4 CX Principles from Jon Picoult to Turn Customers into Lifelong Fans

“I think the most successful chief customer officers are the ones who realize their job is to make heroes of other people,” says Jon Picoult, founder of Watermark Consulting and author of From Impressed to Obsessed: 12 Principles for Turning Customers and Employees into Lifelong Fans.

I recently interviewed Jon on LinkedIn, and we discuss why he was motivated to write this book. As an expert who has decades of CX practitioner experience, he shares that he was tired of seeing “businesses subject customers to all sorts of indignities.”

Jon says, “If you look at it, for many businesses, it’s less about enriching people’s lives and more about sucking the life out of them. Not being responsive, not advocating for employees, not developing them, all of these things, the things that you’re seeing are triggering the great resignation. And what bothered me is that I knew there were so many simple, straightforward things that businesses and business leaders could do that would help eliminate those indignities that would inject greater humanity into both the workplace and the marketplace.”

As Jon mentions, there is an intrinsic connection between shareholder value and the quality of customer experience—which has been proven via the results of his firm’s Customer Experience ROI Study. With learnings from these yearly studies and his own experience as a practitioner and advisor, Jon encourages leaders to think through a customer-first lens for business growth.

Listen to the episode to hear him share examples of how some companies have utilized a few of these principles and learn how you can benefit from them as well.

Simplify to Improve CX

Jon mentions that businesses seem to have a knack for creating complexity over simplicity. Too often, bureaucracy takes precedent over experimenting and trying new methods of operations. Processes become over thought and over engineered. Jon mentions that as a business leader who’s implementing CX change, it’s important to tackle low-hanging fruit problems. Execute easy wins to start building credibility around your efforts to improve business growth through customer experience.

Create Memory-Shaping Ideas

“How people remember their experiences with a business is arguably more important than the experience itself,” says Jon. “You need to do more than simply satisfy people. You need to leave an indelible impression in their head that will cultivate the repurchase and referral behavior. That’s really the lifeblood of any business.” 

How people remember their experiences with a business is arguably more important than the experience itself. ––@JonPicoult #CustomerExperience #CustExp Share on X

Give People the Perception of Control

“If you just give people the sense that they have control over the experience they’re going through, then they immediately feel better about the encounter,” Jon shares. When you enable people with the power to be in control of their situation, and you give them communication, then the power doesn’t feel so out of balance. He goes on to say that it’s why a known wait in line always feels better than an unknown wait. As customers, we tend to have a better experience with a call center when we have an estimated wait time while on hold, along with the opportunity to hang up and receive a call back. 

Finish Strong

According to Jon, “the last thing that happens to us exerts a disproportionate influence of our overall impression of an experience. For example, it’s why a lawyer’s closing argument is so important; it’s why a fireworks display finishes with an awe inspiring finale; it’s why a decadent dessert comes at the end of the meal. It’s all about these strong endings, because it helps eclipse any negativity that might have occurred earlier in the experience.”

These were just a few of the principles Jon touched on in our conversation, but I encourage you to check out his book to understand the value of all 12 principles. “While they are universal principles of customer experience design, they don’t need to be applied universally. Meaning that you can decide what it is you want to be famous for as a company. And that’s going to help you choose which principles to accentuate, and it’s entirely okay if you’re not using all of them.” says Jon. 

The last thing that happens to us exerts a disproportionate influence of our overall impression of an experience. When it comes to #CX, you need to finish strong. ––Jon Picoult #CustomerExperience Share on X

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?

Jon says:

“Not everyone can be convinced about the value of a great customer experience. That is what I wish I knew, then. There are some business leaders and some businesses that simply don’t have it in them to grasp the value of customer experience, except on the most superficial level. You know, these are companies and leaders for whom customer experience is corporate window dressing, it’s something that makes for just good Annual Report copy. And I think that it’s an important thing to know. Because in all of my work, I have found that the number one predictor of success for any kind of customer experience transformation is genuine, sustained executive commitment.”

About Jon Picoult JonPicoult

In addition to being the founder of Watermark Consulting, Jon is an advisor to CEOs, an acclaimed author, and keynote speaker. He helps companies invest in creating fans that drive business growth. Jon’s insights have been featured in media outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, and Forbes.com, where he is a contributor.

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