No matter how great you think your business's customer service is, it can always get better. Learn what leading industry experts recommend.
In so many cases, the quality of customer support that you give to your clients can either make or break your business.
According to Insightsquared.com, “$41 billion is lost by U.S. companies each year due to poor customer service.”
The figure is quite disturbing, isn’t it?
If you aren’t keen on getting your slice of the pie of that massive $41 billion annual loss, then I urge you to up your game when it comes to the quality of customer support that your company provides to your customers.
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While there are several resources online that you can research to learn more about providing stellar customer support, I’d like to share with you 10 of the best books that I am certain will be a treasure trove of knowledge for you and your company, when it comes to learning about customer service.
Let’s jump right in.
1. What's the Secret? To Providing a World-Class Customer Experience (2008) by John R. DiJulius III
Take it from one of the renowned customer service consultant—John DiJulius, going beyond the best in terms of customer service will definitely give you an unbeatable competitive edge in the market.
What's the Secret? explores the strategies and upheld values of world-class service companies such as Disney, Nordstrom, and the Ritz-Carlton.
Jam-packed with best practices, specialized insights, and effective strategies, What's the Secret? will compel you to start elevating your company's standards into world-class level when it comes to how you provide customer support.
2. Igniting Customer Connections: Fire Up Your Company's Growth By Multiplying Customer Experience and Engagement (2014) by Andrew Frawley
Instead of dwelling on return of investments, Igniting Customer Connections focuses on one elusive factor that businesses struggle with, and that is establishing customer connection.
In the digital age where everything is diversified, talking to customers just will not suffice. Building lasting connections is what adds value to business results and transactions. Frawley coins the term 'Return on Experience and Engagement' or ROE2 which educates readers with techniques that strengthen customer relations.
3. The Customer Manifesto: How Business Has Failed Customers and What It Takes To Earn Lasting Loyalty (2014) by Pamela Herrmann
Brought to you by the best-selling author of Breaking Through, Pamela Herrmann presents a different take on the saying "It's all business, nothing personal".
The Customer Manifesto speaks from the point-of-view of customers that are asked the question "What would a business have to do in order to earn your loyalty?" Guess what? The consensus agrees that businesses should take their services to a personal level.
Although the anecdotes and experiences are drawn from the retail industry, the lessons you will be learning from this book are very much applicable to all types of businesses.
4. Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business (2012) by Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine
Outside In is a revelation for small or large companies to start making it all about the customers. It is frankly about one thing: that this principle should apply to the business as a WHOLE—from the top executives down to the front liners.
Readers will learn that values such as customer trust, care and authentic connection are the strongest foundations that will poise your business towards success. This book is based on 14 years of substantial research that supports the premise of customer-centricity.
5. Rework: Change the Way You Work Forever (2010) by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried
Nothing complex, just a simple guide on how to succeed in the business field—Rework sets a very opposite tone to conventional business books. Rework is short, quick and cunning, and it will blow your mind!
This book is surprisingly unorthodox in its approach and strategy, but it makes a lot of sense. It ventures on a newer horizon that will take you out of your comfort zone.
While most people will tell you to have a business plan before you start a business, seek investors, or to study your competition—Hansson and Fried scrapped off that advice and chose a different path. Read this and you'll find out how both have managed to break the rules and ended up successful.
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6. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don’t (2001) by Jim Collins
Ranked as the #1 Best Seller in Company Business Profiles, Good to Great is the perfect read for executives and CEOs in quest of transitioning their companies from 'okay' to 'awesome!'.
Collins, together with his research team, found the answer to the question "Can a good company become a great company and if so, how?". He carefully studied the underlying secrets, history, and journey of several companies that have thrived over the years.
With empirical evidence and proven and tested methods, find out why companies such as Coca-Cola, Intel and Merck are consistent in providing excellent services and why they make the leap, while others don't.
7. The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty (2013) by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, and Rick DeLisi
The Effortless Experience is a practical and simple guide that provides sound reason as to why customers don't need to experience that 'wow factor' in your customer service.
The thing is—customers want quick and easy resolutions to their problems rather than being served with a bouquet of roses.
In short, they want the effortless experience.
Dixon, Toman, and DeLisi identified the four cornerstones of low-effort services with empirical data and examples of companies that adhere to this principle. It comes as quite a shock to find out that other businesses have invested so much on 'stellar' and 'over-the-edge' services only to end up being disproved by this book.
8. The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences (Financial Times Series, 2013) by Matt Watkinson
Hailed as the Overall WINNER of CMI Management Book of the Year 2014, The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences is a force to be reckoned with.
The Ten Principles laid down by Matt Watkinson are all brilliantly thought out and put together. Drawing from established principles from Psychology and Philosophy, this book is not bombarded with technical jargon. It is easily understood and applied in context.
It proves that making improvements need not be overwhelming and that understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior, and their purchasing decisions is crucial to providing great customer experience.
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9. The Thank You Economy (2011) by Gary Vaynerchuck
The Thank You Economy is timely for this modernized era that is quickly revolutionizing interactions and transactions with the rise of social media. That is how Gary Vaynerchuck angles his approach.
In this book, he provides strategies and compelling evidence that support the advantage of social media in businesses when it comes to customer care and authentic or personalized services.
Online interactions empower the masses of consumers to speak up and express their sentiments. Find out how you can differentiate from the rest by offering authentic services that will motivate positive word-of-mouth across social networks.
10. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers (2014) by Ben Horowitz
From the title itself, this book doesn't sugarcoat the hard-earned truth about businesses.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things is pretty straightforward about the struggles and everyday challenges that leaders are or will be facing. Considering that the ideas are taken from the author's personal story, almost anyone in the business field can relate to his experiences.
The valuable lessons drawn from these experiences are compiled in a colorful scheme. Horowitz lifts off all that drama by creatively incorporating song lyrics, humor (or even satire) into the lessons he imparts with the readers.