Contact Us: 1-800-634-1990

|

Totango Blog

Stay in the latest updates.

Get the latest tips and advice delivered straight to your inbox.

Top 6 Customer Success books every CSM should read

In a recent online customer success discussion, a CSM team manager was interested in the top thought-provoking reads out there for customer success. Here’s a roundup of the Top 6 picks that are a must-read for any customer-focused organization (and not just SaaS). The list includes books I’ve personally read and also have recommended to others outside of the customer success profession. These are great recommendations for fresh ideas or starting conversations with your team.

1. Chief Customer Officer: Getting past lip service to passionate action

What it’s about: Different divisions and departments in corporations can fail to communicate and act as a team—they create silos instead of a superior customer experience. Jeanne Bliss shows in stark detail how profits suffer when businesses focus on their organizational charts and not their customer relationships. This book provides leaders the tools and information they need to overcome organizational inertia and deliver a meaningful customer experience. The author includes diagnostics to determine if a company’s core strengths, metrics, and systems improve or harm customer relationships. With all these tools, leaders can address the organizational challenges they face with an exhaustive review of the Chief Customer Officer role and an evaluation to determine the right solution for their culture and company.

2. Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business

What it’s about: Customer experience is, quite simply, how your customers perceive their every interaction with your company. It’s a fundamental business driver. Here’s proof: over a recent five-year period during which the S&P 500 was flat, a stock portfolio of customer experience leaders grew twenty-two percent. In an age when customers have access to vast amounts of data about your company and its competitors, customer experience is the only sustainable source of competitive advantage. But how to excel at it? Based on fourteen years of research by the customer experience leaders at Forrester Research, Outside In offers a complete roadmap to attaining the experience advantage. It starts with the concept of the Customer Experience Ecosystem—proof that the roots of customer experience problems lie not just with customer-facing employees like your sales staff, but with behind-the-scenes employees like accountants, lawyers, and programmers, as well as the policies, processes, and technologies that all your employees use every day. Identifying and solving these problems has the potential to dramatically increase sales and decrease costs.

3. The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty

What it’s about: CEB’s careful research over five years and tens of thousands of respondents proves that the “dazzle factor” is wildly overrated—it simply doesn’t predict repeat sales, share of wallet, or positive wordof-mouth. The reality: 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.

4. The Thank You Economy

What it’s about: The Thank You Economy is about something big, something greater than any single revolutionary platform. It isn’t some abstract concept or wacky business strategy—it’s real, and every one of us is doing business in it every day, whether we choose to recognize it or not. It’s the way we communicate, the way we buy and sell, the way businesses and consumers interact online and offline. The Internet, where the Thank You Economy was born, has given consumers back their voice, and the tremendous power of their opinions via social media means that companies and brands have to compete on a whole different level than they used to.

5. The Trusted Advisor

What it’s about: In today’s fast-paced networked economy, professionals must work harder than ever to maintain and improve their business skills and knowledge. But technical mastery of your discipline is not enough, assert world-renowned professional advisors David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, and Robert M. Galford. The key to professional success, they argue, is the ability to earn the trust and confidence of clients. The creation of trust is what earns the right to influence clients; trust is also at the root of client satisfaction and loyalty. The workings of trust are even more critical in the new economy than in the old. Maister, Green, and Galford enrich our understanding of trust — yet they have also written a deeply practical book. Using their model of “The Trust Equation,” they dissect the rational and emotional components of trustworthiness. With precision and clarity, they detail five distinct steps you must take to create a trust-based relationship. Each step — engage, listen, frame, envision, and commit — is richly described in distinct chapters.

6. Farm Don’t Hunt

Farm don't hunt

What it’s about: Across entire verticals of the economy the new normal is the recurring revenue business. Charging customers on a monthly basis, firms with this model have to play by an entirely new set of rules, rules which generally favor the customer over the seller. But this new model also opens up fantastic opportunities to provide and extract more value from the relationship as well. To create that value business needs to move away from a hunting mindset to a farming mindset. That change is the new paradigm of Customer Success. In “Farm Don’t Hunt” I breaks down the intellectual underpinnings of Customer Success as a theory and quickly move to providing pragmatic, actionable advice for orienting your business around this new model.

Any other good reads are welcomed and I’d be happy to add to this list. What must-read is missing?

Guy Nirpaz

Guy Nirpaz is a Silicon Valley-based Israeli entrepreneur and CEO of Totango, a Customer Success software platform. A pioneer in the Customer Success field, Guy established the Customer Success Summit and is a well-regarded industry speaker and community contributor. Guy loves people and technology and has dedicated his career to improving the way in which business is done through innovation. Fun Facts: Guy moonlights as the lead guitarist in a rock band based out of his garage in Palo Alto and used to command a tank battalion...as well as having grown oranges.

You might also like