Though the number of excellent online customer support resources has never been greater, there’s still a lot to be said for thumbing through one of the classic customer service books to level up you and your team’s game.
Pick the right mix of classic customer service books for your reference library and you can cram in several lifetimes’ worth of learning about driving customer delight into just a few short reading sessions.
In this piece, we’ll give you a leg-up putting that library together with an introduction to five excellent customer support books that should be taking pride of place on its shelves.
Our Favorite Customer Service Books
1. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Dale Carnegie’s perennial classic may not exactly be bursting at the seams with tips on handling email support queues, but you’ll struggle to find a better primer on the core attitudes required to deliver great customer support.
Get your team to fully engage with the timeless principles in How to Win Friends & Influence People and you’ve gone a long way towards locking in the sort of authenticity and empathy that’s the hallmark of world-class customer service.
The primary sections on how best to handle people, earn their trust, and eventually win them over are filled with no-nonsense, evergreen tips that apply in virtually every customer-facing interaction.
2. The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuck
Pretty much every one of Gary Vaynerchuck’s increasingly impressive range of business books has something to recommend in it, but The Thank You Economy is the one to turn to for an inspirational overview of why great customer support is the difference that makes the difference in today’s economy.
He lays out a compelling case for putting great customer service at the very heart of everything you do, and doesn’t pull any punches about the difficulty of inculcating this attitude in businesses where it’s been missing to date.
If you’re looking for a big-picture take on the importance of customer support married to plenty of tales from the trenches, this is the one to turn to.
3. Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
If you’ve caught any of Tony Hsieh’s compelling stage presentations, you’ll know that he’s one of most effective and innovative customer support advocates out there.
With its blow-by-blow account of setting up multiple successful companies, Delivering Happiness is an inspiring read for any aspiring entrepreneur, but it’s the obsessive focus on customer service in building Zappos into a billion dollar company that makes it truly a must-read.
The book is crammed full of left-field takeaways for you to ponder in the context of your own customer interactions, and Hsieh’s insights on hiring, culture, and customer support as a marketing channel are truly eye-opening.
4. The Effortless Experience by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, and Rick DeLisi
One way or another, our first three titles take an admirably upbeat approach to the subject of customer support, and make the case for going “above and beyond” whenever possible.
The Effortless Experience takes a slightly different, but no less constructive, tack and homes in on some uncomfortable truths about typical customer behavior. The key insight unveiled is that while lofty hymns to customer happiness go down a storm in the boardroom, real-world customers are much more interested in being faced with as little hassle as possible.
The Effortless Experience makes an excellent case for starting to track customer effort as a metric, and backs up its overall thesis with a series of highly implementable suggestions that could well fundamentally change how you’re tackling customer support.
5. The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
When you get right down to it, the majority of customer support interactions arise as a result of something going wrong – a procedure hasn’t been followed or never existed to begin with, or a system has somehow failed. Modern businesses are inherently complex, and there are plenty of opportunities for error in even the simplest procedures.
The Checklist Manifesto tackles these challenges head-on with insights taken from high-stakes fields such as medicine, architecture, and aviation, where the consequences of failure are that much higher. The book lays out a process-driven approach to delivering satisfaction every time that holds huge lessons for anyone working at the sharp end of customer support.
The first four books on our list will keep you more than covered in terms of strategy and tactics for delivering great customer support – this last one will help you knock it out of the park in terms of actual implementation.
As with any other area of operations, delivering truly great customer support involves signing up to a lifetime of learning across a mix of channels.
Each one of the customer service books we’ve introduced tackles the subject in a different way and is guaranteed to leave you with at least one transformative takeaway for your own customer support initiatives.
Let’s go through our choices one more time:
- How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
- The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuck.
- Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh.
- The Effortless Experience by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, and Rick DeLisi.
- The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande.
There are plenty of other great customer support titles out there for you to get your teeth into once you’ve polished off the ones above, and we’d love to hear your own suggestions. Get in touch via the comments below with suggestions to add to our list of essential reads!