We work so hard to acquire new leads, but just because we land their contact information doesn’t mean we’ve sealed the deal. True customer success requires a careful lead nurturing process, along with a strong customer experience to help increase retention rates across every stage of the funnel.
That’s never been more true now that more businesses are adopting recurring revenue and subscription pricing models that require strong customer experiences month over month.
Customer success should always be a priority for brands, though some businesses have struggled knowing how to excel in this particular area as the market has shifted. Customers have higher expectations for brands than ever before, and as new technology and platforms have emerged, brands need to know how to keep up.
Fortunately, there are plenty of great resources available that can help you step up your game. In this post, we’re going to take a look at 8 of the best customer success books that will get you ready for the new year in 2022 and beyond.
1. The Seven Pillars of Customer Success
Written by Wayne McCulloch (a Top 100 Customer Success Strategist with over 25 years of experience), The Seven Pillars of Customer Success provides readers with a detailed framework that’s designed to give stronger and more impactful client outcomes for any business.
McCulloch focuses on how to build a strong foundation through a “customer success culture,” and the seven pillars truly act as individual building blocks that brands can build their own framework around.
And don’t just take my word for it; the book is highly praised as one of the go-to best customer success books ever by plenty of directors of customer experiences across multiple industries.
2. Customer Success: How Innovative Companies Are Reducing Churn And Growing Recurring Revenue
Written by three authors each with their own distinctive experience (Nick Metha, Dan Steinman, and Lincoln Murphy), this book titled Customer Success is a great one to get you ready for 2022.
We all know that your business’s success is closely linked to how successful your customers are with the product, which is a core fact that this book revolves around as they examine how business relationships have been changing BC and AB (“Before Cloud” and “After Benioff”).
They know that in the AB word, per-year, per-month, or per-use subscription and purchase options alongside flexible pricing models and Cloud technology give customers more power than ever before, and B2B brands must adapt.
This book takes you through everything you need to set up your own Customer Success program, including initial planning stages and tips for execution. You’ll look at different strategies that have been used by some of the top companies all over the world, and set up your own action plan for creating your Customer Success organization within your brand. It’s deeply actionable, and it takes you beyond why customer success is so important and shows you how to actually get started.
3. Farm Don’t Hunt
Farm Don’t Hunt: The Definitive Guide for Customer Success is one of my favorite Customer Success books on the market right now. It’s written by Guy Nirpaz and Fernando Pizarro, and in addition to being informative, it’s actually a fun and engaging read.
The authors argue that historically, brands have had a “hunting” mindset in order to acquire new customers enough to keep sales high, but that with “the new normal” of recurring revenue models it’s more important to “farm” and nurture customers instead.
If you want to learn more about how you can offer stronger value to your customers at every part of their journey and how to optimize your brand’s Customer Success program, this is an excellent read.
Nirpaz is actually acknowledged as one of the earlier pioneers of Customer Success, and this book shows why; there’s so much actionable advice for shifting your business to adapt to this model, and every B2B brand will want to grab their copy before the new year begins.
4. Practical Customer Success Management
Practical Customer Success Management: A Best Practice Framework For Rapid Generation of Customer Success by Rick Adams is written by an expert who has trained hundreds of CS managers all over the world.
While some books look at how to start a customer success program, this one offers exceptional tips for how to increase the consistency of quality when it comes to customer success managers. If you want to get new ideas to be more productive and consistent at motivating your team and driving results in the customer success sphere, this is the book you need to read.
This one is downright fun to read, too. It’s good-humored but still direct, and it gives you very specific advice for how to handle real-world situations that can impact your business in major ways. Having that kind of knowledge before you need to scramble as it’s happening in real-time is invaluable.
It doesn’t hurt that this book is full of templates that help you run through the lessons and tasks discussed so you can better coordinate with other managers on a team, along with suggestions for tools to keep the team excelling.
5. What Customers Crave
There are so many aspects to great Customer Success. You need a great onboarding experience, competitive features, and strong customer service. That’s great— but how do you know what your brand’s customers really want?
Nicholas J. Webb’s What Customers Crave: How to Create Relevant and Memorable Experiences at Every Touchpoint stresses that you need to know exactly who your customers are and what they want.
So they ask: How well do you know your customers? And more specifically, what do they love and what do they eat?
This book is a resource that’s loaded with examples to help you sort out how to engage every type of customer by determining who your high-value customers are and what they are about. And then it breaks down how to use that information to create strong experiences for each audience segment that are as relevant as they possibly could be at every individual touchpoint across the sales funnel.
Full of great advice and even tips for new ways to engage with your customers, you won’t want to miss this one.
6. Chief Customer Officer 2.0
Chief Customer Officer 2.0: How to Build Your Customer-Driven Growth Engine by Jeanne Bliss uses the same teaching methods that Bliss used to train C-Suite executives on CS strategies.
The book goes over the five-pillar model that she created to train high-level executives and customer success officers, which include the following:
- Manage and honor your customers as assets
- Align around the customer experience
- Build a customer listening path to receive feedback
- Be proactive about experience reliability and innovation; don’t just want for the market to outdo you
- One company accountability, leadership, & decision making
If you need help getting a united leadership team, this book is a good place to start as you focus on growing your brand by creating stronger customer experiences.
And if you want real-world examples, this book has it. There are more than 40 different accounts of actual actions taken by Customer Success executives all over the world, going way beyond fun hypothetical scenarios.
7. Delivering Happiness
The well-known Delivering Happiness by the late and very much missed Tony Hsieh will always be one of the greats when you want to learn more about how to create truly exceptional customer experiences.
Zappos went all-in on treating every customer like royalty long before it was the standard, and their business model proved profitably very quickly.
In his book, Hsieh discussed how starting from the ground up by implementing strong company culture policies was actually what helped create such amazing customer experiences. When employees were happy and had opportunities to rest, grow, and thrive, they were thrilled to help customers. That happiness was passed down through the chain of operations, and everyone was happy.
It’s a quick read and incredibly down to earth, so if you’ve somehow managed to not read it yet, take some time this holiday season to change that!
8. Never Lose a Customer Again
Never lose a customer again. It sounds a little like a dream right?
While preventing all churn isn’t really possible or realistic, the good news is that strategies discussed in Joey Coleman’s Never Lose a Customer Again: Turn Any Sale Into Lifelong Loyalty in 100 Days can get you a little closer to that dream.
Coleman’s entire focus isn’t on marketing that you need to acquire lead information, or even on closing the sale. Instead, it’s about what happens during the customer’s first 100 days after the purchase and how you can use every touchpoint and interaction to create brand advocates and loyal customers.
The idea is to keep users as excited as they first were when they discovered your product or tool, to keep on more of those frequent-drop-offs that most brands see within the first three months.
Onboarding is a crucial part of this book, and it’s a central part of starting off strong with your customers. The book also dives into how to anticipate customers’ emotions and needs so that you can be ready (by email, video, in-person, and more) to deliver value and cement a lifetime relationship.
This book will take you through the entire customer user journey once they’ve first purchased, giving you a roadmap of where you need to go next.
By now you’re well aware of the value that comes with investing in customer success, even if you don’t have a formal customer success team or program just yet. Whether you already have one and you want to optimize it or are looking to start one, any of these 8 customer success books will help you on your journey.
There’s always more to learn, and these resources were all created by top experts who are able to offer real actionable advice, templates, and strategies that can help you accelerate your business’s revenue and growth in 2022. If that’s not a great way to start a new year, we don’t know what is!
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