CX leaders and new practitioners alike, here are the best customer experience books to add to your reading list.
Becoming a customer experience (CX) expert doesn’t happen overnight, and even the most successful leaders in CX still turn to their peers to expand their knowledge.
So, what should you do to stay on top of your craft? Immerse yourself in the experiences and takeaways shared by industry experts, successful CEOs, and other customer-centric pioneers who’ve written acclaimed books about CX. By reading the best customer experience books, you’ll enrich your knowledge and feel equipped to tackle the always-on effort that is making customers happy.
In our list of the best customer experience books to read, we’ve created a collection that covers topics relevant to CX professionals of various levels.
Here are the must-read CX books of 2023 to enhance your knowledge of customer experience.
Unforgettable experiences define a brand — both positively and negatively. When things go great, a customer remembers the flawless experience and how happy you made them. But if an experience goes poorly, the angry customer may never return and will slide over to the competition.
Charles Ryan Minton, who’s worked with top brands including Marriott Hotels and Hilton, wrote Thanks for Coming in Today to encourage leaders to establish a culture in the workplace where an organization can build and retain talent. As a result, staff does their part in crafting unforgettable (positive) experiences that delight customers in every interaction.
Customer-centric organizations outperform the competition in every industry, and Debbie Levitt wrote Customers Know You Suck as a how-to manual for your brand to deliver the high quality and value customers expect from every interaction.
Levitt provides the steps to “investigate, diagnose, and act on what’s blocking teams.” With that, it’s certainly a book to read if you’re struggling to realize why you’re losing customers across every channel. It sheds light on the steps to take to strengthen customer loyalty and reduce churn.
Customers Know You Suck also has a live, interactive workshop version to walk you through the book’s takeaways with exercises.
As a regular consumer, think of the world’s favorite brands when it comes to experiences. Without question, The Walt Disney Company is at the top of the list. From theme parks to multimedia entertainment, Disney dedicates itself to delighting customers and delivers on the promise constantly.
Be Our Guest is written by the Disney Institute — the company’s professional development arm — and author Theodore Kinni. Published several years ago, the book still holds up tremendously. It features the successes achieved by the Disney Institute’s clients in delighting their own customers after adapting the Disney approach to service.
Fred Reichheld, the creator of Net Promoter Score (NPS®) and a Bain & Company Fellow, reveals that enriching the lives of customers should be the primary purpose of every business in Winning on Purpose.
He focuses on customer love and explores the notion that customers who feel loved by a brand will come back and bring their friends to its products and services as well. And if successful, the brands that do so have higher NPS and deliver higher returns. True to the title, these brands are winning on purpose.
Hospitality is an industry where second chances don’t really exist, and the number of competitors is countless among hotels, restaurants, and more. Chances are you’re loyal to a limited group of hotels to stay at and restaurants to dine with. With this in mind, a book from one of the hospitality industry’s most successful entrepreneurs is helpful regardless of the industry you work in.
Will Guidara, the restaurateur who previously co-owned Eleven Madison Park, uses Unreasonable Hospitality to uncover lessons from the hospitality industry that can be applied to other industries. He also pulls in stories from Danny Meyer (Union Square Hospitality Group) and others to draw parallels between success in hospitality and what any brand can learn from the industry.
Customers have expectations, and it’s hugely advantageous to exceed them. Guidara lays out everything there is to know about the idea of service, guiding leaders on how customer experience can live at the center of your business.
Shep Hyken, the self-proclaimed “Chief Amazement Officer,” has written several books about customer experience over the years. He covers unique topics in each, and I’ll Be Back examines customer loyalty and retention to ensure your customers keep coming back.
From the front lines to the boardroom, CX is important. Jeanne Bliss knows quite a bit about this, and her Chief Customer Officer 2.0 provides the framework to transform a business through customer experience.
In the book, Bliss explains her five-competency model to coach the C-suite and chief customer officers (and chief experience officers): managing and honoring customers as assets, aligning around experience, building a customer listening path, proactive experience reliability and innovation, and coming together as one company for accountability, leadership, and decision making.
If you’re in the CX or a high-ranking CX leader, you absolutely need to read this book.
Obsessed with your customers? You need to be.
Businesses obsessing with their customers get out ahead of the competition. Why? Every decision is centered around customer satisfaction (CSAT), an important CX metric that measures customers’ overall happiness toward a brand. Top brands do whatever they can to make customers happier than they were before.
Eric Berridge, a former Salesforce and IBM executive, wrote Customer Obsessed to “look at customer experience through the lens of the cloud.” He describes how many organizations still haven’t embraced cutting-edge technologies as part of their customer experience strategy, causing them to fall behind.
Berridge also dives into earning a competitive advantage in the digital era, gaining insights into elements that affect CX, the power of the cloud to achieve customer success, and the framework to optimize customer experience.
Dan Gingiss has worked at many of the world’s most well-known brands, including Discover, McDonald’s, and Humana. In every role, he’s focused on creating experiences that delight customers. His book, The Experience Maker, details the WISER method — Witty, Immersive, Shareable, Extraordinary, and Responsive — to create remarkable experiences that get people talking.
Lee Cockerell, the former Disney executive, wrote The Customer Rules a little more than a decade ago. Yet it still holds up strong today for CX experts looking to understand exactly why the customer rules, and the rules to delight every customer.
He uses a career spanning 40 years in the hospitality industry to point out dozens of rules to live by in customer experience.
Built to Win, a book from Annette Franz of CX Journey, is the “definitive guide to deliberately designing a customer-centric organization.”
Franz kicks off by discussing the difficulties of standing out in an oversaturated, noisy business environment. She explains that culture is the differentiator.
You and your colleagues know it: CX is a crucial aspect of any successful business. It’s the difference between a one-time customer and a loyal ambassador. Customer experience takes into account every touchpoint and interaction, and as a result it directly impacts sales revenue — which is why every organization needs to recognize CX is a top priority.
In 2023, read the best customer experience books for the following reasons:
1. Gain insights from experts: Written by experts with years of experience in enhancing customer experience and all that the practice entails, the books provide insights that are invaluable looking to improve their own practices.
2. Understand the importance of customer experience: You already find customer experience important, but the perspectives from these authors might make you rethink your own perspective. It’ll help you bring a fresh point of view to your approach, so share with colleagues what you’ve learned so that they also think differently.
3. Learn practical strategies and techniques: Improving CX requires significant effort because it’s expansive, and the books we’ve shared tackle a range of topics. Whether you’re dedicated to a specific function or cover several areas related to customer experience, the books you need to read about CX will deliver strategies and techniques worth implementing.
4. Inspiration and motivation: Occasionally, reading a book isn’t about building a skill set. Instead, it’s about feeling inspired and motivated to perform at a high level. Some of the best customer experience books in 2023 are meant to motivate you to take action.
5. Stay competitive: In today’s highly-competitive business environment, offering superior experiences to every customer is a huge differentiator. By reading the best CX books, you’ll stay competitive with knowledge and tools to elevate service.
6. Evolve with customer expectations: What you do today isn’t necessarily what you should do a month or a year from now, and the books in our list lay out how customer expectations are constantly evolving.
7. Improve business performance: With a wealth of knowledge molded by the lessons from these books, you’re more prepared than ever to create positive customer experiences that lead to growth for the entire business.
Real-world practice can’t be beaten, and that’s true in two ways. First, it means you need to get your hands dirty to learn something. It also means you should learn from the real-world practices of others in the same fields or industries. When you apply what you’ve learned in both ways, you perform better and move your business forward.
Once you’ve read the best customer experience books in 2023 from our list, think to yourself: “What can I apply starting today?” Share the knowledge with your team, and come together as a group to make improvements to CX immediately and over time.
Schedule a demo with a Medallia expert — we’ll share where your customer experience program is today and what our award-winning platform does to accelerate its impact on the business.