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CX books

The best customer experience, data and design books of 2022


A look at 15 of the best customer experience management books and what makes them so special. 

23rd Nov 2022
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During the last six years, I have read a LOT of books - and every year I’ve compiled a list of the best of them for you.

Here are the top 15 books I've read in 2022, plus three extra books I read during the year, in no particular order:

Empathy In Action: How to Deliver Great Customer Experiences at Scale, by Tony Bates and Dr. Natalie Petouhoff. 

EmpathyA practical book to help your organisation become better in empathy – a key pillar of successful customer experience. A bold new look at how technology can become a force multiplier to deliver more empathy and integrate deeper, more personalised human connections into everyday business interactions at scale. While the world has never needed more empathy than today, too often technology is used by businesses as a substitute and a barrier to real human connection. We’ve all experienced dumb chatbots, automated scripts and poor employee interactions that dehumanises customer interactions. >> Buy the book

Pharma Customer Experience: 20 Secrets to 10X Your CX & Boost Patient Outcomes, by Sean McDade. 

pharmaAs a diabetic type one, I was curious about what books are out there about patient experience and this was a really good read. Pharma Customer Experience reveals 20 secrets that pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are using today to connect emotionally with their customers - both patients and healthcare professionals. In an increasingly competitive environment, it’s no longer enough for pharma to develop drugs and technologies that treat, cure, or relieve the symptoms of disease. To be truly customer-centric - building long-term, reliable customer relationships - pharma must learn to treat patients and healthcare professionals the way hotels treat their guests. Discover how pharma companies can differentiate themselves through exceptional customer experience - helping patients understand available support services, explaining what to expect from clinical trials, making it easy to onboard onto new medications, and much, much more. >> Buy the book

Exposing the Magic of Design: A Practitioner’s Guide to the Methods and Theory of Synthesis (Human Technology Interaction Series), by Jon Kolko. 

magic of designAs the world grows increasingly complex - in issues of sustainability, culture, and technology - businesses and governments are searching for a form of problem solving that can effectively respond to unprecedented levels of ambiguity and disorder. Traditional “linear thinking” has been disparaged by the popular media as being inadequate for dealing with the global economic crisis. Traditional forms of marketing and product development have been rejected by businesses that need to find new ways of staying competitive in a global economy. Yet little has been offered as an alternative. It is not enough to demand that someone “be more innovative” without offering the tools to succeed. This book offers a way of thinking about complicated, multifaceted problems with a repeatable degree of success. Design synthesis methods can be applied in business to produce new and compelling products and services, or these methods can be applied in government with the goal of changing culture and bettering society. In both contexts, there is a need for timely and aggressive action. This text is intended to act as a practitioner’s guide to using the magic of design to solve complex problems. >> Buy the book

The Customer-Base Audit: The First Step on the Journey to Customer Centricity, by Peter Fader, Bruce G. S. Hardie and Michael Ross. 

CX AuditAs a leader in your organisation, you will be very familiar with your businesses' key financial statements and monthly management reports. You may have spent countless hours discussing budgets and expenditures. But how much time have you spent reflecting on the fact that these revenues are generated by actual customers - the people who pull out their wallets and pay for your products and services? In The Customer-Base Audit: The First Step on the Journey to Customer Centricity, experts Peter Fader, Bruce Hardie, and Michael Ross start you on the path toward really getting to understand your customers’ buying behaviour as well as the health of your overall customer base. >> Buy the book

Connected Strategy: Building Continuous Customer Relationships for Competitive Advantage, by Nicolaj Siggelkow and Christian Terwiesch. 

ConnectedThis book is much more than its title and will help you think differently. What if there were a way to turn occasional, sporadic transactions with customers into long-term, continuous relationships - while simultaneously driving dramatic improvements in operational efficiency? What if you could break your existing trade-offs between superior customer experience and low cost? This is the promise of a connected strategy. New forms of connectivity - involving frequent, low-friction, customized interactions - mean that companies can now anticipate customer needs as they arise, or even before. Simultaneously, enabled by these technologies, companies can create new business models that deliver more value to customers. Connected strategies are win-win: customers get a dramatically improved experience, while companies boost operational efficiency. >> Buy the book

Journey To Centricity: A customer-centric framework for the era of stakeholder capitalism, by the amazing Ilenia Vidili.

JourneyComing from Sardine, Italy, this is a great read on understanding what is customer-centricity. Managers and leaders know that customer centricity means providing positive customer experiences. But what if that’s not enough in the 21st century? In the current age, where Millennials and Generation Z are shaping the very fabric of society and business, to remain relevant, organisations must provide more than occasional good experiences. A narrow focus on short-termism, excessive tech automatisation and outdated product mentalities are a liability to customer-centricity. We need businesses that are willing to radically change, embrace a long-term, customer-focussed perspective, and are able to create value for all stakeholders. >> Buy the book

Do B2B Better: Drive Growth Through Game-Changing Customer Experience, by Jim Tincher. 

B2BI read this book in three days, it’s so engaging. It’s a very valuable read on B2B and offers great ideas. The book provides the wisdom and tools to show business-to-business (B2B) organisations how to build and sustain superior customer experience (CX) as a core business activity. Any business leader knows that customer loyalty is the key to a thriving business. But what if your customer is another business? Consistent research shows that most B2B companies lag behind their B2C counterparts in customer experience, primarily because of the increased complexity in serving businesses over individual consumers. Do B2B Better is a call to action for business-to-business (and B2B2C) organisations to improve their customer experience strategy, leveraging a powerful model called the CX Loyalty Flywheel. From interviews with hundreds of CX leaders, Jim Tincher shares stories of how B2B companies have implemented successful CX programmes, including Dow, Hagerty, and UKG. Discover what sets top performers apart from the competition and learn how to deliver exceptional experiences - and bottom-line results - for your organisation. >> Buy the book

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell. 

BlinkIt’s an old book, but don’t let that deter you. It’s excellent, and will help you to understand perceptions. (I loved it so much that I read it in 24 hours.) This book redefined how we understand the world around us. Now, in Blink, he revolutionises the way we understand the world within. Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant-in the blink of an eye-that actually aren’t as simple as they seem. Why are some people brilliant decision-makers, while others are consistently inept? Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up stumbling into error? How do our brains really work-in the office, in the classroom, in the kitchen, and in the bedroom? And why are the best decisions often those that are impossible to explain to others? In Blink we meet the psychologist who has learned to predict whether a marriage will last, based on a few minutes of observing a couple; the tennis coach who knows when a player will double-fault before the racket even makes contact with the ball; the antiquities experts who recognise a fake at a glance. Here, too, are great failures of “blink”: the election of Warren Harding; “New Coke”; and the shooting of Amadou Diallo by police. Blink reveals that great decision makers aren’t those who process the most information or spend the most time deliberating, but those who have perfected the art of “thin-slicing”- filtering the very few factors that matter from an overwhelming number of variables. >> Buy the book

Customer Focus – It Depends on the Ands: 42 Principles for Successful Digitalization Projects, by Christian Peter. 

DependsAn excellent read about the so-called digitalisation and transformation, by someone that really knows it. Digitalisation is the buzzword on everyone’s lips. The intensity, speed and volume of the process are increasing dynamically. Yet – how do you do it right? What principles apply for successful, customer-focused digitalization projects? What are the factors that really matter? What role and tasks will you need to take on within your company? In the 42 chapters of this book, Christian Peter provides you with practical and proven principles for successful digitalisation projects. They comprehensively examine all of the crucial dimensions, from the right mindset to the right people and partners, from issues critical to success to effective action. It’s not heavy on theory and light on practice, but specific, tangible and grounded in today’s realities. You can start right away. >> Buy the book

Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life, by Adam Greenfield. 

RadicalGreat read demonstrating that everywhere we turn, a startling new device promises to transfigure our lives. But at what cost? In this urgent and revelatory excavation of our Information Age, leading technology thinker Adam Greenfield forces us to reconsider our relationship with the networked objects, services and spaces that define us. It is time to re-evaluate the Silicon Valley consensus determining the future. We already depend on the smartphone to navigate every aspect of our existence. We’re told that innovations - from augmented-reality interfaces and virtual assistants to autonomous delivery drones and self-driving cars - will make life easier, more convenient and more productive. 3D printing promises unprecedented control over the form and distribution of matter, while the Blockchain stands to revolutionise everything from the recording and exchange of value to the way we organize the mundane realities of the day to day. And, all the while, fiendishly complex algorithms are operating quietly in the background, reshaping the economy, transforming the fundamental terms of our politics and even redefining what it means to be human. >> Buy the book

How Customers Buy… & Why They Don’t: Mapping and Managing the Buying Journey DNA, by Martyn R. Lewis. 

CustomersThe author has some compelling arguments that instead of focusing on companies’ own internal view of how to position and sell their offerings, they must look to the external reality of how their customers actually buy. Essentially blowing away the threadbare notion that customers buy because of the value they see in an offering. Lewis unveils a profound new business model that rests on his pioneering concept of Outside-In Revenue Generation. He shows that vendors are too often trying to solve the wrong problem because time and time again, customers actually do “get it”, they understand the offering and truly believe in its value, and yet they still hesitate or fail to buy. From his transformational decoding of the Buying Journey DNA through to the robustly practical Market Engagement Strategy, Lewis shows that for those whose success and livelihood depends upon  positive revenue generation, the only rational course of action is to map, manage and positively influence the end-to-end customer buying journey. >> Buy the book

The Economics of Data, Analytics, and Digital Transformation: The theorems, laws, and empowerments to guide your organization’s digital transformation, by Bill Schmarzo. 

TransformationBuild a continuously learning and adapting organisation that can extract increasing levels of business, customer and operational value from the malgamation of data and advanced analytics such as AI and Machine Learning Key Features. Master the Big Data Business Model Maturity Index methodology to transition to a value-driven organisational mindset. Acquire implementable knowledge on digital transformation through eight practical laws, and explore the economics behind digital assets (data and analytics) that appreciate in value when constructed and deployed correctly. In today’s digital era, every organisation has data, but just possessing enormous amounts of data is not a sufficient market discriminator. The Economics of Data, Analytics, and Digital Transformation aims to provide actionable insights into the real market discriminators, including an organisation’s data-fuelled analytics products that inspire innovation, deliver insights, help make practical decisions, generate value, and produce mission success for the enterprise. >> Buy the book

The Customer-Driven Playbook: Converting Customer Feedback into Successful Products, by Travis Lowdermilk and Jessica Rich. 

PlaybookDespite the wide acceptance of Lean approaches and customer-development strategies, many product teams still have difficulty putting these principles into meaningful action. That is where The Customer-Driven Playbook comes in. This practical guide provides a complete end-to-end process that will help you understand customers, identify their problems, conceptualise new ideas, and create fantastic products. To build successful products, you need to continually test your assumptions about your customers and the products you build. This book shows team leads, researchers, designers and managers how to use the Hypothesis Progression Framework (HPF) to formulate, experiment with, and make sense of critical customer and product assumptions at every stage. >> Buy the book

Product Research Rules: Nine Foundational Rules for Product Teams to Run Accurate Research That Delivers Actionable Insight, by C. Todd Lombardo and Aras Bilgen. 

Product researchDigital product research doesn’t have to be difficult, take a long time, or cost a lot of money. Nor should it be a job solely for scientists or expert researchers. In this practical book, Aras Bilgen, C. Todd Lombardo, and Michael Connors demonstrate how your entire team can conduct effective product research within a couple of weeks–easily, cheaply and without compromising quality. >> Buy the book link


Employee Experience by Design: How to Create an Effective EX for Competitive Advantage, by Emma Bridger and Belinda Gannaway. 

DesignIn a world adapting to continuous change and disruption, delivering a great employee experience is vital. How can organizations create an experience that enables their people to thrive; an experience that unlocks productivity and creates competitive advantage? Employee Experience by Design is a practical guide for HR professionals, business leaders and anyone needing to create an employee experience that empowers people to perform at their best. By setting out simple steps that any team or organisation can follow, it demystifies EX, and shows how to design an exceptional experience for employees. Drawing on positive psychology, the book demonstrates what a good workplace experience means for people. A world away from perks and benefits, the authors show how to discover what really drives an excellent EX. They then walk through a user-friendly framework covering all levels of EX, from organisational culture to people processes and everyday behaviours. Employee Experience by Design shows how to build a robust business case for employee experience and align EX activity with organizational strategy to demonstrate impact. Readers will also learn how to measure EX and demonstrate return on investment. Packed with clear and practical tips, tools, and examples from organizations including ING, Expedia Group and ADEO, this book is essential reading for anyone looking to develop a happy, productive, high-performing environment in which people can excel. >> Buy the book

Extra Business Books:

Bottlenecks: Aligning UX Design with User Psychology, by by David C. C. Evans.

BottlenecksLearn the psychological constrictions of attention, perception, memory, disposition, motivation, and social influence that determine whether customers will be receptive to your digital innovations.

Bottlenecks: Aligning UX Design with User Psychology fills a need for entrepreneurs, designers, and marketing professionals in the application of foundational psychology to user-experience design. The first generation of books on the topic focused on web pages and cognitive psychology. This book covers apps, social media, in-car infotainment, and multiplayer video games, and it explores the crucial roles played by behaviorism, development, personality and social psychology. Author David Evans is an experimental psychology Ph.D. and senior manager of consumer research at Microsoft who recounts high-stakes case studies in which behavioral theory aligned digital designs with the bottlenecks in human nature to the benefit of users and businesses alike. >> Buy the book

Irresistible: The Seven Secrets of the World’s Most Enduring, Employee-Focused Organizations, by Josh Bersin. 

IrresistableThis leadership book, renowned industry analyst Josh Bersin, introduces a new way to think about organisational design, employee engagement, and employee development. Distilled from decades of research and management theory into seven practical yet profound management principles, Bersin outlines how business leaders can create enduring companies that thrive with improved customer satisfaction, employee retention, and business agility. Leaders have an outsized impact on culture, engagement, and productivity. Irresistible helps leaders at all levels understand how to scale a business through a new organization model – the “network of teams.”  Bersin’s model emphasises that effective companies operate as networks, not hierarchies. When focused leadership empowers small teams, the result is increased speed, agility, and traction – along with a sense of purpose, mission, and clarity of roles. Irresistible businesses grow faster, they’re more profitable, and they innovate and lead their markets. Most importantly, their employees, customers, and stakeholders are drawn to them like magnets. >> Buy the book

Testing Business Ideas: A Field Guide for Rapid Experimentation, by David J. Bland and Alexander Osterwalder.

TestingA practical guide to effective business model testing7 out of 10 new products fail to deliver on expectations. Testing Business Ideas aims to reverse that statistic. In the tradition of Alex Osterwalder’s global bestseller Business Model Generation, this practical guide contains a library of hands-on techniques for rapidly testing new business ideas. Testing Business Ideas explains how systematically testing business ideas dramatically reduces the risk and increases the likelihood of success for any new venture or business project. It builds on the internationally popular Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas by integrating Assumptions Mapping and other powerful lean startup-style experiments.Testing Business Ideas uses an engaging four-colour format to:

  • Increase the success of any venture and decrease the risk of wasting time, money, and resources on bad ideas
  • Close the knowledge gap between strategy and experimentation/validation
  • Identify and test your key business assumptions with the Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas 

>> Buy the book

The New Leadership Playbook: Being human whilst successfully delivering accelerated results, by Andrew Bryant. 

LeadershipBeing an effective leader or manager in a post-pandemic world goes beyond being good at what you do; it requires balancing empathy with accountability.The New Leadership Playbook provides a practical guide to being human and understanding people, whilst simultaneously driving for accelerated results. It does this by sharing principles that work, and plays to achieve success.Written for the new or seasoned manager by a coach and c-suite advisor who has worked with some of the best leaders and teams, this is a book that you will not only read more than once; you will want each of your team to read it. >> Buy the book.

This article adapted from a piece originally published on the Eglobalis blog



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