Want to Stand Out? Read From Impressed to Obsessed


Get practical advice on how to improve customer experiences and get them to choose you every time regardless of price.

From Impressed to Obsessed

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We all want to create the kind of experiences that turn customers into fans and fans into recommenders and brand ambassadors.

So did author Jon Picoult.

Picoult is the founder of Watermark Consulting a customer experience firm that helps large companies impress customers and inspire employees to create raving fans.

In the book “From Impressed to Obsessed: 12 Principles for Turning Customers and Employees into Lifelong Fans” Picoult uses cognitive science to explain the psychology behind great customer experiences.

Great Examples for Well Known Brands – But What About Small Business?

The question is, how do we, as small business owners with not enough time and even less money for massive marketing campaigns make that happen?

While this book is not written about small businesses or for small businesses, per se, I’ve decided to review it because it offers small businesses a blueprint for what they can do NOW, while they are still small and nimble to instill that killer customer experience they crave.

The 12 Principles of Customer Experience

The entire purpose of the book is to deliver the 12 Principles of Customer Experience. The first three sections of the book are dedicated to setting up the 12 Principles. Section Four delves into each one in detail and the final section ties it up in a bow with a call to action for you to start impressing your customers.

customer journey map from obsessed to impressed book review

To help you visualize what Picoult is talking about in these 12 principles, I pulled this image from my review copy of the book. This represents the customer journey for a doctor’s office. It’s one of the few small business examples I found and I think it’s a perfect representation of how Picoult wants you to think about these principles.

You’ll see this graphic make a comeback in example after example. It’s a simple and brilliant way to map out your customer’s experience as they travel through your operation.

Let’s jump right into the meat of the book; the 12 principles of a great customer experience and how small businesses can adapt this strategy for themselves.

  1. Create Peaks and Avoid Valleys: where can your customers get “impatient” or bored? In what ways can you improve that experience?
  2. Finish Strong: Look for ways to make your customer’s last experience with you a good one.
  3. Make it Effortless: Create a seamless way for customers to experience your product or service – eliminate any barriers to joy.
  4. Keep it Simple: Get rid of overwhelming choices or complexity.
  5. Stir Emotion: Make your customers feel special.
  6. Give the Perception of Control: Help your customers choose how they experience your process.
  7. Be an Advocate: Don’t be afraid of taking a stand — for your customer.
  8. Create Relevance: Uncover what really matters to the customer and deliver on it.
  9. Pay Attention to Details: It’s the invisible little things that make the difference. Pay attention to the customers’ sensory experience.
  10. Personalize the Experience: Personalization goes beyond knowing a name or birthday. In what ways. can you make every single customer feel seen and heard?
  11. Deliver Pleasant Surprises: Surprises are memory makers. Look for ways that you can do mundane things differently.
  12. Recover with Style: Stuff happens — it’s bound to. And, when it does, embrace the error, make it right.

A word of warning regarding this list.

As you read this book and take in the many corporate examples here, I want you to realize that this is a list of ways to create amazing experiences. Don’t think that you can do ALL of these. Instead, read through the list and see which ONE of these is a good fit for your small business. Then, look for opportunities to incorporate it into your process.

Who should read this book and why

When I first picked up the book, I was excited about what I might learn. Then, when I saw the examples were mostly large brands, my enthusiasm waned. But wait! As I kept reading, I realized that what the author was bringing up was MORE than applicable for small business owners.

In fact, the smaller your business, the easier it’s going to be for you to pick at least one of these customer experience principles and use it in your business!

This book is a brilliant and useful read for entrepreneurs of all stripes whether your goal is to scale big, or stay small and exclusive.

If you’ve been struggling with how to differentiate your business — this will help.

Final Thoughts

One of the ways a judge a book is by how my opinion changes as I read through it. Does it provide an experience for the reader? And, when it comes to “From Impressed to Obsessed“, I have to say it delivers.

I thought I was going to read a book designed to promote a consulting company, I discovered a logical and understandable read that will reignite a small business oowner’s imagination.

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Image: amazon

Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."