“Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” (P.J. O’Rourke)
The only book that will not help you is the one you will not read. While reading does not replace the need for actual action, there is nothing like an insightful and enlightening book to get better at what you do.
In this whirlwind of technological disruption, digital leaders know how important is to learn from the experiences of others. Luckily, many authors have tackled the challenge to help companies to keep up with the evolution. Here is our list of essential books that will inspire you to improve customer experience.
To be truly effective as an entrepreneur focused on digital customer experience, you need to be willing to learn, and then adapt those lessons to your own business. Learning is so important, in fact, that we have included it as one of the seven steps in the DCX Checklist to deliver an amazing experience to your customers.
Know yourself, know your customers, know your context. The ability to stay current is the prerequisite to understanding the constant flow of digital innovations, and to take advantage of technology to enhance the user experience at every single touch point of the customer journey.
We move on a threshold that separates the old world (the traditional business patterns and marketing funnel) from the new world (where empowered digital customers dictate the brand agenda). Changes happen so fast that even successful brands - Apple and Google, to name two giants - can’t rest on their laurels. Digital business is a work in progress, by definition.
Disruption may come from unexpected places. The Internet of Things, machine learning and predictive analytics, the iBeacon and proximity marketing, the Apple Watch and wearable technology, mobile devices and cloud computing, social media, virtual and augmented reality.
So, every time technology changes, the same happens to customers and should happen to your marketing strategy and customer experience management. Some companies have already embraced the stream of evolution; some still rely on the outdated way of thinking. Both need to make sense of what is happening around them.
None can grow just staying closed in his comfort zone. You must confront with the best-in-class; the only way to see farther is by standing on the shoulders of giants. However, because not all books are created equal, we have created a list of the essential readings you should not miss.
DISRUPTING DIGITAL BUSINESS, R “RAY” WANG
In the world where companies no longer control the conversation, they need to learn how to create an authentic experience for their customers. Digital leaders must shift from creating promises to keeping promises. In this era of social connections and constant connectivity, the experience becomes the main competitive differentiator, influencing the way brands plan and execute their strategy.
THE THANK YOU ECONOMY, GARY VAYNERCHUK
The entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk proclaims, with data-driven evidence, that we have entered into a new era for business. In this one, companies need to scale their communication to a one-to-one level, no matter how big they are and how much money they invest. The best way to do it is to harness the power from social media, used as a word-of-mouth and customer experience platform.
THE STARBUCKS EXPERIENCE, JOSEPH MICHELLI
Why should I pay more for an average coffee? The secret behind the Starbucks success lies in the ability to turn the ordinary into extraordinary, focusing on the overall customer experience rather than the product. If you want to understand what loyalty means in the digital era, Starbucks is your landmark brand: personalized experiences, employee engagement, omni-channel customer journey.
THE NORDSTROM WAY, ROBERT SPECTOR
Nordstrom, a very well-known retail brand, is universally recognized as one of the best examples of customer service excellence. In fact, all other companies use it as a cornerstone, aiming at becoming the “Nordstrom of their industry”. What is the secret of this enduring - even in economic turmoil - success? The direct link between empowering your employees and creating a long-term relationship with your customers.
THE CUSTOMER MANIFESTO, PAMELA HERRMANN
Let’s start with two numbers: 80 percent of businesses believe they are providing superior customer experience, yet only 8 percent of their customers agree they provide it. The disconnect is due to the fact that amazing customer experience is not the result of a program, it is the effect of a human and personal connection, across all touch points. This is where successful entrepreneurs start, to grow their business.
THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FIASCO, ANDREW REISE
To learn the foundations of an amazing experience for customers, you must learn not just the best practices and success stories, but also the misguided adventures. Using a fictional situation, the book - written by the experts of Andrew Reise Consulting - tells the story of how you can start from a fiasco (a YouTube video, in this case) to build a successful customer experience strategy.
OUTSIDE IN, HARLEY MANNING
This book is about the power of putting customers at the center of your business. Customer experience is the most powerful - and yet misunderstood - element of corporate strategy today. Your business value is not established just by the quality of the output (your product) but also by the quality of the connection between you and your customers (the experience). Identifying and solving the problems inside your organization has the potential to increase dramatically sales and decrease costs.
I LOVE YOU MORE THAN MY DOG, JEANNE BLISS
The theory is good, case studies are even better. This book is all about true stories that can teach you how to improve your strategy. In the end, you will understand the difference between having customers who like you and customers who love you (truly, madly, deeply). Loyal and engaged customers are the key, and the author has studied tons of companies to identify the five decisions that drive extreme customer loyalty, in good times and bad.
INBOUND MARKETING, BRIAN HALLIGAN & DHARMESH SHAH
Inbound marketing is a new paradigm in the relationship with customers, a methodology that replaces interruption with communication and value creation. This book, written by the two founders of the automation platform Hubspot, gives you all introductory hints to change your content strategy and ultimately attract, convert, close and delight. Transforming your customers from complete strangers to loyal promoters.
TO SELL IS HUMAN, DANIEL PINK
If you need a fresh look at the art of selling in the age of digital disruption, this book will offer a new perspective, based on the idea that we are all salespeople. Among all other things, the author describes the six successors to the elevator pitch, the three rules for understanding another's perspective, and the five frames that can make your message clearer and more persuasive. Because, in sales, numbers matter.
Of course, there are lots of great books we did non include in this brief list. Please, use the comments to suggest your personal favorites.
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To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here: