Great customer experience is one of the building blocks for success. If you plan for the long term, having a solid customer experience system is a must. Victoria Meyer dives into the subject with the founder of Watermark Consulting, Jon Picoult.  Jon looks at the mechanics of customer loyalty and why what you do for them matters. We take an in-depth view of the importance of the customer experience and what you can do to enhance it.  Learn more about the ins and outs of business and building a relationship with your customers, and find success.

Watch the episode here

Listen to the podcast here

How To Make Customer Experience Work For Your Business With Jon Picoult

If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I like to talk about the importance of the customer experience and the customer journey as it relates to chemicals, B2B customers and how it drives value in loyalty. I am super excited to bring you this guest. Jon Picoult is the Founder of Watermark Consulting and author of the bestselling From Impressed To Obsessed: 12 Principles For Turning Customers and Employees into Lifelong Fans. He is an expert in helping customers and organizations, impress their customers, build loyalty, have a powerful following and create value. I am excited to have Jon here and talking about this.

Buy your copy of From Impressed to Obsessed here**

Jon, welcome to the show.

Victoria, it’s good to be here with you.

I like to go back to the beginning. What is your origin story? How did you get started in business and what got you onto this journey of customer experience?

My first exposure to the business world was selling radio ads door to door. It was back in college and the radio station at my college did not receive any university funding. It was self-supported with ad revenue. I went in one day, it was sophomore year. I wanted to be a radio DJ. I went and I said, “Can I have a show?” They were like, “Sure, but if you want anything other than the graveyard shift, you need to bring money in for the station.” That put me on the path to start selling radio ads and it turned out I was pretty good at it. I became the Sales Director of the station. I got a prime slot for my radio show, I’ll Have You Now.

It was back then that I got my first sense of customer experience. It wasn’t even a term back then. What I began to see was how all of the different interaction points that you have with a sales prospect or a customer. Even ones that might seem very subtle and insignificant have the potential to exert a very material influence on people’s likelihood to consider doing business with you, to then do business, to repurchase or to refer you to others. That was where I got my first taste of customer experience.

After college, I got my MBA. I went into the business world. I worked as an executive at a Fortune 100 financial services firm for about fifteen years. I had the fortune of rotating through a lot of different functional areas heading up sales, marketing, ops, service, distribution and even IT at one point. I found that was a unique background and where many companies go wrong is they don’t realize those functional silos are working at cross purposes and aren’t coalescing around a common vision for the customer experience.

When I had walked in the shoes of all those different functional leaders, I had always thought about starting my own consultancy. I realized that’s a unique point of view to have and that’s what led me to eventually put out my own shingle. I thought that a customer experience consultancy that’s headed by somebody who’s walked in the shoes of the head of sales, service, marketing and IT that would bring an interesting perspective to some of the challenges that the companies were facing in that arena. I formed Watermark back in 2009 and haven’t looked back since. That’s the origin story.

If you think customer experience is service, that’s looking at it too parochially. You could miss important opportunities to enhance the impression that you’re leaving on your customers.

Let’s talk about customer experience. What’s the difference between customer experience and customer service?

It’s a very important distinction to make and one of the areas where companies go wrong is they think those terms are synonymous. I would argue that nothing could be further from the truth. The way I would characterize it is like this. Customer service is one component of the end-to-end customer experience.

Customer service doesn’t encompass a whole host of interaction points, things that happen pre-sale, even during the marketing stage of getting people interested in your products or services. It doesn’t encompass point of sale and it doesn’t encompass in the B2B world, for example. It doesn’t encompass sales proposals, contracting and all of that paperwork because that’s right before anybody’s even a customer.

Customer service is this one small component and the reason that it’s important to think of customer experience more broadly is that in many industries, you could argue that if you have a significant need for customer service, it might indicate that you have a problem with your customer experience. Think of it this way. Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, “I can’t wait to call my utility. I can’t wait to call my cable company. I can’t wait to call my insurer. Maybe I can’t wait to call my chemical supplier.”

When there’s that need to reach out to that provider, in many industries, it suggests something has gone wrong upstream. Maybe the product that you gave me isn’t operating as promised. Maybe it was difficult to configure. The instructions you gave me to assemble it or to configure it weren’t good. Maybe something that was promised at the point of sale wasn’t delivered afterwards.

My point is that if you are doing things right upstream, you have the potential to preempt customer service that’s required downstream. You preempt dumb avoidable inquiries that should never be asked because you’re answering them upfront. That’s another example of why it’s important to see this distinction between customer service and customer experience. If you think customer experience is service, that’s looking at it too parochially. You could miss important opportunities to enhance the impression that you’re leaving on your customers.

Most chemical companies recognize that but they don’t necessarily articulate it in that same way. In many instances, my experience is that companies are new to thinking about customer experience as being the end-to-end relationship of what they’re doing. Therefore they sometimes think the customer experience is the responsibility of customer service and sales, as opposed to the customer experience being the responsibility of everyone across that company.

TCSP 39 | Customer Experience

Customer Experience: A customer experience consultancy that’s headed by somebody who’s walked in the shoes of the head of sales, service, marketing and IT would bring an interesting perspective to some of the challenges that the companies are facing in that arena.


I find there are a lot of companies or even salespeople who are like, “Customer service, that’s something that happens downstream. That’s not me. Those are the people on the 800 line or manning the chat line.” The customer experience begins before somebody is even a customer. It certainly falls on the shoulders of people in sales.

The other thing is customer experience as a concept that’s relevant even to those people in the organization who never have direct contact with your customers. If you think about it, the people who are interacting directly with your customers are relying on a whole host of resources behind the scenes in your company, whether it’s the IT folks, finance folks, contracting or the legal folks.

There are a whole bunch of players behind the scenes that, while they never have any direct interaction with the customer, they need to understand that their job has to deliver a great customer experience to their internal customer. If you’re not doing that, there’s no hope that the other individual in your company, your colleague is going to be able to deliver that consistently great external customer experience.

Another place where I would say many companies go wrong is they think, “Customer experience, maybe sales or service.” They never think that the legal or contracting department should be educated about customer experience and that’s pretty important considering that in a lot of highly regulated businesses, the legal and compliance folks sometimes don’t have a full appreciation of how the things that they do impact the end customer. You’re right. It has to be woven through the entire organization.

You’re passionate about this topic. What drove you to write this book, From Impressed to Obsessed? You’ve got a lot to say, but there are other ways to say it. How did the book come about?

I had the book rattling around in my head for many years because I was interested in sharing with a broader audience everything that I had learned over the years working with companies that excel at this. The real impetus for me to get the book out was because something that has long upset me is businesses subject their customers to all kinds of indignities and business leaders subject their employees, in many cases, to all kinds of indignities.

If anything, this has been exacerbated by the pandemic. By indignities, things like, you have to wait on hold in the airline industry. We hear about eight-hour holds that people are waiting to speak to a customer service agent. You think about the hidden fees and charges that are involved with a lot of companies, the “gotcha” clauses in the contracts and the inability to find somebody competent who’s willing to help you.

Within the workplace, if you think about the indignities that are exacted on employees, which of course, is now translating into the Great Resignation. You have bosses who don’t advocate for their staff, that maybe aren’t responsive to them. They don’t advocate and enable them with the skills and the tools that they need to be their best.

When you give people the gift of time and you make it effortless for them, it’s a very significant driver in their loyalty to your company.

You have all of these incivilities that surround the business world. What struck me is that there are so many simple, straightforward things that businesses and business leaders could do when they’re interacting with the constituencies they serve that can fundamentally improve the quality of the experience that’s dealt with. In many cases, it doesn’t even cost anything or it costs very little.

That’s something that always bothered me. This notion is that there is so much indignity out there in humanity but there doesn’t have to be. The book is a roadmap for people around these techniques that great companies and great leaders use to architect a great, memorable and impressive experience with anyone that you are serving.

You talk about indignities. What is it that you see as maybe the most common problem across companies as it relates to customer experience? Is there a single one that you can point to or is it a whole host of factors?

There are so many but if you wanted me to single one out, I would have to say it relates to 1 of the 12 principles covered in the book and that is the idea of making it effortless for your customers. The indignity is that many businesses don’t respect their customer’s time. If you think about it, time is people’s most valuable finite resource and as such, when you come across a company that gives you the gift of time and convenience, I would argue that it is something that spins people’s heads around because they don’t see that all the time. We live in a world that’s rife with friction, where things rarely go as people plan. It always seems to require more effort and more of my time.

I’ve got to follow up with you because you didn’t call me back when you said you would. I have to contact you because whatever you told me, your product or service was going to do, it’s not working the way I expected. You look at a company like Amazon, which I would argue has put the notion of making things effortless at the center of their entire business strategy.

One of the reasons that Amazon cultivates such intense loyalty with the customers that they target is they do give people the gift of convenience and time. People reward Amazon with their enduring loyalty as a result. There have been studies that have shown that when you give people the gift of time and you make it effortless for them, it’s a very significant driver in their loyalty to your company. If I had to pick out one indignity, I’d say that would be it. A lot of people and companies are wasting our time.

As you share that, I’m sitting here reflecting on all the inconveniences and the efforts that have been upon me. In my various business interactions, somebody said, “I’m going to call you back in an hour.” That hour passed three hours ago and some paperwork at the doctor when I was with my mother. I’m like, “I gave you all of my information. Why do I have to fill this out?” I think there’s a lot.

TCSP 39 | Customer Experience

From Impressed to Obsessed: 12 Principles for Turning Customers and Employees into Lifelong Fans

As consumers, we become almost numb to it because we are surrounded by it so often and that’s why when you come across an organization that does it, that saves you time, that makes it effortless. You could look at it and say, “Aren’t they doing the table stakes.” Many companies fail to nail those table stakes that when an organization makes it effortless for you, it catches your attention and you remember it. It is central to this whole idea of building customer experiences that aren’t nice in the moment but also forge long-term memories that drive people’s repurchase and referral behavior.

I’m going to follow this effortless line and I know this is 1 of your 12 principles. What can companies do to make things effortless? What are some of the ways that they can apply this principle?

One thing I recommend from the outset is to step into the shoes of your customer. If you can, if you’re in a business where you could pretend to be a customer anonymously by going onto a website, filling out some forms that new customers need to fill out, trying to transact things the way a customer would, that’s a very valuable exercise for any business leader. It is so easy to become insulated from what the real experience looks like when you’re sitting in your office. Getting out there and doing it yourself or observing customers as they go through it is very valuable.

With that said, though, here are a couple of examples of things that I think are very helpful techniques in terms of reducing effort. One is to look for all the situations where customers have to contact you twice. Depending on the nature of your industry, the time window that you want to look at may vary. In some industries, it might be contacting us twice within a week or maybe twice within six months. The point is, you want to look and see what are those situations where people have to contact us twice because that might be a good hunting ground for us? That might suggest that we could have done something on the first interaction that would have helped to avoid the second.

I’ll give you an example of this in the B2C world that I think all your readers will appreciate because they’ve probably experienced it themselves. Imagine that you make a change to your cable or internet service. You’re on the line with that company and they say, “Mr. Picoult, you’re all set. We’ve made that change.” Great. Hang up the phone. A few weeks later, I got my first bill after that new change had been made. I looked at the bill and I’m like, “I cannot figure this out. There are all kinds of partial charges and whatnot. It doesn’t look right.” What do I do? I called them up.

That’s a repeat contact, which you could have been avoided if, on the first call, the rep had said to me, “Mr. Picoult, your change is all set. Let me take a moment to walk you through what you’re going to see on your next bill just so you’re not surprised.” One technique is to look for those repeat contacts as a way to figure out how to reduce effort. The second idea I’d give your readers is to look for every situation where your staff needs to say the word no to your customer.

If you think about it, whenever you say no to a customer, you are, in essence creating effort in their lives because they still have a need that needs to be satisfied. Now that you’ve said no, they either have to shop around for another answer. Maybe they need to find another company or supplier that’s going to be able to meet their needs. The bottom line is you have saddled them with additional effort in their lives.

Another valuable exercise I find is for a period of time, track going out to your staff. You will say to them, “Tell me about all the times where you have to say no to a customer.” Pick those scenarios apart. There are going to be some situations that you won’t be able to mitigate. It’s got to be a no and there’s no way around it.

There might be some scenarios where you could perhaps make a tweak to a policy or a procedure that might help you to say yes before you say no. If you can start doing that, it will result in you making the customer experience a bit more effortless because you will be saying no less frequently to those customers.

When we encounter something that we don’t often encounter, it forges these long-term memories that influence our recollections and our brand perceptions of an organization.

What is interesting with some of this, Jon is if I think about some of these repeat calls that occur in the chemical industry and this has been happening for decades. It’s like, “Where’s my shipment and the invoice is wrong. I need to change my delivery date or what have you.” That takes a lot of time and people have recognized for years that it takes a lot of time.

This is where a lot of the digitization efforts have taken place. Quite candidly, the chemical industry has not been the most advanced in digital. There has been a lot of digital product progress. There are certain things that I can see and people recognize they’re easy to bring on. As they start establishing more portals, customers can come and get that information, do repeat transactions, repeat information or get old invoices, etc.

I know there’s a fear that as more things go digital, which creates a certain degree of effortlessness. Also, a bit more self-service and putting the information in their hands at their time when they want it that it commoditizes and maybe devalues some of the relationships and some of what they bring personally to that customer, business relationship or transaction. How do you counteract that? What’s your response to that?

I would not dissuade a business from creating those digital engagement opportunities because, as you know, that’s where the world is moving. That is what consumers have come to expect, even in a B2B interaction. They evaluate what they’re getting relative to that great experience they had with Amazon, Disney or Costco. There are ways to make sure that you still maintain the humanity and emotional connection even if there is a greater proportion of digital interactions. I’ll give you a few examples. There are ways that you can craft digital communications that are very nuts and bolts or you can inject some emotion in them.

If you think about a confirmation email that might be sent out after some online interaction is completed, you could imagine that confirmation email in one world, it could be very dry. It could be very matter of fact, but then in another world, it could be framed in a way that inspires confidence. That reminds the customer, “You’re all set. We’ve got you covered. For any reason, anything’s not right, this is exactly how you can contact us and we’ll get a live person right on the line with you to help you.”

Even in terms of how you structure digital communications, that can have an impact on the degree to which the digital experience won’t feel too antiseptic or lifeless, if you will. There is another suggestion that I would have, which in part is enabled by shifting more interactions to digital and that is saying yourself, “For our live service and sales reps, what should they be focusing their time on if we’re offloading some of these things.” It’s not a fait accompli to say, “We should reduce the size of our staff.”

What I would argue is that those people now are positioned to spend more and better time with those customers who need help from a live individual. Those interactions could become richer and more robust as a result. Plus, you might free up those people’s time to engage in some proactive contact. We talked about the end-to-end customer experience and how it’s more than customer service.

The customer experience includes all of those times when even your customers are not contacting you. Many companies don’t think about this. They think, “The customer experience is only when the customer chooses to engage with us.” No, you want to think about all those times when there are silent periods in your relationship with your customer and say to yourself, “How can we proactively engage those folks?” That’s another way, even in a highly digital-oriented business, where you can inject some humanity and some live interaction.

TCSP 39 | Customer Experience

Customer Experience: Whenever you say no to a customer, you are, in essence creating effort in their lives because they still have a need that needs to be satisfied. Now that you’ve said no, they have to shop around for another answer.


It’s very differentiating because people don’t expect that proactive contact, so it becomes an element of surprise, which is what the book describes as one of the memory makers. When we encounter something that we don’t often encounter, it forges these long-term memories that influence our recollections and our brand perceptions of that organization. Those are some ideas that I would give you in terms of how do you migrate to more digital experiences without sapping the life out of the entire relationship?

The other thing that certainly we’ve all encountered both from a B2B perspective, in our personal lives as consumers. In fact, I feel like it’s a new word that’s entered every person around the globe’s vocabulary is supply chain disruption. At the end of the day, when a product doesn’t show up, the supply chain is disrupted and you can’t fulfill a customer’s need, it can be problematic. There are probably some better ways for people to handle it.

I know that you’ve probably got a couple of principles. One of them I think about is finishing strong but you also talk at some point about compressing the pain. How do you see the handling? How do you recommend people approach the handling of the supply chain disruptions in a way that still supports their customer experience?

There are two principles that come to mind. The two you mentioned are relevant too but there are two I’d start with around supply chain issues. One of the principles talks about giving your customers the perception of control. This refers to a basic cognitive bias that we have where we like to have our hands on the steering wheel as human beings.

When things feel like they’re out of our control, we get very uncomfortable with the whole experience as a result. With supply chain issues, that is a situation that is ripe for making people feel like things are out of my control because if there’s ambiguity and uncertainty around when I am going to get the thing that I am looking for, it’s on backorder and whatnot. It’s akin to waiting in a line where nobody has told you how long the line is going to be.

You, as a consumer, have probably experienced this yourself. A known wait always feels better than an unknown wait. That gets to this notion of the perception of control because if you step into a line and somebody tells you, “The approximate wait from where you’re standing is five minutes.” That gives you the sense that you’ve got some control over what’s going on around you. Even though the wait not getting any shorter, you feel better about the interaction.

I would say the same is true with the supply chain in that if you do not communicate with your customers if you fail to set expectations and keep people informed. If they ever are left in the dark, that’s going to be a problem. You’re going to shoot yourself in the foot because you’re making the situation worse than it needs to be. The first suggestion I have for you is you want to be very communicative during those situations. Make sure you set expectations and even if those expectations change, you’re keeping your customer well-informed.

Make sure you set expectations and even if those expectations change, you’re keeping your customer well-informed.

The second principle that relates to the supply chain issue is the notion of being an advocate for your customer. This is one of those things that turn people’s heads around because it’s rare that they see companies advocating for the customer’s best interest as opposed to the companies. How do you advocate for people in a supply chain disruption?

There are two examples I’d give you. One is to be very thoughtful about whether there are substitute products or other alternatives that your company offers that might be able to meet the need of that customer. All because I ask you for raw material X and it’s back-ordered. It doesn’t mean the conversation has to end there. It may be there’s something else if I learn more about what you’re trying to do with raw material X. Maybe there’s something else there in my inventory that will help you.

That’s an example of me advocating for your interests, trying to figure out what’s important to you. I’m not answering the question that you asked. I’m digging a little bit deeper. That’s one way to advocate. The other way to advocate, which is going to be a little scary when I say it but there might be certain situations where it’s advisable to hook your customer up with a competitor. If there are no substitutes and nothing that you can do to help them. I would argue that it’s better to say to them, “I heard that so-and-so, that ACME Chemical over there might have some of this and perhaps you should try them. I will even give you their number.”

Some of your readers might be like, “He’s off his rocker.” What I would argue is that interaction is going to say something to your customer. It’s going to say, “They’re not in it for themselves. That was very kind of them to point me to a competitor. Even though they’ve pointed me there, I’m going to come back to Jon’s chemical company in the future because I know that they’re looking out for me and my best interests.”

Tony Hsieh, the Founder of Zappos. They’re renowned for the customer experience they provide. He was very clear with his staff. He instructed them, “If there is a product that people are looking for and Zappos doesn’t have it, help them find it at another retailer.” He understood that is going to build goodwill with the customer and they’re going to come back for more, maybe not on that particular sale. You lose that sale but you’ll win in the long run.

There’s certainly power to network and the chemical industry itself is very networked but leveraging those network relationships for the benefit of your customers can secure them for you for a longer term. That’s your example there. I know that you work with a wide variety of companies helping them with customer experience.

A lot of times, when people think about owning it and transforming it to becoming what they vision for their future and the vision that they have for their customers, it can be daunting. It can touch on many parts of the company, as we’ve already discussed. It can be costly and I have heard people say, “Who’s going to pay for this? If it’s a customer that I already have, is their new business there?” How do you make the business case for customer experience transformation?

TCSP 39 | Customer Experience

Customer Experience: Companies that don’t focus on and deliver a poor customer experience are not in for a good ride over the long term. In the short term, they might do well, but eventually, somebody figures out a better way to skin the cat, deliver a better experience to the customer, and they eat your lunch as a result.


Let me give you two answers, one at a macroeconomic and one at a microeconomic level. At a macro level, one of the things that’s in the book is a study that my firm has been doing for about a decade now, and it’s called the Watermark Consulting Customer Experience ROI Study. It was the piece of research that put me and my firm on the map originally when I first started Watermark because it was the first study that showed a connection between the quality of customer experience that a company provides and shareholder returns.

If you look at the study, the centerpiece graphic is striking. The one in the book has got thirteen years of data and if you look at the shareholder return of companies that excel and customer experience, the ones that are in raves from their customers. They outperform those companies that inspire rage by an over 3 to 1 ratio over a thirteen-year period.

Interestingly, the leaders outperformed the S&P 500 index, whereas the customer experience laggards underperformed the index. It’s not that there’s a carrot, but there’s a benefit to be gained financially from delivering a great experience. There’s a penalty exacted if you fail to deliver that experience. What company says, “We aim to lag the S&P 500. That’s a nobody’s vernacular in the business world.”

When companies talk about, “What is this going to cost?” One thing I encourage them to think about is, maybe the question isn’t what is this going to cost to improve our customer experience? Maybe the question is, what is it going to cost us if we don’t? If you look at that macroeconomic data, it suggests that companies that don’t focus on this and deliver a poor customer experience are not in for a good ride over the long-term.

In the short-term, they might be doing well, but eventually, somebody figures out a better way to skin the cat, deliver a better experience to the customer and they eat your lunch as a result. Ask Blockbuster and the entire taxi industry, two groups that were disrupted by Netflix and by Uber, of course. At a microeconomic level, what I would tell you is the thesis that a great customer experience costs more is fundamentally flawed. I don’t agree with that thesis.

There are certain types of customer experience improvements where yes, granted, it requires some investment. It might increase your cost structure overall, but there is a myriad of customer experience improvements that I would argue can lower your costs. It goes back to what we were talking about relative to the effortless experience.

If you are preempting a lot of avoidable, unnecessary interactions that your customers have with you, it’s because you’re doing things and making things effortless upfront. It’s going to put less stress on your operating infrastructure. When you’ve got less stress on your operating infrastructure, that’s going to allow you to deliver a better and more effortless experience at a lower cost.

The challenge for companies is to understand that economic calculus cuts across cost centers. For example, you mentioned invoices in the chemical industry. Everybody rips their hair out about invoices. It triggers a lot of calls and whatnot. Imagine if a company decided to invest in significantly improving the appearance, the visual appeal, as well as the content and accuracy of their invoices.

Companies need to look at customer experience ROI through a holistic lens. You can’t focus on a single cost center. You need to look at the ripple effect of the changes that you make across the organization.

Now executives might look at that and say, “That’s a net increase to our costs. We’ve got to redesign the systems. We’ve got to invest in designing the new invoices. It’s going to cost more. That’s not worth it. What are we going to get out of it?” What you have to understand is the benefits of that experienced improvement are not going to manifest themselves in the cost center where those investments are being made.

They’re going to manifest in some other cost center, maybe in another entirely different geography. It might be in a call center, for example, where they’re going to see fewer calls coming in because people are not going to have as many questions about their invoices or there aren’t going to be as many inaccuracies.

At a microeconomic level, I think that companies need to look at customer experience ROI through a holistic lens. You can’t focus on a single cost center. You need to look at the ripple effect of the changes that you make across the organization. When you do that, I would argue that in many cases, you will see that they can often be self-funding improvements.

My other perspective on this is that customer experience differentiation across companies creates value. Having a more distinct, streamlined, customer-focused customer experience can set companies apart and you can realize greater value, whether it be in royalty or in dollars, etc.

On the preempting customer context, that’s addressing the expense driver to the ROI, but what you’re referring to is another significant driver, which is a revenue driver, which can be tougher to quantify, but not impossible. You’re right because if you’re delivering that great experience, your clients are going to say things like, “It’s always so easy to work with Jon’s chemical company. Even though I know ACME has this product too and it’s even a few pennies more, I’m going to go to Jon because he’s so easy to work with. I’m going to go to Jon because he came through with me when I had that supply chain issue. He hooked me up with another firm that was able to help me out.”

In that sense, the other driver of ROI is you’re going to get referrals from your existing customers. Your existing customers are going to continue to purchase from you and research has shown that your existing customers will likely even become less price-sensitive. They’re going to be focused not on the cost of a single transaction with you, rather they will be focused on the value of the entire relationship that they have with you. That’s another driver for the ROI behind a better experience.

That fits with the poll that I conducted on LinkedIn, which is around, “Why do your customers buy from you from a B2B perspective?” Relationship was the number one reason they said, there are a lot of layers to unpeel with behind that, but I do think there’s a whole connection between customer experience and relationship. That’s not always explicitly understood and identified, but it falls into the same bucket in many ways.

TCSP 39 | Customer Experience

Customer Experience: When you’ve got less stress on your operating infrastructure, that’s going to allow you to deliver a better, more effortless experience at a lower cost.


That relationship word is so fuzzy. Relationship is the most important thing to me, it’s like, “How is that actionable? How do you forge that relationship?” People are talking about the importance of culture in an organization. It’s very nebulous how does that culture get formed? I’ll go back to the principles in the book, infusing it with emotion and advocacy. These are the building blocks of great relationships. One of the things I love about the twelve principles in the book is that it breaks the mystery, if you will, behind great relationships. How do you get there? You get there by using these experience design techniques.

Jon, I do think your book is great. In fact, it was the first book I read in 2022 and I’ve always got a stack of books. I said, “I’m tackling this one first because I’m very interested in the topic and it was fruitful. It’s great to read it and appreciate your principles on it.” Jon, this has been great talking with you. How can people find out more about your work?

The easiest way is to go to my website, which is From there, you can jump to my company’s website, to the book’s official website and you have my personal website for my keynote services and whatnot. That would be the place to go.

Thank you so much, Jon. I appreciate you joining us on the show.

Thanks. It was fun to be here with you.

Thank you everyone for reading. Keep reading, keep sharing, keep following and we will see you next time.

Today’s episode is sponsored by Palmer Holland – Are raw material supply shortages putting a strain on your production schedule? Make your job easier by partnering with the premier North American specialty chemical and fine ingredient distributor. Their team of technical and logistical experts use their intimate understanding of the marketplace to help you solve your formulation and sourcing issues. Get the support you’ve been looking for and avoid production delays. Visit to see what solutions are right for you.

Important Links:

About Jon Picoult

TCSP 39 | Customer ExperienceJon Picoult is the founder of Watermark Consulting and author of “From Impressed to Obsessed: 12 Principles for Turning Customers and Employees into Lifelong Fans” (McGraw-Hill, Nov. 2, 2021). He helps organizations impress customers and inspire employees, building powerful loyalty in both the marketplace and the workplace.

A noted authority on customer and employee experience, Jon is an acclaimed public speaker, as well as an advisor to top executives at some of the world’s foremost brands. His insights have been featured by dozens of media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, and Forbes.

Prior to establishing Watermark, Jon held senior executive roles at Fortune 100 companies. Early in his career, at the age of 29, he earned the distinction of becoming the youngest executive officer in the over 150-year history of a leading, global financial services firm. Jon received his bachelor’s degree in cognitive science from Princeton University and his M.B.A. in general management from Duke University. Follow him on Twitter or Instagram, subscribe to his monthly newsletter, or contact him at



**Affiliate income is earned from purchases.