These 5 Must-Read Books for Customer Success Will Satisfy The Hungry Bookworm in You

Updated: Feb 21, 2019

Do you read about Customer Success?


Reading is a compelling way to educate yourself on knowledge, depth, and perspectives; especially an esoteric one such as Customer Success. Many thought leaders in the industry have come up with a multitude of media about Customer Success; such as Webinars, Blogs, and Podcasts, but a book has its special charm that has never left us.

Here are my top 5 books to read as a Customer Success Manager.




Title: Customer Success: How Innovative Companies are Reducing Churn and Growing Recurring Revenue by Nick Mehta, Dan Steinman, Lincoln Murphy

Amazon Rating: 4.9/5 ⭐ (30 Reviews)


Summary:

One of the only books ever written on Customer Success as its core topic, this book was a collaborative by the founders of Gainsight and Sixteen Ventures.

The book covers fundamentals of Customer Success, strategies, and ‘The 10 Laws of Customer Success’, with each law authored by Customer Success thought leaders from different industries. The book also categorizes the laws by industry relevance; so whether you are a B2B SaaS, Subscription, Pay-as-you-go, B2C, or Traditional business, there will always be laws that will speak to you vividly as a CSM in your business.


What I liked about this book:

The contrasts of Behavioural Loyalty vs Attitudinal Loyalty in customers are repeatedly explored. These will be extremely useful at any stage of development of your company, and your CS team.


What I didn’t like about this book:

At the end, there is a bit of marketing for Gainsight and its Customer Success software. I was not taken aback by such a move, since the book was co-authored by its founders, but I would prefer that it was not included in the book and they established themselves simply as thought leaders in the industry.




Title: Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore

Amazon Rating: 4.2/5 ⭐ (95 Reviews)


Summary:

Commonly known as the game-changer in marketing for high-tech companies, this book focuses on the Technology Adoption Lifecycle, and how to market to each segment of customers.

Moore explains that there are five segments in this Lifecycle: Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, & Laggards. The chasm he refers to here is the difficulty in transition between the Early Adopters and Early Majority, which brings a new paradigm to the original Technology Adoption Lifecycle. This book is useful if you are trying to understand how to build a go-to-market strategy for a disruptive innovation.


What I liked about this book:

This book is constantly echoed as the ‘Bible in High-Tech Marketing’. I love how he explains the marketing strategies in a concise manner; the Bandwagon Effect, Vapor Vare, Market-centricity vs Product-centricity. They have very good examples of ideas that you can employ in real life situations for your disruptive tech marketing. Also, it does not scream of narcissism as most authors who write marketing books do.


What I didn’t like about this book:

This book was actually written quite some time ago (20 years I think), although some analogies may still hold relevance, the market has transformed in its way to adopt new technologies. Disruptive technologies are less disruptive now; new technologies appearing every other day has become the norm, and people are more receptive. The overall approach within the book is good, but it is beginning to lose its relevance.




Title: Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

Amazon Rating: 4.5/5 ⭐ (1,065 Reviews)


Summary:

This is, hands-down, one of the best books about providing stellar customer service that I have read.

Tony, the author, started his entrepreneurial attempts since his childhood. He tried to grow earthworms as a business, made pizza to sell in his college dorm, and eventually founded LinkExchange, Venture Frogs, and the renowned Zappos.com. Throughout his journey trying to understand how to materialise his ideas, he went through ups and downs; from losing all his earthworms, to almost losing all his millions from trying to fund Zappos whilst it was struggling to gain traction. Eventually, it was an alternative and excellent corporate culture that led to a focus on customer service;


What I liked about this book:

It is written with passion by Tony, and his exceeding grit in entrepreneurship inspires many readers. The book covers how he develops a corporate culture that empowers each employee, and continuously focuses on the need for exceptional customer service because of each employee’s ability to use their own good judgement in every situation.

It is written in the book that one of the employees was on a call with a lady who was just widowed and wanted to return a pair of shoes that were bought for her husband, this employee decided to refund the lady, and also send a bouquet of flowers to show her condolences on behalf of the company.


What I didn’t like about this book:

Many readers would assume that they are in for a journey of how to deliver happiness, or excellent customer service to their customers. However, this book eventually sums it up by bringing it back to the unique corporate culture that Zappos has, and how employee happiness is the key to everything else.




Title: The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Amazon Rating: 4.5/5 ⭐ (2,272 Reviews)


Summary:

To Eric, a Startup is an organisation dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This effectively defines the world of startups now, with so many of them popping up here and there, and how Eric’s strategies can help them in a world of exceeding supply of startups and a limited supply of funding. The author tries to focus on what a Lean Startup is, and how it can leverage on creativity and validated learning to build an organisation cost-efficiently.


What I liked about this book:

There’s a lot of reflections on common mistakes as entrepreneurs, which helps as a book which aggregates wisdom and information on building companies from scratch. The ideas are easy to understand, and provides a scientific approach to scaling an organisation.


What I didn’t like about this book:

Honestly, there was not much actionable information available in this book. A book that was constantly trying to define what a Lean Startup is, and different versions of it. It is also an advertisement for Eric’s adventures in entrepreneurship.




Title: The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk

Amazon Rating: 4.5/5 ⭐ (256 Reviews)


Summary:

GaryVee keeps it real in this manuscript of how to bring a scalable form of personal touch to the market. He begins by explaining that our behaviours has changed with technology, and brings on examples of how to scale with social media and build that kind of personal attention with these new technologies.

The ability to keep a customer-centric focus in your business is both an art and a science, and GaryVee illustrates it in simple examples and concepts for businesses of all sizes.


What I liked about this book:

The passion, candor, and wit of GaryVee never fails to impress me. This book is not talking about a fantasy, but about a real change that you can see in businesses who place such a high priority on their customers. If you need to understand how to build a customer-centric business, this book is for you. Zappos was also mentioned!


What I didn’t like about this book:

Similarly to ‘The Lean Startup’, this book may not be superbly relevant as it was drafted in 2011. Overall, it was still a fantastic read and insightful on how customer service is becoming increasingly essential in this fast-paced high-tech economy.


This is all for my 5 top reads on Customer Success! If you are looking for more resources on Customer Success, feel free to read up on other posts within my blog.


Do you have recommendations for books on Customer Success?

Write to me at hello@csmdaily.com

COPYRIGHT 2018-2019 CSMDAILY.COM©

The Customer Success Playbook to Help Customers Better