April 8, 2020 10 min read

The 15 customer service books you have to read in 2020

Written byPim de Vos

Je kent de Engelse uitdrukking “happy wife, happy life” vast wel eens gehoord.

Als we deze uitdrukking moeten aanpassen voor bedrijven, verander het in “happy customer, happy life”. Of zoals wij in het Nederlands zeggen, “de klant is koning”. Het is in 2020 van levensbelang om je klant centraal te plaatsen bij alles wat je doet.

De wereld van klantenservice ontwikkelt zich steeds verder, met nieuwe strategieën en tools om de klant steeds een beetje beter te kunnen helpen. Hoe kun je op de hoogte blijven van al deze ontwikkelingen?

Door te lezen natuurlijk.

Je kunt natuurlijk veel informatie van het internet halen. Je leest deze blog dan ook niet voor niks. Er zijn ook honderden video’s op YouTube te vinden. Daarnaast kun je ook veel leren van je collega’s.

Sure, there is a lot you can learn through on the internet. For instance, the blog you are reading right now is made for the sole purpose of informing on this subject. There are hundreds of videos on YouTube as well. Most importantly, you can learn a lot from experience and by asking your team members.

But still, nothing beats a book. Especially when written by an authentic expert, that teaches you about their experiences and methods.

So, being the customer service nerds that we are, we decided to put together a list of our favorite books on customer service. The ones that, as a professional, you simply have to read. If you desire a happy life, that is. 😉

Let’s dive in.

Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers

Hug Your Haters is a book that is centered around modern organizations that choose to communicate with their customers via other channels than email or phone. It speaks on the importance of using social media and channels such as WhatsApp as well. This is because these are the places that more and more customers go to complain about your company or praise your company.

The author goes in detail on how you should handle negative comments on social media (trolls), how to improve and measure the productivity of your customer service and how to most efficiently respond to customer complaints on various channels.

Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business

In Uncommon Service, authors Frances Frei and Anne Morriss encourage companies to put customers at the center of their business model. They take it a step further in saying that you should consider underperforming in certain other areas, in order to be really exceptional at customer service. According to them, it simply is not an option to be good at everything.

If you put your customer first, it is vital that you find out what their biggest needs are, and start focusing on that element. In a market that keeps getting more competitive, they predict that good customer service will become more and more important.

The Happiness Advantage

Shawn Achor is a strong believer in positivity. For instance, he writes that students that think about happy moments in their life before taking a test perform better. Instead of trying to influence customers by getting into the customer psychology, he suggests investing in your own state of mind. This energy should then transmit to the customer and improve your interactions. Sounds a little vague, I know, but he backs this up with actual research. Watch the video above to learn more about positive psychology.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0

Emotional intelligence is an extremely important skill for every customer-focused professional. When you deal with people all the time, you will have to get accustomed to reading emotions and knowing how to deal with those emotions accordingly. Customer service is not just about solving problems and answering questions, you have to be able to look and feel deeper.

This book helps you to develop that emotional intelligence and put it right back into your work. The quiz that comes with it is very helpful too. After completing it, you will know exactly what your strengths and weaknesses are and how you can improve your emotional intelligence. 

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How to win friends and influence people

In customer service, you’re obviously going to be dealing with a lot of different people. That’s why this book, although it is not necessarily about customer service, is a must-read. The author goes in-depth on what drives people and what makes them happy, and how you can use that information to your own benefit.

The Thank You Economy

Chances are you already know Gary Vaynerchuck. He is an entrepreneur and business influencer, constantly all over the internet to help entrepreneurs to build their business. In his book, he makes a strong case for outcaring the competition. According to Gary, it is no longer possible to simply hack yourself into a market. Even if you do, competitors will find you faster than ever before. This means you have to put the customer first. The energetic author goes in-depth on how he does this himself and gives practical tips that you can start using straight away.

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Simon Sinek is another influential author that has a must-read book in stores. In Start With Why, he explains how leaders can inspire others to achieve their dreams. He believes that “why” should always come before “what” or “how”. What is the actual purpose of what you are doing? 

This translates very well to customer-focused businesses. When you focus on the customer’s why, and go beyond the what and the how, you will be able to understand them more deeply and help them better as well. This will help you to build a strong relationship with your customers.

Delivering Happiness

Zappos is a great example of a company that puts the customer at the core of their business. Zappos is an e-commerce company that goes above and beyond to wow their customers with every chance they get. They believe that their growth is mainly based on this approach. They spend the money that most companies spend on advertising on their customers so that the customers spread the message via word-of-mouth In this book, CEO Tony Hsieh explains how he thinks about his relationships with customers and how you can approach it yourself.

The Paradox of Choice

A common mistake that customer service agents make, is trying to gather as many options as possible. By doing this, they want to show the customer that they are doing everything in their power to help, which is commendable. But a lot of times this doesn’t lead to the results you are looking for. How does that happen?

In his book The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz discusses this phenomenon at length. He describes the research that he did on the matter, explaining how more options actually lead to worse decisions. Besides that, it can also cause stress and make you less productive.

The Starbucks Experience

You already know what Starbucks is all about. They sell coffee and charge a lot for it, and somehow get away with it too. In this book, Joseph Michelli goes in-depth on how Starbucks got to this point. How did they figure out a customer experience that was worth extra penny? How do they keep finding ways to really delight the customer? He does this all with examples and anecdotes from the inside.

Chief Customer Officer 2.0: How to Build Your Customer-Driven Growth Engine

Jeane Bliss is an expert on the role of customer leadership, such as a CCO (Chief Customer Officer), within a company. This is a new executive role that is fairly new within the landscape, but increasingly popular due to the fact that more businesses are becoming customer-centric. In her book, she goes in-depth on why she believes in her five core competencies:

  • Honor and manage your customers as assets
  • Align around customer experience
  • Build a customer listening path
  • Leadership, accountability, and culture
  • Proactive experience reliability and innovation

Customer Loyalty: How to earn it, how to keep it

Just like Gary Vaynerchuck, author Jill Griffin is convinced that there is no silver bullet in order to solve any problems in the way of growing your business. So what can you do? You learn how to create a customer experience that creates customer loyalty. What I like most about the book is how it contains so many practical tips that can be used immediately. 

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

Nicholas Webb, the author of What Customers Crave, also believes that a strong customer service department is vital in order to survive as a business in the future. Technological developments have made it easier to attract customers, for instance via paid advertising, and to sell to them, without having to interact with them even once. They treat customers like numbers, simply because they don’t see the benefit in acting differently.

This is why a lot of companies are unable to deliver good customer service. They simply have no real experience. In this book, he explains how you can optimize your customer experience step by step in order to satisfy your customers.

The Amazement Revolution: Seven Customer Service Strategies to Create an Amazing Customer (and Employee) Experience

Shep Hyken is not a man of long-winded theories, but more of a practical nature. Exactly how I like it. In his book, he goes into seven practical strategies that can help you drastically improve customer loyalty, building a strong community and creating actual partnerships with your customers. Hyken uses recognizable examples which makes it way easier to understand and use the strategies for your own business.

May I Have Your Attention, Please? Your Guide to Business Writing That Charms, Captivates and Converts

I know, this blog is not about becoming an author or a copywriter. But in this day and age, so much of customer service is done in writing. Customers tend to prefer written communication, whether it be via email, messaging apps or social media, over phone conversations more and more. 

This means that as a customer service professional, you will have to write. A lot. That’s why training in effective writing is absolutely necessary in these times. Many people overestimate how well they write and how many times their message actually comes across the way it was supposed to.

In this book, author Mish Slade explains how you can write in a captivating, enthusiastic and clear way. This is perfect for when you have to write copy for your help center, emails or any other communication that goes straight towards the customer.

Did I miss any books that belong in this list? Let me know which book I should read and I might add it to the list later on.

Written by Pim de Vos

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