Increasing customer retention is vital to growing and maintaining any profitable business long-term. This means that finding ways to improve customer service should always be a top priority for all businesses.
You can learn a lot about customer service in real-world situations…but a little help from the experts never hurts either. Getting expert advice from experienced business professionals and their customer service books can help you better navigate customer service issues when — or preferably before — they arise.
Looking to gain some practical customer service strategies from successful professionals? Check out these top books on customer service below.
The best books for customer service
- Ignore Your Customers (and They’ll Go Away)
- Stories That Stick
- The 1-Page Marketing Plan
- Building a StoryBrand
- The Brand Flip
- Never Lose a Customer Again
- Talking to Humans
- The Service Culture Handbook
- Sense and Respond
- The Experience Economy
- The Customer of the Future
- Customer Success
- Exceptional Customer Service
- Delivering Happiness
- The Effortless Experience
- The Challenger Sale
- Hug Your Haters
- How to Become a Rainmaker
- The Thank You Economy
- The Membership Economy
- The Experience Maker
- Powerful Phrases for Effective Customer Service
- The Cult of the Customer
1. Ignore Your Customers (and They’ll Go Away)
Ignore Your Customers (and They’ll Go Away): The Simple Playbook for Delivering the Ultimate Customer Service Experience offers a step-by-step guide on how to craft a customer service culture and customer experience so powerful that they’ll transform your organization and boost your company’s bottom line. The author, one of the top customer service consultants Micah Solomon, shares inspirational, hilarious, and relatable stories about assessing and improving customer service in various industries.
Length: 240 pages
Customer Review: “Micah Solomon is such a breezy and engaging writer that I’ll often sit down to read for just a few minutes only to suddenly realize I’m halfway through the book and I should really put it down to get to the rest of my work, but oh what the hell, I’m already halfway done, I might as well keep reading. And then I spend the next several days silently critiquing every customer interaction I have with … well, with everyone (sorry family).”
Where to get it: Ignore Your Customers (and They’ll Go Away)
2. Stories That Stick
You keep hearing how a story is the latest and greatest business tool, and that storytelling can do everything – from helping leaders better communicate to motivating sales teams and winning customers away from competitors. But what stories do you need to tell? And how do you tell them? In Stories That Stick: How Storytelling Can Captivate Customers, Influence Audiences, and Transform Your Business, Kindra Hall, a professional storyteller, and nationally-known speaker, reveals the four unique stories you can use to differentiate, captivate, and elevate.
Length: 240 pages
Customer Review: “Kindra Hall has a way with words that captivates you and engulfs you into a world of powerful stories and their effects. Learn to not only lead your business but your life, with storytelling.”
3. The 1-Page Marketing Plan
In The 1-Page Marketing Plan, Allan Dib gives the reader excellent insight into how to successfully balance marketing and consumer needs simultaneously. Dib draws on his years of experience as an entrepreneur to provide the reader with detailed and unique insight into the best customer service principles he has learned over the years. This is a top read for those looking to grow and maintain every business endeavor they are involved in.
Length: 224 pages
Customer Review: “This book fris extremely detailed, goes into specifics, and will pretty much guide you to exactly what you need to be doing no matter what business you are in.”
4. Building a StoryBrand
Donald Miller, the author of Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen, is an experienced businessman. His years of experience in marketing, as well as his experience in serving as the CEO of the StoryBrand marketing company, has enabled him to create a unique book for customer service that provides the reader with proven solutions on how to better connect with their customers. Miller’s book is a top read for any individual looking to better serve their customers’ needs, while also keeping business growth at the forefront of concerns.
Length: 228 pages
Customer Review: “One of the best branding and messaging books I’ve read. Miller shows how to use storytelling to make your messaging and branding simpler and more effective. I like the straightforward, common-sense approach.”
Where to get it: Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen
5. The Brand Flip
Best-selling brand expert Marty Neumeier shows you how to make the leap from a company-driven past to a consumer-driven future. You’ll learn how to flip your brand from offering products to offering meaning, from value protection to value creation, from cost-based pricing to relationship pricing, from market segments to brand tribes, and from customer satisfaction to customer empowerment.
Length: 160 pages
Customer Review: “A book that is short and concise enough to be read in about 2 hours or less but with lessons important enough that will carry you through your career/business. Treat it like a Bible, keep it by your side, write notes in it, refer to it often, its content deserves that.”
6. Never Lose a Customer Again
Joey Coleman has made a name for himself as an award-winning speaker and business consultant. Coleman has dedicated his career to discovering how to convert one-time purchasers into lifelong customers. In Never Lose a Customer Again: Turn Any Sale Into Lifelong Loyalty in 100 Days, Coleman provides readers with all the tips and tricks he has learned over the years when it comes to fostering premium customer service. This is a great customer service book for those looking to improve the front end of their business.
Length: 368 pages
Customer Review: “With sales books outnumbering customer service books by a factor of 42:1 this book is a welcome change. So much of a focus on the front end instead of the back end. This book for customer service makes some key points that can be implemented in any business. Will read again and again.”
7. Talking to Humans
In Talking to Humans, Giff Constable provides readers with a practical guide on the qualitative side of customer development. Through his experience in business, Constable can provide consumers with a quick read that provides plenty of real-world examples of how to structure and improve any business when it comes to fostering positive relationships with potential customers. This is a great book for customer service folks, and anyone looking for a quick read that provides a series of actionable steps that will help to improve customer relationships and retention.
Length: 75 pages
Customer Review: “Great book for finding out more about customer development. It is very straight to the point, giving just the right amount of examples and explanations.”
Where to get it: Talking to Humans: Success starts with understanding your customers
8. The Service Culture Handbook
In The Service Culture Handbook, Jeff Toister, one of the top customer service professionals in the world, provides readers with actionable steps to create a workplace culture where employees are obsessed with providing excellent customer service. This is one of the best customer service books for business owners, managers, and consultants looking to strengthen customer service at all points in their business.
Length: 190 pages
Customer Review: “A very good book on the importance of culture as a key part of what makes great businesses extraordinary businesses. Lots of great examples and downloadable templates to help any business leader create, grow, and embody a powerful, productive culture.”
9. Sense and Respond
This engaging and practical customer service book provides the crucial new operational and management model to help you and your organization win in a world of continuous change. In instructive business examples, you’ll see organizations with distinctively new operating principles: shifting from managing outputs to what the authors call “outcome-focused management”, forming self-guided teams that can read and react to a fast-changing environment, creating a learning-all-the-time culture that can understand and respond to new customer behaviors and the data they generate, and developing in everyone at the company the new universal skills of customer listening, assessment, and response.
Length: 256 pages
Customer Review: “The book you wish your CEO would read. And your manager. And your colleague. All your colleagues. The ideas expressed in this book are not new. Not revolutionary. Not mind-blowing. Instead, the book takes ideas practiced by individual contributors and showcases them for managers.”
10. The Experience Economy
Apple Stores, Disney, LEGO, Starbucks. Do these names conjure up images of mere goods and services, or do they evoke something more–something visceral? Welcome to the Experience Economy, where businesses must form unique connections to secure their customers’ affections – and ensure their economic vitality. This seminal book on customer experience innovation by Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore explores how savvy companies excel by offering compelling experiences for their customers, resulting not only in increased customer allegiance but also in a more profitable bottom line.
Length: 368 pages
Customer Review: “An updated version of the classic, first published in 1997. The model of the Transformation Economy–the highest offering in the author’s progression of economic value–is especially relevant to professional firms, and certainly will be a critical skill in the future. Highly recommended.”
11. The Customer of the Future
Tomorrow’s customers need to be targeted today! In The Customer of the Future: 10 Guiding Principles for Winning Tomorrow’s Business, customer experience futurist Blake Morgan outlines ten easy-to-follow customer experience guidelines that integrate emerging technologies with effective strategies to combat disconnected processes, silo mentalities, and a lack of buyer perspective.
Length: 224 pages
Customer Review: “It’s an easy-to-understand guide to help businesses gain staying power beyond 2020. For decades businesses focused more on customer service and less on the actual customer experience. The author is quick to differentiate the two and explains how technology has changed the way businesses aim to not only supply the best customer experience but earn the loyalty of customers.”
12. Customer Success
In the world B.C. (Before Cloud), companies could focus totally on sales and marketing because customers were often ‘stuck’ after purchasing. Therefore, all of the ‘post-sale’ experience was a cost center in most companies. In the world A.B. (After Benioff), with granular per-year, per-month, or per-use pricing models, cloud deployments, and many competitive options, customers now have the power. As such, B2B vendors must deliver success for their clients to achieve success for their businesses.
Length: 256 pages
Customer Review: “This book is a great starting point to get to know the “new” art of creating customer success teams in a business. It is mostly focused on SaaS-companies, but stresses that customer success as a concept is not confined to the realm of subscription-based companies looking for the “wow” – effect, but the principles can be applied across industries.”
13. Exceptional Customer Service
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. With examples from more than fifty companies – from Chik-Fil-A restaurants to the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain to online retailer Zappos.com – this customer service book shows managers how to go from so-so service to amazing service.
Length: 224 pages
Customer Review: “Excellent read. Simple, to the point, and backed with highly relevant examples. The world would be a much better place if only a fraction of the author’s recommendations are properly executed.”
14. Delivering Happiness
Tony Hsieh, The CEO of Zappos, provides the reader with phenomenal information on how integrating happiness into all aspects of a business is the only way to generate long-term success. The customer service book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, is a great read for anyone looking for ways to foster a better environment for both customers and employees.
Length: 246 pages
Customer Review: “Tony Hsieh has some nerve suggesting that he built a billion-dollar company in pursuit of happiness. But the surprising thing is I actually think he’s onto something. Something that cuts through a lot of corporate BS and really makes sense.”
Where to get it: Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
15. The Effortless Experience
Three salesmen, Mathew Dixon, Nick Toman, and Rick DeLisi, team up in The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty to provide readers with effective and practical ways of winning customer loyalty. Readers of this book will gain key insights on how to foster better customer service, allowing for increased sales and customer retention.
Length: 256 pages
Customer Review: “Essential reading for those in business, especially managers, marketers, and those involved with customer service. Want loyal customers? Reduce the effort of the customer at every touchpoint.”
16. The Challenger Sale
In The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation, Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson team up to provide readers a thorough investigation of how customer service skills, behaviors, knowledge, and attitudes matter most when it comes to customer support. The two experienced businessmen provide a unique perspective to readers where they contend that the best way to build rapport with customers is by challenging them.
Length: 221 pages
Customer Review: “I loved the premise of this book. Without any question, I agree with the message that the authors present. Salespeople must evolve into being consultants and teachers who challenge the customer and force a conversation about goals and insights.”
Where to get it: The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
17. Hug Your Haters
In one of the best customer service books, Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers, Jay Baer gives insight on how to ignore the haters without disregarding their complaints. Baer’s years of experience as a marketing consultant and social media strategist is wrapped up in a neat little package for the reader to consume and extract a great deal of knowledge from. This is a great read for individuals looking for advice on how to separate emotion from business when it comes to customer service.
Length: 240 pages
Customer Review: “Extremely helpful book for customer service, very well-written, backed by solid research and data. Everyone should read this book! We all have haters. How do we respond? It’s a fundamental question that will shape our future.”
Where to get it: Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers
18. How to Become a Rainmaker
Filled with smart tips given in the Fox signature style, counter-intuitive, controversial, and practiced, this hard-hitting collection of sales advice shows readers how to woo, pursue, and finally win any customer. In witty, succinct chapters, Fox offers surprising, daring, and totally practical wisdom that will help readers rise above the competition in any company in any field.
Length: 192 pages
Customer Review: “The book shares great stories, strategies, and tactics, on how to build meaningful relationships with clients. It is very much in line with the style of Dale Carnegie and Harvey Mackay, so if you like those books you will appreciate this one.”
19. The Thank You Economy
Gary Vaynerchuk, the New York Times bestselling author, is back with a bold and expansive look at the evolution of today’s marketplace, revealing the essential factors defining and driving successful relationships between businesses and consumers.
Length: 256 pages
Customer Review: “I liked this thought-provoking and relevant look at how social media is bringing small-town shop values back into the business. Vaynerchuck shows that businesses need to build long-term, personal relationships with their customers by caring about them.”
Where to get it: The Thank You Economy
20. The Membership Economy
Robbie Kellman Baxter has accumulated over 20 years of experience in the consulting industry. In The Membership Economy, she uses her experience to provide readers with key insights into how technological advancements, coupled with evolving social trends, are turning customer service on its head. Readers of this customer service book will gain insight into how to foster effective customer service methods in the rise of the digital age.
Length: 272 pages
Customer Review: “This book is an important read to anyone who has customers. The key to getting more business from repeat customers is to STOP treating them like customers and START treating them like members.”
21. The Experience Maker
The Experience Maker helps managers and executives understand how to position themselves for customers in an ever-evolving, competitive market. Dan Gingiss writes about the power of an exceptional experience and proposes the WISER method (witty, immersive, shareable, extraordinary, responsive).
⭐ Named a Top Business Book of 2021 by Forbes
Length: 212 pages
Customer Review: “Practical tips and advice. Easy-to-read book for customer service full of real-world examples. I like how the author discusses improvements that don’t have to cost a lot to make a big difference.”
Where to get it: The Experience Maker
22. Powerful Phrases for Effective Customer Service
Renee Evenson’s Powerful Phrases for Effective Customer Service is a book that provides over 700 ready-to-use phrases and scripts to improve customer service skills and achieve desired results. It does what it says on the tin! These phrases can help in effectively handling customer complaints, providing helpful solutions, and building customer loyalty.
Length: 302 pages
Customer Review: “There are lots of examples such as how to deal with agitated customers, impulsive customers, overly friendly customers, and more (they are listed alphabetically for quick reference.”
Where to get it: Powerful Phrases for Effective Customer Service
23. The Cult of the Customer
The Cult of the Customer by Shep Hyken (one of the most influential people in customer service) guides readers on how to implement a five-phase strategy that leads to building a customer-centric culture. Through case studies of successful companies, the book illustrates the changes necessary to prioritize customer satisfaction.
Length: 256 pages
Customer Review: “This should be a must-read for any organization that is ready to take their business to the cult of amazement for their customers. I wish all companies would read this book and put a plan in place to “wow” their customers every single day.”
Where to get it: The Cult of the Customer
Bonus! Undefined World
Our friends from Tymeshift created this beautiful customer service book taking an honest look at how tough it is to find your path in today’s complex work world. Seven professionals who got their starts in CX tell you how they built careers they love. If you’ve ever felt lost, undervalued, or wondered why everyone else seems to have their shit together – this is the book for you.
Length: 116 pages
Where to get it: Undefined World: Life in CX & beyond
The best customer service books revealed
Each of these books on customer service is full of informative and practical knowledge relating to customer service. If you’re looking to get your hands on some expert customer service advice, philosophies, strategies, or practical guides, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the pages of these exceptional works. While nothing beats real-world experience when it comes to customer service, studying the advice customer service industry experts will no doubt help you better tackle real-world situations as they arise. Ultimately, the advice laid out in the pages of these excellent customer service books will be able to help you hone in on customer service quality, assurance processes, and best practices when it comes to providing top-of-the-line customer service.
With so much knowledge within your grasp, which expert will you learn from first?
Prefer listening to customer service podcasts instead? Check out Quality Conversations with Klaus or watch the Fireside Chat videos with customer service leaders from WordPress.com, Zapier, Education Perfect, and Wistia.
Originally published in January 2023; last updated in October 2023.