Provide better customer service in 2014: top books from the past year

Published December 26, 2013
Last modified December 26, 2013

As December draws to a close, you might find yourself reflecting on the past year—what you learned, what you accomplished, what you would have done differently. And if you are like most people, your thoughts are probably turning to what you want to achieve in the coming year.

If upping your customer service game is on your list of New Year’s resolutions but you’re not sure where to start, we’ve created a list of the best books on customer service of 2013 to inspire you and your team.

Amaze Every Customer Every Time - 52 Tools for Delivering the Most Amazing Customer Service on the Planet
by Shep Hyken
Ace is the place with...amazing customer service! In one of the best customer service books, renowned customer experience expert Shep Hyken provides the perfect role model for elevating your company from good to great through stellar service: Ace Hardware. Shep provides 52 simple tools that Ace has used to become one of the top ten service brands in America and highest in its industry for customer satisfaction.

The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service
by Lee Cockerell
It’s a small (customer service) world, after all. In this book, former Walt Disney World EVP, Lee Cockerell shares the rules for serving customers so they’ll never want to do business with anyone but you. They’re served up in 39 bite-sized chapters, making this a great on-the-go read. Our favorite? Rule #14: Treat Your Customers the Way You’d Treat Your Loved Ones. It’s impossible to lose your patience with grandma, right?

Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary
by Steve Curtin
When asked what their work entails, most employees list the specific tasks associated with their job roles, and very few refer to the their highest priority at work: to create delighted customers. In another one of the great books about service, expert (and future Zen Master ) Steve Curtin reveals the seven behaviors that distinguish extraordinary customer service from the ordinary, transactional variety that customers have unfortunately come to expect.

Leading the Starbucks Way: 5 Principles for Connecting with Your Customers, Your Products and Your People
by Joseph Michelli
You might be surprised to learn that the international success of Starbucks didn’t come in the form of a pumpkin latte. It actually began with a promise: To inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time. Through inspiring and entertaining anecdotes gleaned from one-on-one conversations with everyone from baristas to senior leaders, bestselling author Joseph Michelli outlines the five actionable principles that teams can adopt to drive and support that same promise for their own companies.

Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers into Fanatics
by Jackie Huba
Love her or hate her, Lady Gaga is one of the most successful pop musicians of all time, and her strategy for attracting and keeping insanely loyal fans is unparalleled. Whether it’s focusing on your one percenters, building a community, or making your customers feel like rock stars, Jackie Huba breaks down the 7 lessons that businesses can learn from Mama Monster to build monster loyalty.

And last but not least - we’re throwing in an honorable mention for a book that was released in paperback in 2013 because we loved it so much:

Who's Your Gladys? How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer into Your Biggest Fan
by Marilyn Suttle and Lori Jo Vest
Here she comes! Maybe her name is Gladys, or maybe it’s Tom, Tiffany, or Niles. But whatever his or her moniker, this person’s cranky, irascible presence is bound to send even the best, most dedicated customer service professional running for cover. Well it just so happens that customer experience experts and bestselling authors Marilyn Suttle and Lori Jo Vest believe that when you learn to handle your most challenging customers well, you develop the skills to create extraordinary experiences for all of your customers. In this book, they share actionable strategies for not only handling customers like Gladys gracefully, but how to avoid creating them in the first place.

Can’t wait to read these books? We don’t blame you! Use the hashtag #custservbooks on Twitter to share your favorite customer service book of all time for your chance to win all of our 2013 faves!

Looking for more great resources from these authors? Check out some of our recorded Zen Masters of Customer Service webinars.