Book review

The five best books for better digital CX


Digital experiences are more important than ever. And one of the best sources of advice for perfecting digital CX comes from the analogue world: books.

1st Jul 2021

Since COVID-19 turned the digital shift into a tidal wave, it’s become clear exceptional online experiences will be more improtant than ever from here on.

Not only has the last year brought rapidly accelerated ecommerce penetration — now at 95% across Europe — but more customers are also going digital for wider services; with global businesses seeing a 20% spike in online-only users over the past six months alone. Whatever their sector, developing smarter ways of seizing and sustaining the attention of hyper-connected consumers is therefore crucial for all companies.

As well as keeping track of complex multichannel journeys, they’ll need a robust game plan for delivering seamless interactions that’s rooted in deep strategic understanding, and one of the best founts for such knowledge still stems from the analogue world: books.

Here are my top ticks for the titles every digital CX strategist should be reading:

Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web (and Mobile) Usability

By Steve Krug


What places this book at number one isn’t simply a highly visual nature that makes for easy consumption; it’s the emphasis on user-centricity. Building sites around user activity is the basic foundation of good web experience; and as the title suggests, an integral part of that is minimising thinking time by ensuring effortless, speedy navigation. Quotes such as “we don’t read pages, we scan them” are now familiar soundbites, but Krug’s guide offers as much value today as it did when first launched in 2005 and revised for the mobile age in 2014.

For strategists focused on driving conversion rate optimisation, designers and developers alike, this is a bible about how to move away from their standard perspectives and practices and create high-converting experiences by adopting user-friendly principles.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

BY Daniel Kahneman

thinking fast

Alongside streamlining user interaction, understanding the mechanics behind it is paramount to maximise outcomes. That’s why the next essential title is a work by Nobel-prize-winning author, Daniel Kahneman, which explains the two main types of human thought process: fast and frequently instinctive, or slow and calculated. Investigating how we reach decisions, this book sheds light on the complexities of choice — and the unconscious tendency to link new information with existing patterns that means customers aren’t always unpredictable.

As a deep yet accessible dive into our cognitive engines, Kahneman’s exploration of the way judgements are made gives a fascinating insight into everyday habits and judgements; crucial learning for those hoping to influence them effectively.

Behavioral Economics: The Basics

By Philip Corr and Anke Plagnol


Just because decision-making procedures are mappable, doesn’t necessarily mean they follow logical pathways. Providing a revolutionary rethink on behavioural economics, book three is vital reading to challenge the outmoded — and misguided — assumption that the actions customers take will largely be based on their personal finances, instead of feelings. In fact, Philip Corr and Anke Plagnol challenge neoclassical teachings that people are typically compelled by the need to improve their situation, overlooking the huge importance of emotion.

Showing finances aren’t always the principal purchase motivator, the alternative view on what really inspires customers will equip strategies with a clearer picture of how to cultivate more meaningful experiences, connections and greater long-term gains.

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

By Dan Ariely 2009


Staying with the theme of human fallibility, my penultimate recommendation investigates our problem of persistent missteps. Penned by former professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Dan Areily, this look at irrational choices highlights that they are often the result of falling down familiar and detrimental decision tracks. Most usefully, the book also explains how to break free from negative cycles by not only recognising them in motion and changing direction, but also shifting how choice drivers are defined and perceived.

In a climate where positive experience and customer satisfaction is king, the application here is clear; leveraging knowledge of how poor decisions can occur to ensure customers can make better, fulfilling choices and keep coming back for more.

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

By Nir Eyal


Last but not least is about making product-use habits routine. As outlined by Nir Eyal, buying can become automatic to the point that customers don’t need prompting or enticing offers; if businesses deploy the right tactics. To be specific, adopting the ‘hook up’ model — including its four core tenants of Trigger, Action, Investment and Variable Reward — will enable strategists to stimulate regular purchasing habits through mutually beneficial experiences, with continual wins on the customer side powering ongoing sales and loyalty.

Of course, Eyal’s approach isn’t an instant recipe for sustained conversions. But by fixing their sights on consistent positive reinforcement and remaining flexible, companies can tap this model to secure the most desirable goal of all: high customer lifetime value.

It’s no coincidence that books are regularly cited as integral to the success of many well-known business leaders: with constant learning comes rich knowledge. Take Warren Buffet, the “Oracle of Omaha” who purportedly powers through six newspapers every morning and has credited endless appetite for books as the key to his success. While reading might not make everyone a multi-billionaire, the knowledge it provides will fuel better insights into customer behaviour, ideas and decisions about how to align with it, and ultimately, results.

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