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Top 20 Books on Customer Service

February 8, 2013 by Dr. Jon Warner in Customer Service

Top 20 Books on Customer Service

Putting together a list of excellent books on any subject is always a highly subjective exercise. Nonetheless it is often useful to try to sort through the clutter and at least try to assemble some worthy nominations based on a book’s quality or popular appeal (and all the books on this list have regularly topped the best selling and popular lists internationally). The list of Top 20 of the best books on Customer Service below includes only those written in the last 5 years (2007-2012). The list also includes several excellent books that are in their 3rd, 4th and even 5th printing in this time frame. This means that the top 20 list still contains several veteran authors who have written many books on service matters in the past.

The top twenty list below is rendered in reverse date order. A short description of the book is provided but much more information can be obtained by clicking on the book image (which takes the interested reader to the www.amazon.com page for each book).

The Top 20:

1. Uplifting Service: The Proven Path to Delighting Your Customers, Colleagues, and Everyone Else You Meet by Ron Kaufman, 2012
  • We are deep in a service crisis. In the operating room, surgeons and their teams communicate in a very precise language; airplane pilots follow a strict protocol to take off and land safely every time; and, when launching a new product, companies lay out a plan that all employees follow. But when it comes to building a strong service culture, the path to success is usually much less clear. We relegate service to a single department guided by anecdotal wisdom and less-than-helpful clichés like “the customer is always right.” In this New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon.com bestselling book, Kaufman lays out the steps you can take to build a sustainable culture that delivers outstanding service every day.
2. High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service: Inspire Timeless Loyalty in the Demanding New World of Social Commerce by Micah Solomon, 2012
  • Today’s customers are a hard bunch to crack. Time-strapped, screen-addicted, value-savvy, and socially engaged, their expectations are tougher than ever for a business to keep up with. They are empowered like never before and expect businesses to respect that sense of empowerment —lashing out at those that don’t. Take heart: Old-fashioned customer service is what you need to build the kind loyal customer base that allows you to survive—and thrive. This book spells out strategies for success. Discover:
  • Six major customer trends and what they mean for your business
  • Eight unbreakable rules for social media customer service
  • How to effectively address online complainers and saboteurs on Yelp, Twitter, TripAdvisor, and other forums for user generated content
  • The rising power of self-service—and how to design it properly
  • How to build a company culture that breeds stellar customer service
3. The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty by Carmine Gallo, 2012
  • The book on the Apple customer service experience is divided into three parts:
    Part 1: Inspiring your internal customers
    Part 2: Serving your external customers
    Part 3: Setting the Stage (which is mainly about listening to customers and making constant changes to satisfy their needs).
    The book is easy to read and contains lots of interesting stories about Apple and other brands that have made the commitment to creating engaging customer experiences. You will gain some extremely valuable insights which can be used in any business to separate yourself from the competition, to enhance the customer experience, to make your customers your ambassadors for your brand, product or service.
4. Powerful Phrases for Effective Customer Service: Over 700 Ready-to-Use Phrases and Scripts That Really Get Results by Renee Evenson, 2012
  • Let’s face it, dealing with customers isn’t easy. They aren’t always right – or even pleasant – but knowing the right words to use can make all the difference. “Powerful Phrases for Effective Customer Service” shares over 700 phrases and scripts that help to defuse even the most difficult interactions. Covering 30 challenging customer behaviors and 20 tough employee-caused situations, this book makes it easy for readers to assess the circumstances, find the appropriate response, and confidently deliver satisfaction to every customer. In addition, readers will learn how to incorporate language into their daily routine that communicates welcome, courtesy, rapport, enthusiasm, assurance, regret, empathy, and appreciation.
5. The Amazement Revolution: Seven Customer Service Strategies to Create an Amazing Customer (and Employee) Experience by Shep Hyken, 2011
  • Customer service isn’t a department–it’s a philosophy that includes every person and aspect of the best and brightest companies. In a tough, competitive, and price-sensitive economy, customer service is one of the most essential tools to separate your business from the competition. In this sequel to the bestseller The Cult of the Customer, Shep Hyken describes seven strategies that any organization can implement to create greater customer and employee loyalty: This includes Membership, Serious FUN, Partnership, Hiring, The After-Experience, Community, and Walking the Walk. Hyken shares more than one hundred examples from fifty role-model companies that prove these strategies can and should be implemented immediately–by any organization, large or small.
6. Be Our Guest (Revised and Updated Edition): Perfecting the Art of Customer Service by The Disney Institute and Theodore Kinni, 2011
  • Exceeding expectations rather than simply satisfying them is the cornerstone of the Disney approach to customer service. During the last twenty-five years, thousands of professionals from more than thirty-five countries and more than forty industries have attended business programs at Disney Institute and learned how to adapt the Disney approach for their own organizations. This book highlights the successes many of these companies have achieved, plus the key processes and best practices that have made Disney a trusted and revered brand around the world for more than eighty-five years.
7. Managing Customer Relationships: A Strategic Framework by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, 2011
  • In today’s competitive marketplace, managing customer relationships (and CRM) has become critical to a company’s profitability and long-term success. To become more customer-focused, skilled managers, IT professionals, and marketing executives must understand how to build profitable relationships with each customer and how to make everyday managerial decisions that increase the value of a company by increasing the value of the customer base. With contributions from academic and industry leaders, Peppers and Rogers incorporate many of the principles of individualized customer relationships that they are best known for, equipping professionals with techniques every company can put to use in sharpening its competitive advantage.
8. Customer Service Skills for Success (Connect, Learn, Succeed) by Robert W. Lucas, 2011
  • The fifth edition of Customer Service: Skills for Success contains 10 chapters divided into three parts, plus the Appendix, Glossary, and Bibliography. These parts focus on different aspects of customer service: (1) The Profession, (2) Skills for Success, and (3) Building and Maintaining Relationships. Along with valuable ideas, guidance, and perspectives, readers will also encounter interviews of real-world service providers and case study scenarios and activities to help you apply concepts learned to real-world situations in order to challenge your thinking on the issues presented.
9. Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization by Leonardo Inghilleri, Micah Solomon and Horst Schulze, 2010
  • In this book insiders Leonardo Inghilleri and Micah Solomon seek to reveal the secrets of providing online and offline customer service so superior it nearly guarantees loyalty. Their anticipatory customer service approach was first developed at The Ritz-Carlton as well as at Solomon’s entertainment and technology company Oasis, and has since proven itself in countless companies around the globe from luxury giant BVLGARI to value-sensitive auto parts leader Carquest, and everywhere in between. Now, readers can take the techniques that made money for these brands and apply them directly to their own businesses.
10. Collaborative Customer Relationship Management: Taking CRM to the Next Level by Alexander H. Kracklauer, D. Quinn Mills and Dirk Seifert, 2010
  • Driven by rapidly changing business environments and increasingly demanding consumers, many organizations are searching for new ways to achieve and retain a competitive advantage via customer intimacy and CRM. This book presents a new strategic framework that has been tested successfully with various global companies. New management concepts such as Collaborative Forecasting and Replenishment, CRM, Category Management, and Mass Customization are integrated into one holistic approach. Experts from companies like McKinsey and Procter&Gamble, as well as authors from renowned academic institutions, offer valuable insights on how to redesign organizations for the future.
11. Perfect Phrases for Customer Service, Second Edition (Perfect Phrases Series) by Robert Bacal, 2010
  • Perfect Phrases for Customer Service, second edition, provides the language needed for everyday customer service situations–and includes simple techniques that can help to meet even the most demanding customer needs. Deal with the most effective words and phrases for: Defusing bad situations before they get worse, handling complaints patiently and professionally, satisfying customers and increasing sales, and building long-term relationships with important customers.
12. Customer Service: Career Success Through Customer Loyalty, Fifth Edition by Paul R. Timm, 2010
  • Customer Service: Career Success through Customer Loyalty, 5e provides a systematic process for building service skills that all business people need. Presented in a friendly, conversational manner, the text is filled with examples that demonstrate the link between service skills and career achievement. This edition is reorganized so it is easy to see how key concepts fit together. New information is included on internal customers, emerging technologies, and stress-reducing techniques. Throughout the text, there is an emphasis on transforming good service intentions into a workable plan that exceeds customer expectations and creates loyalty and success.
13. Strategic Customer Service: Managing the Customer Experience to Increase Positive Word of Mouth, Build Loyalty, and Maximize Profits by John A. Goodman, 2009
  • The success of any organization depends on high-quality customer service. But for companies that strategically align customer service with their overall corporate strategy, it can transcend typical good business to become a profitable word-of-mouth machine that will transform the bottom line. The author draws on over thirty years of research for companies such as 3M, American Express, Chik-Fil-A, USAA, Coca-Cola, FedEx, GE, Cisco Systems, Neiman Marcus, and Toyota. Filled with proven strategies and eye-opening case studies, this book challenges many aspects of conventional wisdom using hard data and reveals how any organization can earn more loyalty, win more customers…and improve their financial bottom line.
14. Unleashing Excellence: The Complete Guide to Ultimate Customer Service by Dennis Snow and Teri Yanovitch, 2009
  • In today’s competitive business environment, keeping customers happy is the key to long-term success. But some businesses provide much better customer service than others. It’s not always clear what works and what doesn’t, and implementing new customer service practices midstream can be a difficult, chaotic task.
    This book gives readers practical tools and step-by-step guidelines and demonstrates to navigate teams through every step of an implementation process to achieve true customer service excellence. The book covers the training and education of your group, how to measure the quality of your service, how to build a culture of personal accountability, and how to recognize excellence and reward it.
15. Exceptional Customer Service: Exceed Customer Expectations to Build Loyalty & Boost Profits by Lisa Ford, David McNair, William Perry and Tony Hsieh, 2009
  • When the going’s tough, companies that survive will be those that build the greatest loyalty—by exceeding expectations. Yet, too often, companies ignore their customers’ needs and wants. Today, industries like airlines, retail businesses, and restaurants are feeling consumer pushback. With new, updated examples from more than fifty companies—from Chik-Fil-A restaurants to the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain to online retailer Zappos.com—this book shows managers how to go from so-so service to amazing service. This book also shows readers how to expand the customer base when the industry is shrinking, use new media to reach consumers, and make a lasting, great impression on customers.
16. CRM at the Speed of Light, Fourth Edition: Social CRM 2.0 Strategies, Tools, and Techniques for Engaging Your Customers by Paul Greenberg, 2009
  • A social revolution in how we communicate has taken place in recent years. Smartphones, social web tools, and the instant availability of information in an aggregated and organized way provide real-time intelligence to customers, not just the enterprise. Social CRM is therefore critical to business success in today’s hyper-connected environment. Written by CRM guru Paul Greenberg, this book reveals best practices for a successful Social CRM implementation. Greenberg explains how this new paradigm involves the customer in a synergetic discussion to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment.
17. What’s the Secret: To Providing a World-Class Customer Experience by John R. DiJulius, 2008
  • What’s the Secret? gives readers an inside look at the world-class customer service strategies at today’s some of today’s best companies. You’ll learn how companies like Disney, Nordstrom, and The Ritz-Carlton get 50,000 employees to deliver world-class customer service on a consistent basis- and how your company can too. Packed with insider knowledge and a wealth of proven best practices, author John DiJulius will show you how your company can emulate the world’s best customer service providers.
18. Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000: Running a Business in Today’s Consumer-Driven World by Pete Blackshaw, 2008
  • In today’s Internet-driven world, customers have more power than ever. Through what interactive marketing expert Pete Blackshaw calls “consumer-generated media” —blogs, social networking pages, message boards, product review sites—even a single disgruntled customer can broadcast his complaints to an audience of millions. Blackshaw shows managers, marketers, and business leaders how to establish and maintain credibility for their brand by being authentic, listening and responding to customers, and forming relationships built on openness, transparency, and trust. Filled with stories based on his experience working with Fortune 500 brands such as Toyota, Dell, Nike, Sony, General Motors, Hershey, Unilever, Nestlé, Lexus etc, Blackshaw offers a clear strategy to sustain a competitive advantage by creating enduring, loyal relationships with today’s consumer.
19. Award Winning Customer Service: 101 Ways to Guarantee Great Performance by Renee Evenson, 2007
  • Customer service problems can damage not just a company’s reputation but its bottom line, so for busy managers — and business owners with little time to search for solutions — some fast help is needed. This book offers scores of quick tips for readers looking to improve and then maintain their company’s level of customer service. The book is full of practical advice on important topics such as: * planning and goal setting * effective communication * leadership * preparing for change * continual learning * coaching and development * effective feedback * motivational and problem-solving meetings * conflict resolution * follow-up and staying on top of the game * and more. Containing 101 effective tips in all, as well as encouraging quotes, this is a good reference book for anyone who needs guidance or just a refresher on making customers feel truly valued.
20. We: The Ideal Customer Relationship by Steve Yastrow, 2007
  • Increasingly, organizations are tapping into the benefits of bringing in an executive coach to help their businesses and employees achieve higher levels of success, build team proficiency, or improve employee performance. This book aims to equips coaches with ten coaching techniques, providing step-by-step guidance on how and when to utilize each tool to maximize change and produce measurable results. Extensively used and perfected in a wide variety of settings, the featured tools are drawn both from the authors’ own experiences as well as those of other accomplished business coaches and consultants.

Summary

As we said at the outset, this Top 20 list is a subjective one. However, it does offer considerable diversity of reading material (from the highly academic to the heavily anecdotal to well-researched and academic case-study based) and therefore offers great insight into the critical subject of Customer service theory and practice-perhaps more needed in the modern and increasingly tech savvy world than ever.

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About Dr. Jon Warner

Dr. Jon Warner is a prolific author, management consultant and executive coach with over 25 years experience. He has an MBA and a PhD in Organizational Psychology. Jon can be reached at OptimalJon@gmail.com

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Jon Warner

Jon Warner is an executive coach and management consultant and in the past has been a CEO in three very different companies. Read more

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