re doing it right.

Final Thoughts 

Customer experience books aren’t able to solve every company issue but they do provide food for thought and some amazing suggestions for getting on the right track. A good CX Lead should endeavour to expose themselves to the ideas, suggestions, and stories of other customer service experts. 

Not every idea will work in a particular circumstance but, the more you read, the more you can strategize on how to win more customers for your business. For a more modern approach, check this out: Types Of Customer Experience Management Software

Learning from others is a great way to change things up according to your own experiences. If you want more suggestions and support without buying every new business book on Amazon, take a look at sites such as The CX Lead, which has a great blog and lots of opportunities to learn from others. 

You can also sign up for The CX Lead newsletter to get updates, articles, and other support in the world of CX. 

Related Read: 10 Best AI Chatbots For Customer Service Performance

By Hannah Clark

Hannah Clark is the Editor of The CX Lead. After serving over 12 years working in front-line customer experience for major brands, Hannah pivoted to a career in digital publishing and media production. Having gained a holistic view of the challenges and intricacies of delivering exceptional experiences, Hannah aims to help CX practitioners 'level up' their skills by amplifying the voices of today's thought leaders in the space.