5 Books Every Customer Success Manager Should Read

customer success books

Learning as a customer success manager never ends. Here at SuccessCOACHING, we’ve talked about how a single exposure when learning something new isn’t effective. Instead, consuming information multiple times over a longer period of time is more effective for long-term retention.

With this in mind, reading customer success books is a great way to bolster your learning opportunities. Since you can choose from physical books, eBooks, or audiobooks, it’s never been easier to consume the information you need. Plus, books are affordable, easy to access, and you can go through them at your own pace.

We’ve put together a list of five books every customer success manager needs to read. You’ll want to put them all on your reading list!

The Startup's Guide to Customer Success: How to Champion the Customer at Your Company

An essential book for anyone who is looking to become a champion for their customers, and a great starting point for new customer success managers or a refresher for those well on their way. This excellent book also debunks the idea that only large companies with vast resources need to invest in customer success, and outlines how it can be applied to any business, regardless of size.

Jennifer Chiang, CEO of DWDG Consulting and the Director of Customer Success at Yup Technologies, identifies customer success as an organizational mindset, and highlights how critical it is for optimal customer experience, engagement, loyalty, and retention. With simple and effective frameworks , easy guides, and an examination of customer success best practices, this is an essential book for any CSM to read.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Your ability to deal with change — and your ability to help your customers through it — is a critical part of being an effective customer success manager, and this book can help you improve your resilience in the face of the unexpected. Even better, this book can help you with more than just your business, as it’s applicable to all aspects of your life.

In “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard”, Chip Heath, a professor at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and Dan Heath, a Senior Fellow at Duke University' Social Entrepreneurship center, break down the psychological barriers to change in simple language and provide easy, actionable solutions for both individuals and organizations.

To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others

When you think of sales, you probably think of sales teams and persuading customers to make a purchase, right? In reality, you go through several sales interactions every day. Convincing your boss to approve your new project idea or even persuading your friends to choose the restaurant you want are ways you’re “selling” every day.

In “To Sell Is Human”, Daniel H. Pink takes you through understanding others’ perspectives, how to make your message clearer and more persuasive, and what “ABC” stands for instead of “Always Be Closing.” Pulling from fascinating social science throughout, this book will change what you do at work and everywhere else.

A Complaint Is a Gift: Recovering Customer Loyalty When Things Go Wrong

Do you think of a customer complaint as a bad thing? This book will change your mind. You’ll be reminded that complaints are fantastic feedback tools and correcting a situation with a customer is an effective way to win them back, gaining their loyalty for life.

“A Complaint is a Gift” contains real-life examples throughout, giving you plenty of situations to take inspiration from. The newest edition also includes two chapters devoted to online complaints, which is more than relevant in today’s hyper-connected world.

Customer Experience 3.0: High-Profit Strategies in the Age of Techno Service

Thanks to broad developments in technology (smartphones, social media, and cloud services to name a few), customers expect more from their products and services. Customers are expecting world-class experiences from the companies they work with and want to see technology leveraged in the process.

Customer Experience 3.0 shows you how to enhance your customer experience with the latest CRM systems, new metrics, and leading online tools. It will show you how to anticipate your customers’ needs before they do, always keeping you a few steps ahead.

Do’s & Don’ts

  • DO prioritize ongoing learning. With the convenience of books, you can easily work a few of these titles into your ongoing training plan. Reading customer success books is a great way to stay sharp and inspired.

  • DON’T be shy about asking for books at the office. Talk to your manager or human resources coordinator about buying these books so everyone in the company can benefit from them.

  • DO plan how you’re going to read these books. It can be helpful to commit to reading one chapter a week or listening to the audiobook on your daily commute.

  • DON’T forget to put what you learn into practice. Whenever you read a new strategy or theory that resonates with you, find a way to incorporate it into your routine right away.

Robyn Petrik

SuccessCOACHING contributor Robyn Petrik is a freelance copywriter originally from Vancouver, Canada, who specializes in blogging, website copy, and social media content. While she happily spends most of her time writing, you’ll also find her reading, hiking, and eating too much peanut butter.