Are you looking for something to both add to your summer reading list and increase your knowledge of customer experience management? Look no further! We have compiled a few of our must-read CXM and business books to expand your idea of what it takes to deliver best-in-class customer experiences while boosting internal company culture, profit margins, and employee happiness.
The best customer service comes from giving the customer what they want and expect from your business. But do you actually know what your customers are looking for from you? In The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty, authors Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, and Rick DeLisi challenge that we’ve all been overthinking and overdelivering on those expectations.
“Loyalty is driven by how well a company delivers on its basic promises and solves day-to-day problems, not on how spectacular its service experience might be. Most customers don’t want to be “wowed”; they want an effortless experience. And they are far more likely to punish you for bad service than to reward you for good service.”
So while a giant red bow on top of your brand new car might be nice for “wow factor”, it can’t make up for an arrogant salesman or late delivery. They say less is more and in The Effortless Experience, Dixon, Toman, and DeLisi prove that less flash and more substance, more consistency, and more basic kindness are what the customer really wants from your business.
Frances Frei and Anne Morriss believe in customer service excellence that follows every step of the customer journey and beyond, not simply once something has gone wrong. “Service must become a competitive weapon, not a damage-control function” and this means weaving customer service into the core of your business model and every decision made. What makes their strategy “uncommon” is that they argue in favour of deciding what your business will be bad at in exchange for all of the ways you excel.
In order to survive, your business needs to cut where it can, and they give you the tools to decide where to best spend your time, money, energy, and resources to deliver excellent customer service, while also letting go of common methods with less ROI.
The authors also cover how this can be applied to your employees, including when it’s more valuable to hire the best or to put more money into training, how to keep them engaged in their positions, and treat your customers with respect, and on the reverse, how to train your customers to treat your staff with the same respect.
“Commerce could deliver excellence in hours precisely because of its dismal deposit rates. Their trick is to make sure that the bad is in service of the great, and then to be unapologetic about it.
This point is crucial to understanding how to design uncommon service. In our experience, the number one obstacle to great service—number one by a long shot—is the emotional unwillingness to embrace weakness. But it couldn’t be clearer that to win in one area, you must lose in another. Progress requires sacrifice. Some part of your service offering must be thrown under the bus.”
Anyone who has been to a Disney park knows that the experience is one of magic, pixie dust, and adventure—so who better to write a book on the art of customer service than The Disney Institute? In Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service, Michael D. Eisner and Theodore Kinni demonstrate the effect of focusing on the overall experience in the world of Disney, and just how important the people you employ are to that magic. “You can dream, create, design, and build the most wonderful place in the world…but it requires people to make the dream a reality.”
The other key takeaway from Eisner and Kinni comes from understanding that your environment affects everyone from customers to employees, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly or for granted. “You can’t change people. But if you change the environment that people are in, they will change.” If going to work every day comes with a feeling of happiness and inspiration—through an environment of positivity, well-being, and fulfillment—your performance and personality will reflect those feelings back onto the customers and other people you encounter. Start by building a space that inspires greatness and shows quality, and you’ll have fewer customer experience issues.
Never forget that what your business provides, in all its day-to-day practicality and planning, research and strategy, comes across as magic to those who need it.
Happiness begets happiness, and Tony Hsieh tells a story of how a pursuit of happiness in your day job will lead to happier employees, happier customers, happier stakeholders, and happier profit margins.
By creating a culture of perceived progress amongst his employees, he has given them control over their futures with the company. Using smaller, more frequent steps towards raises, promotions, and the development of new skill sets, Hsieh has created employees who feel empowered, happy, and are far more productive.
“Customer service had always been important at Zappos, but making it the focus of our brand would be a bold move, especially for an online company.”
Hsieh believes in a company needing a higher purpose than the profit margin and shows how both employees and consumers will devote time and money to a company they see as striving to be more than a business. The culture at his company, Zappos, is of utmost importance to creating a healthy and happy customer experience.
“Even though it would hurt our growth, we decided to cut most of our marketing expenses, and refocused our efforts on trying to get the customers who had already bought from us to purchase again and more frequently. Little did we know that this was actually a blessing in disguise, as it forced us to focus more on delivering better customer service. In 2003, we would decide to make customer service the focus of the company.”
What we’ve learned from some of the best business books covering customer experience marketing is that high-quality experiences are driven from within at the corporate level. Keeping your employees happy through company incentives for personal growth, a higher purpose, and supportive work environments encourages those happy feelings to spread outwards to your customers.