Speech Topics

Jon Picoult's keynotes don’t just educate and inspire, they transform -- helping you to look at your business through an entirely new lens.

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The Art and Science of a Great Customer Experience

If you’re aspiring to satisfy your customers, then you’re aspiring to mediocrity.  That’s the fascinating premise behind this keynote, and it will fundamentally change how you think about creating a successful, beloved business.

Jon explains why building customer loyalty requires not just satisfying customers, but impressing them – forging indelible memories that drive repurchase and referral behavior, the lifeblood of any thriving business.

With fascinating case studies and engaging stories, he reveals the 12 proven, science-based principles that legendary companies use to create truly impressive brand experiences – the kind that turn more sales prospects into customers, and more customers into lifelong fans.

Whether you serve external or internal customers, you’ll emerge from this program with specific, actionable ideas for turning your organization’s customer experience into its greatest competitive advantage.

Topics typically covered in this program include:

  • What great companies know about the difference between customer experience (CX) and customer service.
  • How great experiences boost financial results and accelerate business growth.
  • The current state of CX in the marketplace and the competitive opportunity it implies.
  • The link between a company’s employee experience and its customer experience.
  • The 12 time-tested principles used by legendary companies to differentiate their CX.
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Lead For Loyalty: A Great Customer Experience Starts With You

A great customer experience is like a beautifully choregraphed performance.  As with any performance, an important part of this one involves what goes on backstage – in the work environment and with the leaders who shape it.

In this insightful keynote, Jon explains how organizational leaders, via their own personal behaviors and the workplace constructs they create, have an unparalleled opportunity to encourage customer-focused behaviors throughout their workforce.

Topics typically covered in this program include:

  • What it takes to create a workplace environment that fosters CX excellence.
  • How “backstage” CX components, invisible to the customer, nonetheless influence CX quality.
  • Why organizational leaders should be focusing on their “Personal Net Promoter Score.”
  • Why the employee experience is about much more than just perks and benefits.
  • The simple gestures leaders can use to mobilize their workforce around customer experience.
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An “A” For Effortless

Lots of companies fly the “easy to do business with” banner.  Few ever actually fulfill that promise, as most consumers can attest.  In this fascinating talk, Jon Picoult will challenge your audience to raise the bar – showing them how to make it not just easy for customers to do business… but effortless.

Using eye-opening statistics and amusing real-world examples, Jon explains why an effortless customer experience is such a rare and powerful competitive differentiator.  

Topics typically covered in this program include:

  • What bad “customer effort” is and why it saps brand loyalty.
  • How you can detect drivers of bad customer effort, in sales and service interactions.
  • Why it costs less to deliver an effortless customer experience.
  • How you can create a more effortless experience – quickly and cost efficiently.
  • The critical connection between “employee effort” and “customer effort.”
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The Cognitive Science Behind A Great Customer Experience

The key to delivering a great customer experience?  It’s all in your head!

That’s because creating a great impression on customers isn’t just about shaping their experiences, it’s about shaping their memories.

Legendary companies like Amazon, Costco, Disney and Southwest all leverage cognitive science to influence how their customers perceive and remember their experiences.

In this program, Jon describes how companies can capitalize on cognitive science to create a stronger, more memorable customer experience.  From improving sales close rates to building positive word-of-mouth to enhancing employee engagement – you’ll find the principles outlined in this program to be invaluable.

Topics typically covered in this program include:

  • How memories are formed and then shape customer perceptions about your business.
  • Why some business brands inspire intense consumer appeal, while others fall flat.
  • How customers can be satisfied – even if your customer experience is far from perfect.
  • How service failure can turn everyday customers into loyal brand advocates.
  • How common cognitive biases can be turned into competitive business advantages.
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From Great Recession to Great Cessation: How To Strengthen Customer Loyalty During Difficult Times

In 2008-09, during the height of the Great Recession – a time when the U.S. economy was in a meltdown and every auto manufacturer was seeing their sales plummet – Hyundai Motors increased its market share by a remarkable 40%.

Starbucks, a company that lost over half its market value during that same economic downturn, emerged from the recession stronger than ever, delivering shareholder returns that were six times greater than that of the S&P 500 index.

These are just two examples of companies that skillfully leveraged Customer Experience principles to not just survive a period of crisis, but to thrive in the aftermath.  It’s a strategy that has even greater relevance today, after entire economies hit the “pause” button in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now face the prospect of an economic recession.

In this fascinating program, Jon reveals how smart companies strengthen customer loyalty even during the most challenging times.  It’s an insightful talk, filled with actionable ideas that will help your organization weather an economic downturn and emerge stronger on the other side.

Topics typically covered in this program include:

  • What historical data tells us about how CX-leading companies perform during downturns.
  • Why a great CX helps insulate companies from the worst effects of a recession.
  • The importance of addressing customers’ emotional (not just rational) needs during crises.
  • The remarkable impact of customer advocacy during emotionally-charged times.
  • How to cultivate game-changing customer insight that helps drive CX innovation.
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Grow Your Business “On Purpose”

Many businesses focus on what they do, but fewer focus on why they do it.  In this presentation, Jon opens people’s eyes to the powerful concept of a purpose-driven brand – that is, an organization whose “reason for being” goes well beyond the traditional measures of success (e.g., creating shareholder value or growing revenues).

The purpose-driven approach has worked exceptionally well for companies spanning a variety of industries – Patagonia, USAA, and Southwest Airlines among them.

This program includes mini case studies of those organizations and others which have established a compelling brand purpose that engages customers and employees alike.

Topics typically covered in this program include:

  • What is “purpose” and how does it differ from “mission”?
  • Why is purpose so vital – to leaders, employees and customers.
  • Why is purpose good for business?
  • How should an organization go about defining its purpose?
  • The “5 D’s” – essential principles for creating and fulfilling a purpose-driven brand.
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The Forgotten Customer: A New Perspective On Winning The War For Talent

Many businesses are routinely ignoring one of their most important customers.  As a result, they’re not only tarnishing their brand, but they’re also losing the war for talent.  Learn how you can turn administrative recruiting touchpoints into persuasive marketing opportunities that draw talented people into your organization.

Based on Jon Picoult’s popular New York Times feature, this presentation offers a compelling case for viewing employment candidates as customers.  The program also highlights the often overlooked connection between job applicants and actual customers, demonstrating how recruiting interactions can influence your company’s brand and shape consumer perceptions.

Topics typically covered in this program include:

  • Why the “applicant experience” is broader and more influential than you think.
  • Why talent acquisition is a business like any other – product, provider and customer.
  • What job applicants think of companies’ current recruiting experiences.
  • What companies have to gain from a great applicant experience.
  • How customer experience management principles can be applied to the recruiting arena.
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Lessons From The Apocoflix: Navigating People Through Change

In 2011, Netflix announced a price increase and a spin-off of its DVD rental business.  Customers revolted, leaving in droves.  The company’s stock price fell by over 75%.  In this fun and interactive program, Jon uses the Netflix debacle to illustrate key principles for successfully navigating customers and employees through significant change.

Topics typically covered in this program include:

  • Why people typically reject change.
  • Twelve essential strategies for helping people embrace change.
  • How to inspire people to change, rather than force them through it.
  • How personal leadership behaviors can remove obstacles to change.
  • The importance of “choreographing” the change experience.
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