20 Must-Read Books on Customer Success for 2023

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Zoe Ashbridge

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Customer success roles are multi-faceted. These reps need both an in-depth understanding of a product, as well as top-notch communication skills.

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If you're looking to level up in your customer success role, it's essential to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and skills in the field. To help, we're sharing 20 must-read books on customer success.

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Take your self-development a step further with any or all of these fantastic books.

Table of Contents

  1. The Seven Pillars of Customer Success by Wayne McCulloch
  2. Customer Success: How Innovative Companies Are Reducing Churn and Growing Recurring Revenue by Nick Mehta, Dan Steinman, Lincoln Murphy, and Maria Martinez
  3. Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
  4. HYPERGROWTH by David Cancel
  5. Talking to Humans by Giff Constable
  6. Farm Don't Hunt by Guy Nirpaz and Fernando Pizarro
  7. Leading Executive Conversations by Sally Williamson
  8. Onboarding Matters by Donna Weber
  9. The Startup's Guide to Customer Success by Jennifer Chiang
  10. The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, and Robert M. Galford
  11. The Effortless Experience by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, and Rick DeLisi
  12. Subscribed: Why the Subscription Model Will Be Your Company's Future by Tien Tzuo and Gabe Weisert
  13. From Impossible to Inevitable by Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin
  14. Chief Customer Officer 2.0 by Jeanne Bliss
  15. The Customer Success Pioneer by Kellie Lucas
  16. What Customers Crave by Nicholas J. Webb
  17. Never Lose a Customer Again by Joey Coleman
  18. Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success by Colleen Stanley
  19. The Customer Success Professional's Handbook by Ashvin Vaidyanathan
  20. The Customer Success Economy by Nick Mehta

1. The Seven Pillars of Customer Success by Wayne McCulloch

books on customer success, The Seven Pillars of Customer Success by Wayne McCulloch

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This provides a framework for customer success. Plus, McCulloch leads with examples from companies that have put his seven pillars to the test in the real world.

What we love: Seven Pillars of Customer Success is an opportunity to gain insights from a trusted source in the industry.

Best for: Those focusing on self-development and overall understanding. This is a great read if you're starting a new role.

2. Customer Success: How Innovative Companies Are Reducing Churn and Growing Recurring Revenue by Nick Mehta, Dan Steinman, Lincoln Murphy, and Maria Martinez

Customer Success: How Innovative Companies Are Reducing Churn and Growing Recurring Revenue by Nick Mehta, Dan Steinman, Lincoln Murphy, Maria Martinez, best books on customer success

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This practical book challenges traditional sales and marketing approaches to working with customers. Instead, the authors advocate for customer success management through renewals, up-sells, and advocacy. Customer Success is a must-read for all customer success representatives.

What we love: Customer Success is as in-depth as it is practical. Readers get practical advice and examples from the real world.

Best for: Customer success managers

3. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh, books on customer success

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With more than 70,000 ratings, Delivering Happiness has the most ratings of any book on this shortlist — which is unsurprising since Tony Hsieh is a voice you can trust. Hsieh sold his company, LinkExchange, to Microsoft for $265 million. Later, he became the CEO of Zappos, which he helped grow to over $1 billion.

Here, Hsieh shares what he knows about customer success in this 80-page book.

What we love about it: Hsieh has proven that he knows the ins and outs of customer success management. You can guarantee to learn through his experiences.

Best for: CEOs, entrepreneurs, and customer success managers

4. HYPERGROWTH: How the Customer-Driven Model is Revolutionizing the Way Businesses Build Products, Teams, & Brands by David Cancel

HYPERGROWTH: How the Customer-Driven Model Is Revolutionizing the Way Businesses Build Products, Teams, & Brands by David Cancel

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At 78 pages long, HYPERGROWTH is one of the shorter books on this list. Even with its brevity, this book offers frameworks, prioritization, and all the support you need to put your customer back at the center of what you do.

What we love: You can read this book in one sitting — and it's packed full of customer success insights.

Best for: Those looking for a quick read on customer success.

5. Talking to Humans: Success Starts with Understanding Your Customers by Giff Constable

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The best customer success managers have excellent soft skills and know how to talk to humans. That includes conversing with customers or internal teams. In Talking to Humans, Giff Constable encourages you to get the most out of your conversations.

What we love: This short book is meaningful and to the point. You're guaranteed to have more meaningful conversations after reading this guide.

Best for: Those focused on communication and relationship building.

6. Farm Don't Hunt: The Definitive Guide to Customer Success by Guy Nirpaz and Fernando Pizarro

Farm Don't Hunt: The Definitive Guide to Customer Success by Guy Nirpaz, Fernando Pizarro

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Farm Don't Hunt breaks down everything involved in customer success. The authors then provide actionable advice for aspiring business leaders.

What we love: With just 140 pages, this is one of the most succinct books on customer success. It's easy to read, digestible, and well-presented. You'll pick this book back up time and time again.

Best for: Beginners

7. Leading Executive Conversations by Sally Williamson

Leading Executive Conversations by Sally Williamson

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Customer success managers must communicate with executives effectively. That's why Leading Executive Conversations by Sally Williamson made our list of the best customer success books.

This powerful read will help you prepare for meetings with company leaders in the future.

What we love: Customer success managers advocate for the customers, and Williamson provides the tools to inspire action internally.

Best for: Those looking to improve communication and relationship building.

8. Onboarding Matters: How Successful Companies Transform New Customers Into Loyal Champions by Donna Weber

Onboarding Matters: How Successful Companies Transform New Customers Into Loyal Champions

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Onboarding Matters is an award-winning customer success book. Here, Weber shares the importance of onboarding and provides an actionable framework for onboarding success.

What we love: Donna Weber's book includes stand-out templates for success. You'll close this book with actionable insights and the tools to make change happen.

Best for: Start-ups

9. The Startup's Guide to Customer Success by Jennifer Chiang

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Even in an established business, The Startup's Guide to Customer Success is a must-read. Here You'll find insights from Chiang and included quotes and ideas from business leaders on why customer success matters.

This book offers a fresh perspective and walks through the important aspects of customer success.

What we love about it: You'll find insights from Chiang and included quotes and ideas from business leaders.

Best for: Startups leaders, CEO, VPs, and customer success teams

10. The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, and Robert M. Galford

The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, and Robert M. Galford

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The Trusted Advisor helps readers understand people and users in a digital world. Through practical and descriptive advice you'll learn how to communicate in today's busy world.

What we love: The insights in this book go far beyond the bond between a customer success representative and a customer. Here, you'll learn lessons that are transferable to all of life's relationships.

Best for: Those seeking to improve their relationships.

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

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

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Although this book focuses on customer success, The Effortless Experience shares the value of reducing friction for the customer. Readers can expect data-backed insights and practical tips on how to keep customers coming back.

What we love: Every team at your organization can benefit from reducing friction for the customer. This book keeps that core value top-of-mind for its readers.

Best for: Those seeking a new perspective on customer success.

12. Subscribed: Why the Subscription Model Will Be Your Company's Future by Tien Tzuo and Gabe Weisert

Subscribed: Why the Subscription Model Will Be Your Company's Future by Tien Tzuo, Gabe Weisert

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We can all learn from successful subscription models. This book is a great read for those starting or growing a subscription-based business. However, with its in-depth analysis of customer success, there's a lot for any customer success manager to take away and implement.

Subscribed is about being customer-focused. Tzuo and Weisert lead with examples and case studies from the real world.

What we love: Real-world examples show exactly how organizations can benefit from Tzuo's and Weisert's practical tips.

Best for: Subscription-based businesses

13. From Impossible to Inevitable: How SaaS and Other Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin

From Impossible to Inevitable: How SaaS and Other Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross, Jason Lemkin

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From Impossible to Inevitable is the definitive guide for customer success in SaaS companies. Not only will you learn how to build the right foundation for your customer success program, you'll also gain insights on how to scale your operation.

What we love: If you work at a SaaS company, this book offers lessons from real-world companies in your industry.

Best for: Customer success managers at SaaS companies

14. Chief Customer Officer 2.0: How to Build Your Customer-Driven Growth Engine by Jeanne Bliss

Chief Customer Officer 2.0: How to Build Your Customer-Driven Growth Engine by Jeanne Bliss

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Chief Customer Officer 2.0 is a must-read book for customer success managers. Bliss provides practical insights from her experience working at Fortune 500 companies. If you feel like your company has lost sight of its customers, Bliss can help you refocus.

What we love: This book offers practical guidance for those looking to level up their customer success operation.

Best for: Customer success management teams

15. The Customer Success Pioneer: the First 12 Months of Your Journey Into Growth by Kellie Lucas

The Customer Success Pioneer: the first 12 months of your journey into growth by Kellie Lucas

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In The Customer Success Pioneer, Lucas shares tips for building and running a customer success team. With the informative frameworks in this book, you have a roadmap for creating a customer success team from the ground up.

What we love: Lucas has included blueprints to follow with examples from her own experience. You'll also hear from practitioners who are in the trenches of customer success.

Best for: Startups and beginners

16. What Customers Crave by Nicholas J. Webb

What Customers Crave by Nicholas J. Webb

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What Customers Crave helps companies discover exactly what they need to do to achieve customer success. Read this book and learn how you can serve your customers. Webb focuses on both the things that customers love and what drives them away.

What we love about it: Webb's book isn't all theory. His insights are backed by examples and case studies.

Best for: Those looking to improve customer relations.

17. Never Lose A Customer Again: Turn Any Sale Into Lifelong Loyalty In 100 Days by Joey Coleman

Never Lose A Customer Again: Turn Any Sale Into Lifelong Loyalty In 100 Days

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Never Lose A Customer Again is less about sales, marketing, and the experience pre-sale. Instead, you'll dive deep into the 100-day nurturing process that takes place after a sale is made.

What we love: This book goes beyond customer success managers. Never Lose A Customer Again can benefit anyone involved in business in any capacity.

Best for: Anyone focused on reducing churn

18. Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success: Connect with Customers and Get Results by Colleen Stanley

Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success: Connect with Customers and Get Results by Colleen Stanley

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This book takes a deep dive into the emotions behind selling. You'll dive deep into abut the emotional barriers that stop you from selling and nurturing customers. With this guide, you can take a self-reflective approach to improving your customer relationships.

What we love: Emotional intelligence aids connections and understanding. It plays a vital role in both the sales process and in the rest of our lives. Stanley's effective and actionable advice can benefit you both inside and outside the office.

Best for: Those seeking to improve communications and relationships.

19. The Customer Success Professional's Handbook: How to Thrive in One of the World's Fastest Growing Careers — While Driving Growth For Your Company by Ashvin Vaidyanathan

The Customer Success Professional's Handbook: How to Thrive in One of the World's Fastest Growing Careers—While Driving Growth For Your Company by Ashvin Vaidyanathan

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The Customer Success Professional's Handbook is the definitive guide on how to build, train, and manage a CS team. Practical insights can help your organization find the right people and drive revenue.

What we love about it: In addition to advice for training and managing, Vaidyanathan explores the importance of mentorship. Managers will learn how to develop relationships with and teach those who are new to the field.

Best for: Beginners

20. The Customer Success Economy: Why Every Aspect of Your Business Model Needs A Paradigm Shift by Nick Mehta

The Customer Success Economy: Why Every Aspect of Your Business Model Needs A Paradigm Shift

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In The Customer Success Economy, Nich Mehta takes a deep dive into what really matters for businesses. This book will guide you through your customer success journey as you introduce the concept to your company and not just a team.

What we love: Mehta's focus is on embracing retention and reducing churn, essential skills for all organizations.

Best for: Customer success managers and executives

What Customer Success Book Will You Read First?

There's no denying that excellent customer success books are abundant. Where you start will depend on what you want to achieve.

For a quick overview, go for Delivering Happiness. If you're more interested in refining behaviors and conversation, opt for Emotional Intelligence. No matter what you choose, you're well on your way to leveling up.

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