14 Best Customer Experience Books to Read in 2021

Home » Books » Customer Experience BooksUpdated: November 16, 2021

You found our list of top customer experience books.

Customer experience books are guides that teach professionals how to make business transactions painless, pleasurable, and memorable for customers. These works cover topics such as journey-mapping, the psychology behind consumer choices, and experience design. The purpose of these books is to help companies create value for a target audience and earn customer loyalty. Customer experience is commonly referred to as CX.

These guides are a subset of business books and are similar to customer service books, customer success books, and books on employee experience.

This list includes:

  • customer experience design books
  • books about customer experience
  • digital customer experience books
  • books about the customer journey
  • customer experience management books

Here we go!

List of customer experience books

From bestsellers to new releases, here is a list of books about customer experience to increase consumer satisfaction and loyalty.

1. The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences by Matt Watkinson

The ten principles behind customer experience book cover

The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences is one of the most straightforward customer experience books. The authors open the book by stressing the importance of CX and explaining that many attempts at the practice fall short because businesses do not truly understand the craft. As the title suggests, this handy reference identifies the key traits of effective CX, such as “reflect the customer’s identity,” “set and then meet expectations,” and “put the customer in control.” Each chapter explores one of these concepts in depth, and gives concrete, real-world examples. The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences gives readers a roadmap to cater to customer needs in simple steps.

Notable Quote: “The moral of the story is that if you focus on delighting your customers, assuming you’ve got your sums right, profit becomes a well earned by-product of a business that is successful in a much broader sense. You get the pleasure of knowing that you are making a positive contribution to people’s lives, and customers are not going to resent you for your success. In fact, far from it, they will reward you with their loyalty and do your marketing for you.”

Read The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences.

2. The Cult of the Customer: Create an Amazing Customer Experience that Turns Satisfied Customers into Customer Evangelists by Shep Hyken

the cult of the customer book cover

The Cult of the Customer presents a masterclass in how to dazzle customers. Shep Hyken urges readers to go beyond satisfying customers and aim to amaze clientele. Delight is a tool that turns buyers into fans, and encourages customers to spread the word, make referrals, and boost the brand. Early chapters identify five key traits that rally communities to form around companies and goes on to show how organizations can cultivate a “wow factor” that breeds a loyal fanbase. Later chapters emphasize the importance of practices like problem solving, attention to detail, and follow-through. The Cult of the Customer makes the ultimate case that benefiting the customer benefits the company, and provides a blueprint for creating beloved brands.

Notable Quote: “Satisfying your customers is not enough. Satisfied customers are not loyal customers.”

Read The Cult of the Customer.

3. The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, Rick DeLisi

the effortless experience book cover

The Effortless Experience is one of the best books about customer experience. This main takeaway from the book is that the surest way to win repeat customers is to make exchanges as simple and frictionless as possible. The book rebels against the idea that brands must go above-and-beyond to provide over-the-top service to win fans for the brand. Instead, the authors assert that what is most important to customers is having needs and expectations consistently met and that that process is as painless and convenient as possible. The guide helps readers envision what a seamless experience looks like from a customer perspective and tackles topics such as issue troubleshooting, customer service communication, and the elimination of sensations like frustration and helplessness. Chapters contain case studies and stories that illustrate these points and show readers what efficient systems look like in action.

Notable Quote: “From a customer’s perspective, when something goes wrong, the overriding sentiment is: Help me fix it.”

Read The Effortless Experience.

4. Designing Experiences by J. Robert Rossman Ph.D. and Mathew D. Duerden Ph.D.

designing experiences book cover

Designing Experiences is a reference published by the Columbia Business School. The guide covers the full range of experience design, from definitions and basic requirements, to detailed frameworks and helpful tools and techniques. The book coaches readers on guiding the buyer’s journey, managing touchpoints and transitions, and even incorporating the practice into corporate-level decision making. Theory and practice, ideas and action come together in this text. Designing Experiences presents a comprehensive introduction to the subject, yet even experienced CX-pros can find useful advice within the pages.

Notable Quote: “You are an experience designer whether or not you realise it. You are constantly involved in authoring experiences for your customers, colleagues, friends, and family. The relevant question is, Are you doing this intentionally? Conscious and purposeful experience design is a key to personal and professional success.”

Read Designing Experiences.

5. Mapping Experiences: A Complete Guide to Customer Alignment Through Journeys, Blueprints, and Diagrams by James Kalbach

Mapping experiences book cover

Mapping Experiences is one of the best customer experience design books. This technical manual guides readers through the art of experience mapping. The pages touch on different stages of the process, such as visualizing value, finding the right problem to solve, and arriving at a viable solution. The book presents several types of diagrams, blueprints, and methods for planning out the end result of the customer experience, and gives detailed examples and illustrations of each. The text highlights key points and considerations and gives readers a firm foothold in the planning process.

Laid out in an indexed, easily-referenced, textbook-style format, Mapping Experiences is a valuable resource for CX professionals at any level.

Notable Quote: “Moments of truth can be thought of as a special type of touchpoint. They are critical, emotionally charged interactions, and usually occur when someone has invested a high degree of energy in a desired outcome. Moments of truth either make or break the relationship.”

Read Mapping Experiences.

6. What Your Customer Wants and Can’t Tell You: Unlocking Consumer Decisions with the Science of Behavioral Economics by Melina Palmer

what your customer wants but can't tell you book cover

What Your Customer Wants and Can’t Tell You uses principles of behavioral science to explain consumer purchasing habits. Drawing on psychological and neurological concepts, the book explains what drives customers to make buying choices, and hints at how companies can harness these patterns to design better experiences and drive sales. While many customer experience books urge readers to adopt a customer mindset, this book goes one step beyond and asks readers to consider how customer’s minds work, and to tailor transactions to appeal to buyers’ brains. What Your Customer Wants and Can’t Tell You taps into the less obvious elements of customer experience and shows organizations how to appeal to client’s subconscious needs and desires.

Notable Quote: “A brand is a collection of experiences that make up a persona in your mind, and familiarity breeds liking….When you first meet them, you are on high alert– your defenses are high, an you are ready for them to do something that will allow you to categorize them as a hero or a zero. During this process, your brain is using a combination of subconscious and conscious techniques to evaluate the brand. Much of what is happening and influencing your choices is below your level of conscious understanding.”

Read What Your Customer Wants and Can’t Tell You.

7. What Customers Crave: How to Create Relevant and Memorable Experiences at Every Touchpoint by Nicholas Webb

what customers crave book cover

What Customers Crave is one of the top books about the customer journey. The book is split into two sections. The first part of the guide gives background information and baseline knowledge of the practice of CX, while the latter half deep dives into mapping the customer journey. These chapters outline key touchpoint moments within the client relationship development process, and give advice on how to impress and hook customers at every state. The guide gives insight into the customer perspective throughout the decision making process and illustrates how feelings and impressions evolve throughout the journey.

Notable Quote: “Remember, whether you’re selling a product or a service, you are in the customer experience business. Customer experience is not just a function of training your staff; it’s a design function. If you want to design something that’s going to succeed, it needs to deliver value to customers across each and every touchpoint.”

Read What Customers Crave.

8. The Experience Economy: Competing for Customer Time, Attention, and Money by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore

the experience economy book cover

The Experience Economy explains why CX is necessary in the current business climate, and highlights down the essentials of the practice. The book breaks down the elements that make experiences noteworthy and enjoyable, such as customization and cohesion. By distilling CX down into a handful of simple building blocks, the text gives a step-by-step guide for crafting encounters that stick in customer’s minds. The chapters include stories and descriptions of companies executing this idea well to serve as inspiration. The Experience Economy presents the key to outshining competition, earning consumers’ scarce attention, and making customers care about the brand.

Notable Quote: “Fundamentally, customers do not want choice; they just want exactly what they want.”

Read The Experience Economy: Competing for Customer Time, Attention, and Money.

9. The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath

the power of moments book cover

The Power of Moments is not exclusively about customer experience. Rather, the book dissects the factors that make one-off experiences memorable and impactful. The author identifies patterns in notable moments, and analyzes the factors that give these instances significance. The book explores the components that give occurrences the power to define identities and change lives. By examining what makes random events pivotal, the book lays out a roadmap for readers to engineer similar experiences. The Power of Moments presents ideas on how to nurture moments that move customers and are bound to stick in clients’ minds.

Notable Quote: “In life, we can work so hard to get the kinks out that we forget to put the peaks in.”

Read The Power of Moments.

10. The Customer of the Future: 10 Guiding Principles for Winning Tomorrow’s Business by Blake Morgan

customers of the future book cover

The Customer of the Future functions as an unofficial rulebook for CX. The author shares ten key guidelines that drive the modern customer experience, such as customer-focused leadership, personalization, and intentional zero-friction design. The book puts a heavy emphasis on the role of technology and digitalization in CX, and shows how tools can improve the customer journey and usage. The Customer of the Future also touches on emerging topics not covered in many other CX books, such as CX analytics and ethics and data privacy. This book is a future-facing guide that aims to prepare readers not only for the present, but also for the customers’ needs of tomorrow.

Notable Quote: “The solution to the customer experience is rather simple, but not easy. The challenge is this– most companies are product-focused rather than customer-focused. This lack of a customer experience mindset is the reason customer experiences are varied and often fall short.”

Read The Customer of the Future.

11. Would You Do That to Your Mother?: The “Make Mom Proud” Standard for How to Treat Your Customers by Jeanne Bliss

would you do that to your mother book cover

Would You Do That to Your Mother? is one of the most entertaining customer experience management books. The book presents a simple standard for designing customer experience: and treat each customer the way you would want your own mother to be treated. Each chapter delivers a valuable lesson that contributes towards the customer experience, such as “enable employees to thrive,” and “help your customers to achieve their goals.” The “make mom proud” mindset and the idea of honoring your upbringing by bringing those same values into the workplace helps readers instantly empathize with customers and behave with integrity and compassion.

Notable Quote: “Companies that “Make Mom Proud” grow by living those lessons. They remove practices that might curb the extension of care, or limit employees to act in good conscience. They work to remove boundaries and pressures that prohibit customer-driven decision making. Their actions honor the human at the end of their decisions, establish a balanced relationship with customers and partners, and put employees in positions to act at work like they’d act at home. Like they were raised.”

Read Would You Do That to Your Mother?

12. More Is More: How the Best Companies Go Farther and Work Harder to Create Knock-Your-Socks-Off Customer Experience by Blake Morgan

More is more book cover

More Is More is one of the most basic books about customer experience. This book opens by defining CX, giving an overlay of the current practice, and making predictions for the near future. Early chapters explore the growing influence of technology in the CX world and the roles marketing and data play in the process. The middle section dives into the anatomy of amazing experiences and gives readers formulas for designing customer-centric processes and results. The end of the book touches on more nuanced topics such as generational customer experience and amending mistakes. More Is More shows that CX is an ever-evolving concept and serves as a rallying call to keep improving the execution of the practice.

Notable Quote: “Businesses need to be listening every day because what customers are saying is changing at an increasingly frequent pace.”

Read More Is More.

13. Winning Her Business: How to Transform the Customer Experience for the World’s Most Powerful Consumers by Bridget Brennan

winning her business cover

Winning Her Business is a book about designing positive customer experiences for women. The book stresses the buying power of female audiences and urges brands to take an educated approach to designing customer experiences for this demographic instead of relying on assumptions. Bridget Brennan lays out four main motivators that cause customers to buy — connection, inspiration, confidence, appreciation– and explains how companies can tailor these elements to appeal to women. The underlying theme of the book is that female customers want respect, and the author shows businesses how to communicate that respect to the clientele and create a comfortable buying environment for women.

Notable Quote: “Winning the business of women isn’t about excluding men; it’s about excluding stereotypes and elevating the customer experience.”

Read Winning Her Business, and check out more business books for women.

14. Likeable Social Media: How To Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, & Be Generally Amazing On All Social Networks That Matter by Dave Kerpen, Michelle Greenbaum, and Rob Berk

Likeable social media book cover

Likeable Social Media is one of the most useful digital customer experience books. The guide teaches readers how to leverage social media to delight customers. The authors lay down guidelines for designing content that is useful and entertaining to consumers, responding to comments, using social channels as platforms for customer service, and creating value for followers. The book shows markets how to balance authenticity in voice and tone with empathy for the customer mindset. Likeable Social Media emphasizes crafting an experience on social media that speaks to audiences rather than using platforms solely as a selling and branding mechanism.

Notable Quote: “Sure, not everyone who posts on your Facebook wall or tweets about you has as much sway or trendsetting ability as some celebrities, but they certainly can spread the word on your behalf—easily and quickly—especially if you thank and encourage them.”

Read Likeable Social Media, and check out more social media marketing books.

Final Thoughts

In a crowded and competitive marketplace, it has become increasingly important for organizations to practice good CX. Customer experience is no longer just an extra that can give brands an edge, but rather a basic business requirement. Customers demand more from brands than ever before, and are not afraid to own their buying power. Companies that fail to deliver on promises, provide convenience for customers, or distinguish themselves from competitors are bound to get left behind. By reading CX books, professionals can better understand customer’s needs and desires, and use these insights to design better products and services and deliver real value to the audience.

For more reading recommendations, check out this list of product design books and this list of innovation books.

FAQ: Customer experience books 

Here are answers to common questions about customer experience books.

What are customer experience books? 

Customer experience books are guides that teach professionals how to design business interactions that are convenient and pleasant for customers. This approach revolves around proactively accommodating customer needs to earn repeat business and positive regard.

What are some good customer experience books?

Some good customer experience books include The Effortless Experience by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, Rick DeLisi, Would You Do That to Your Mother? by Jeanne Bliss, The Power of Moments by Chip Heath, and The Experience Economy by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore.

What is the difference between customer service books and customer experience books?

Customer service books and customer experience books are very similar, and there are some titles that fall into both categories. However, customer service books tend to revolve more around immediate interactions and staff behavior, while customer experience books focus on systems, processes, and overall design.

P.S: Press "CTRL + D" or "Command + D" to bookmark this page for updates.

Share this article:

avatar
Author: Angela Robinson

Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

LinkedIn icon

Want to do team building online?

We have 30+ event types, and thousands of five star reviews.