Looking for something to expand your CX brain this summer? Look no further! We've curated a few titles for you to peruse while you bask in the glow of the burning sun, piña colada in hand, and hopefully with plenty of SPF-30 slathered on so you don't get mistaken for a lobster.
We'll be in Atlanta, melting into our deck chairs and becoming one with the sweltering humidity. It's hard to tell where our skin ends and the air begins these days.
In today’s highly digital world, everyone feels the need to be constantly connected. More often than not, we find ourselves glued to our devices, consumed by both work and entertainment. It’s easy to lose track of time in between the many apps, emails, instant messages and the like — resulting in lost productivity. Veteran business author Brian Solis’ first foray into a non-business topic naturally draws on his experience, but on the whole delivers new and refreshing insights as well. Meant to help readers manage and contain digital distractions, Solis describes the book as something to help people “break free from distractions, sharpen your focus, spark creativity and unlock new possibilities as a result.”
Talk Triggers seeks to help capitalize on the largely untapped power of word-of-mouth to turn customers into volunteer marketers and advocates. As the title implies, certain things can trigger people to talk about a product or service more. The book boasts its own proprietary research on why and how customers talk, and features several related case studies. There’s also a “learning system” that teaches practical tips and tricks to make customers more excited about your brand.
Here, Dan Ariely challenges the notion that customers make decisions based on rational thinking. Another helpful insight into how people spend and consume, Ariely devotes 15 chapters to delving deeper into things like supply and demand, relativity, how people react to words like “free” and “zero”, emotions and decisions, the concept of ownership, and so on.
Ariely says that his goal in the book is to “help you fundamentally rethink what makes you and the people around you tick. I hope to lead you there by presenting a wide range of scientific experiments, findings, and anecdotes that are in many cases quite amusing. Once you see how systematic certain mistakes are—how we repeat them again and again—I think you will begin to learn how to avoid some of them.”
In his book, Daniel Pink tries to get to the root of what drives and motivates human beings. While traditional models of motivation point to rewards and fear of punishment as primary human motivators, Pink argues that motivation is largely intrinsic. In turn, this internal motivation is comprised of the desire for autonomy, mastery, and purpose. He points to the inherent simplicity of old models and the notion that money is everything. Especially today, when many in the workforce also carry with them a newer way of looking at things, the old carrot and stick approach doesn’t work any longer. In the book, Pink also supplements his research with practical techniques for utilizing true motivation, as well as provides examples of how a fresher approach to motivation has helped various companies and organizations.
Tiffany Bova’s Growth IQ tries to tackle the challenge of keeping business growth sustainable in an operating environment that’s increasingly becoming more competitive and fast-paced. Bova provides ten paths to growth, claiming that their simplicity often leads to them being misunderstood. The key, she explains, is understanding that these paths aren’t necessarily linear, and then finding the right combination and sequence of paths to take. She supplements these ten paths by providing examples of success stories from companies like Marvel, Red Bull, and Starbucks.
The concept of convenience in business is one that is considered a given, but Shep Hyken’s book takes a deeper look into the concept of convenience, and how it can differentiate one company from the competition. He argues that customer convenience should always be an integral part of a business’ strategy, claiming that “when you reduce friction and make it easier for customers to do business with you, they’ll reward you with their money, their loyalty, and their referrals.” Hyken provides six strategies to achieve better customer convenience, as well as several case studies to help drive his point home.
In Hooked, Nir Eyal offers a different perspective of the marketing process and how it can create effective “hooks” for customers. The book discusses concepts of psychological marketing and looks at how it can affect customer behavior and engagement. Eyal presents what he calls a “Hook Model”, a four-step process that is involved in creating highly engaging products and seeks to make readers understand how companies can forge emotional connections between their products and customers. The book also provides examples from real-life, such as how Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest use behavioral techniques to drive repeated use from customers without any aggressive marketing or hard-selling.
“Just because your customers are satisfied, doesn’t mean they will keep buying from you.” This surprising notion is just one of the interesting findings Matt Dixon’s The Effortless Experience sheds light on. While there is a consensus on the importance of customer loyalty, it turns out that there are also a lot of myths that surround it. Dixon utilizes extensive research to dispel those myths, like how customer satisfaction is closely tied with customer loyalty, or how customer service interactions are automatically drive disloyalty. Dixon’s goal in the book is to highlight how making service low-effort for customers can do wonders in creating and driving loyalty.
Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow is an entertaining but informative look at how the human mind works. It won the 2012 National Academies Communication Award, and rightly so — it’s a highly creative book, one that takes some of the best parts of Kahneman’s decades of research. The particular focus of the book are the two modes of thought — one that is fast, instinctive and emotional, and the other slower, and more deliberative and logical way of thinking. He first describes both systems of thought, then later explains the difficulty humans have in thinking statistically, and points out how human judgement often falls short of determining what really needs to be done.
If you’re looking for a good, practical book on customer journey mapping, then this should be on your radar. Jim Kalbach’s book is a no-frills look into the practicalities involved in utilizing alignment diagrams from customer data into actual initiatives. The outline is simple — understanding the principles behind diagramming, a guide to creating effective diagrams, and seeing diagrams applied and used in the real world.
The book focuses on the concept of the customer experience, and how in recent years it has been more and more distinct from goods and services. The authors posit that quality goods and services are no longer enough — that there is also value in creating memorable experiences for customers. The book offers several original and creative ways companies can create these kinds of experiences for their customers, and offer examples from successful companies like Disney to illustrate how important experience is as a value proposition for customers.
Another insightful read on customer experience, Jeanne Bliss’s benchmark is simple — “Would you do that to your mother?” Bliss discusses the importance of making customer interactions more personal, and how a change in perspective in terms of business practices and employee empowerment can become an edge in today’s highly competitive environment. The book provides practical solutions on how companies can better handle customer frustrations, de-escalate tricky situations, and make customers feel more valued. These are then supplemented by success stories and case studies from companies like Virgin Hotels and Canada’s Mayfair Diagnostics to show how this change in mindset can help “anticipate needs, extend patience, and show respect at all times.”