Today’s interview is with Jon Picoult is founder of Watermark Consulting, a leading customer experience advisory firm, and author of a new book: FROM IMPRESSED TO OBSESSED: 12 Principles for Turning Customers and Employees into Lifelong Fans. Jon joins me today to talk about the book, the most universal problem in customer experience today, why customer experience is like a choreographed performance, the biggest mistake companies make when embarking on a customer experience improvement effort and the ROI of customer experience.
This interview follows on from my recent interview – Customer purchasing decisions are increasingly being driven by their values – Interview with Alan Williams — and is number 407 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.
Here’s the highlights of my chat with Jon:
- Jon and Watermark Consulting are well known for producing a widely cited ROI of customer experience study.
- To create real sustainable competitive advantage, you can’t just rely on satisfying the people that you work with, you need to impress them. You need to leave an indelible positive impression in their minds that makes them excited to work with you again and to tell others about you.
- Forging those impressions is really an exercise in shaping people’s perceptions and memories.
- Many companies don’t pay enough attention to the internal customer experience.
- Many companies neglect to appreciate the wide spectrum of touch points and interactions that really comprise their customer experience, many of which they might view as being almost administrative in nature. Yet, they actually exert a very material influence on people’s perceptions about about the business.
- You need to go out into the wild and you need to observe your customer in their natural habitat.
- Very often game changing insights that you can get from going into the wild and observing customers are things that customers would never even think to tell you because they just sort of become accustomed and habituated to them.
- I think it’s helpful to think about the customer experience equation as having an on stage component and a backstage component.
- A really good example of that and how the two elements interplay is the incident with Dr. David Dao and United Airlines a few years ago.
- Examples of some of the principles in the book:
- Finishing strong – this about the importance of how you finish and is grounded in the cognitive science principle called the recency bias, which basically means that the stuff that happens to us at the end of an experience exerts a disproportionate influence over our overall perceptions of the experience.
- Example: Alaska Airlines’ 25 minute baggage guarantee.
- Give people the perception of control – even though people might not be in control of whatever experience they’re going through if you give them the sense that they are in control, they will automatically feel better about the experience, even if you don’t change anything about the underlying experience.
- Example: Giving people the choice of which arm they would like to have blood drawn from led to people reporting having a much more favorable experience giving blood, including reporting experiencing less pain. It’s all about setting people’s expectations upfront. And, merely by setting expectations, you actually give people the perception of control because it removes ambiguity from the encounter.
- Frontline staff are arguably the people who are most knowledgeable about what delights customers and what frustrates them.
- We need to prepare for a world where both customers and employees are increasingly empowered and emboldened because across any industry,there is this inexorable march toward a state where there is greater and freer flow of information among customers and employees.
- There’s going to be increased flexibility for customers to engage with businesses on their desired terms often involving cutting out a middleman.
- In a world like that you can’t mandate engagement and loyalty. You have to earn it one day at a time by delivering such exceptional value to the people that you serve that they wouldn’t ever dream of shifting their business elsewhere or quitting and going to work for another company.
- Jon’s Punk CX word: Contrarian.
- Jon’s Punk CX brand: T-Mobile in the US.
Jon Picoult is founder of Watermark Consulting, a leading customer experience advisory firm that helps companies impress customers and inspire employees, creating raving fans who drive business growth. Princeton-trained in cognitive science, Picoult has advised the C-suite at some of the world’s top companies, such as Allstate, AT&T, and Becton Dickinson. His insights have been featured by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, The Economist, Inc., NBC News and Forbes.com (where he’s a regular contributor). Picoult has headlined events around the world, sharing his customer experience philosophies. His landmark research on the ROI of customer experience is one of the industry’s most widely cited studies.
Check out Watermark Consulting, Jon’s new book: FROM IMPRESSED TO OBSESSED: 12 Principles for Turning Customers and Employees into Lifelong Fans, say Hi to him on Twitter @JonPicoult and feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn here.
Image by TanteTati from Pixabay