Creating the best customer experience starts and ends with providing excellent customer service.
While many companies invest heavily in extensive employee training programs to boost their customer service skills, a cost-effective alternative is equally effective: reading books on the subject.
From dealing with difficult customers to handling complaints, there is a book for almost every scenario. Reading books helps employees develop new skills, improve their problem-solving abilities, and gain fresh perspectives on handling daily client interactions better.
But how can employees improve their customer service skills? While training and experience are essential, one often-overlooked way to improve customer service skills is represented by books. These provide extensive knowledge and insights that can be applied to various customer support situations.
Starbucks offers a great example of how books help employees acquire new and perfect old skills. The company has developed the “Green Apron Book” program, which encourages employees to read books related to coffee, customer service, and leadership.
Every employee who completes the program receives a “Green Apron Pin” and a certificate of achievement to recognize their efforts.
Overview: In The Customer Rules, Lee Cockerell, the former Executive Vice President of Operations at Walt Disney World Resort, shares his insights on delivering exceptional customer service. He provides practical advice on how to build customer relationships, create memorable experiences, and drive customer loyalty.
Key takeaways: The book emphasizes the importance of delivering consistent, personalized, memorable experiences to create customer loyalty. Cockerell provides 39 essential rules for delivering top service, such as “Rule #1: Customer Service Is Not a Department” and “Rule #15: Treat Every Customer Like a Regular.”
Who should read it: Customer service professionals, managers, leaders, and anyone who wants practical tips on improving customer service.
Overview: The book is based on Robert Spector and Patrick D. McCarthy’s industry “secrets” for building a customer-centric culture, creating memorable experiences that turn regular clients into recurring ones, and driving customer loyalty in the long run.
Key takeaways: The book emphasizes building strong customer relationships and empowering employees to continually perfect their skills. Spector and McCarthy explain how to build a strong brand, create a personalized shopping experience, and exceed customer expectations.
Who should read it: Retail professionals, customer service professionals, managers, leaders, and anyone wanting exceptional customer service insights.
Overview: Jay Baer, a customer service and marketing expert, explores how to handle customer complaints and turn them into opportunities for business growth. He provides actionable advice on how to use social media and other channels to promptly respond to complaints, build customer loyalty, and improve customer satisfaction for every client segment.
Key takeaways: The book tackles the importance of responding to customer complaints within a reasonable timeframe, regardless of the platform, and turning negative feedback into positive outcomes. Baer also provides tips on building a customer-focused culture and measuring the effectiveness of customer service efforts at every client touchpoint.
Who should read it: Customer service professionals, social media managers, marketers, business owners, and anyone who wants to learn how to turn negative experiences into opportunities for growth.
Overview: This is a practical, easy guide to transforming your organization’s customer service strategy with little to no effort. Jeff Toister provides practical advice on how and when to hire the right employees, train them effectively, and ensure they have the right tools to deliver customer service that goes beyond the norms.
Key takeaways: The book focuses on the importance of actionable strategies, simple exercises, and proven tools in boosting your customer service efforts.
Who should read it: Managers, leaders, customer service professionals, HR professionals, and anyone looking to find and fix the cracks in their customer service strategy.
Overview: In The Amazement Revolution, Shep Hyken explains how to turn customers into loyal advocates by providing a seamless journey down the sales funnel. The author shows how boosting your customer service efforts can set you apart from the competition and delivers seven strategies that generate customer and employee loyalty.
Key takeaways: The book illustrates the seven strategies with case studies and offers measurable implementation tips. It teaches readers how to tackle customer service head-on instead of just fumbling for answers.
Who should read it: Customer service professionals, managers, leaders, and business owners.
Overview: Customer service expert Shep Hyken shares seven habits businesses and individuals can adopt to provide better customer service. These habits include being proactive, friendly, knowledgeable, and sincere. The book contains real-life examples and practical tips for delivering customer service that turns one-time clients into recurring customers.
Key takeaways: Create a culture of customer service excellence by establishing clear expectations and empowering employees to make decisions that benefit the customer.
Who should read it: Be Amazing or Go Home is an excellent resource for front-line employees, business owners, and managers. The book offers practical advice and real-life examples that can be applied to any industry or business.
Overview: Author John R. DiJulius III elaborates on his experience as a customer service consultant by providing practical advice on how businesses can revolutionize their approach to customer service and create a competitive advantage.
Key takeaways: The author introduces the key principles of the customer service revolution, including creating a vision, hiring for culture fit, and empowering employees to make decisions.
Who should read it: The Customer Service Revolution is recommended for business owners, executives, and managers who want to improve the customer experience and create a competitive advantage through outstanding customer service.
Overview: The Effortless Experience explores the idea that customer service should focus on making interactions as easy and frictionless as possible, rather than just providing a positive experience. The authors draw on extensive research and real-world examples to show that customers with an effortless experience are likelier to become loyal to a brand.
Key takeaways: An effortless client experience is based on the following: reducing effort, increasing empathy, creating a sense of personalization, and delivering proactive service.
Who should read it: Managers and executives responsible for customer service teams and frontline customer service representatives. The book is also useful for anyone interested in building and maintaining customer loyalty in today’s competitive business environment.
Overview: The book shows how effective communication can be turned into successful persuasion and explains why a message is only effective if the target audience has already been prepared to receive it.
Key takeaways: To deliver a message persuasively, you must shift the audience’s focus before they take your desired course of action.
Who should read it: People in sales, HR, marketing, or anyone who comes into direct or indirect contact with clients or employees.
Overview: No One Succeeds Alone includes actionable lessons on how to build and improve communication skills to achieve success at the workplace and improve the relationships that define you. The author shares his experiences and insights as CEO of an expanding real estate startup, and includes practical advice on improving communication in different scenarios.
Key takeaways: The book focuses on innovative techniques for building trust, overcoming communication barriers, and encouraging a culture of open communication.
Who should read it: The book is particularly useful for professionals in leadership positions, entrepreneurs, and those in sales or customer-facing roles.
In addition to books, many other resources are available for improving customer service. Here are a few online courses, podcasts, and blogs to check out:
Here are some tips to help you choose the right books on providing above-average customer service:
Customer service books offer valuable insights into how businesses can improve customer service and their bottom line.
Businesses can achieve long-term success in today’s competitive marketplace by focusing on the customer experience and creating a culture of customer service excellence.
Raluca Mocanu is a copywriter at Touchpoint and began her content writing journey in 2016. She loves traveling, reading, on-stage drama and recently discovered a deep interest in psychology.
Whether you're a small business, a startup, or have been in it for years, we believe that these tips can help you improve customer satisfaction and reduce your customer churn rate.
Powerful customer service phrases can help you improve client interactions and ensure that your customers feel like they can always rely on your services. The phrases we included convey empathy,...