5 Essential Reads for the New Year

I was just on Amazon.com, and entered “Customer Experience” into the search bar, and got 507 hits.   While that may seem like a lot, some of the most influential customer experience books didn’t show up in the search.

To simplify things a bit, below is a very short list of essential customer experience reading.   While I assure you this list is not exhaustive, each of the below will both inspire you and instruct you.  And if you have any you’d like to recommend, please post it in the comments.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

1. Delivering Happiness:  A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose.

Author:  Tony Hsieh

There’s a chance that you don’t know about this book, and there’s also a chance that you haven’t heard of Tony Hsieh, but both of those chances are pretty slim.   Tony has taken his passion for people, and for creating remarkable experiences, and operationalized it into the phenomenon that is Zappos.com.  Absolutely number one on my list.  Here’s a link of you’d like to purchase it:

2. “I Love You More Than My Dog”:  Five Decisions That Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad.

Author:  Jeanne Bliss

This is an incredible little book by one of America’s leading authorities on how corporations large and small can deliver a consistently outstanding customer experience.  Chalk full of case studies about the simple choices companies make that allow them to consistently delight their customers, this wonderfully readable book will inspire you by the passion companies bring to their business.  Highly recommended.

3. Consumer Republic:  Using Brands to Get What You Want, Make Corporations Behave, and Maybe Even Save the World


 Author:  Bruce Philp

Bruce Philp is one of the brand industry’s leading thinkers, and in this book (yet to be released, but you can pre-order it if you click on the book cover), Bruce devotes his considerable insight into how consumers can make collective choices that will compel brands to do good, and avoid evil.   Why is this important?  Because brands that keep their promises survive and thrive, and brands that don’t, don’t.  This will be one of the more interesting brand / customer experience reads of 2011.  Guaranteed.

4. Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit:  The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization.

Authors:  Leonard Inqhilleri, Micah Solomon

After getting inspired by the case studies Jeanne Bliss provides, this book will tell you how to build customer loyalty into the fabric of your business.  Primarily designed for the small to medium sized business, Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit provides a practical, point-by-point methodology for improving your company’s customer experience.

5. Human Sigma:  Managing the Employee-Customer Encounter

Authors:  John H. Flemming, and Jim Asplund

Applying the discipline of Six Sigma to the variability of human interactions, this important book explores the crucial connection between customer-facing employees and customers, and explores ways these connections can be measured, managed, and strengthened.  Taking the approach that it’s impossible to separate the employee experience from the customer experience, Human Sigma is an absolute must-read for any organization that is serious about driving consistently first-rate customer experiences.

What are your recommended reads for the new year?