In The Press

Watermark Founder Jon Picoult is a widely published author who has served as a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and many other leading publications. Below are links to some of Jon’s published articles and media mentions.

Published Articles

New York Times

The Beaten Path Of A Toxic Culture

How can a toxic culture develop in a way that is diametrically opposed to everything a company's leaders supposedly say and stand for? It comes down to what management signals, not what it says.

Read whole story at The New York Times »


Duke Dialogue

What Lies Beneath

Great marketing can easily be ruined by a poor customer experience, yet the marketing of a company's brand experience typically gets far more attention than its fulfillment.

Read whole story at the Dialogue Review »


KOMO News Radio

Can An Airline Treat Customers Poorly And Still Make Money?

In this interview with Seattle's KOMO News Radio, Jon Picoult explains how airlines get a lift from a great customer experience, as evidenced by Watermark's 2017 Customer Experience ROI Study.

Listen to the interview at KOMO News Radio »


Carrier Management

Investment Returns Reveal Payoff Of Great Customer Experience For Insurers

The much theorized connection between customer experience and financial performance isn’t a purely academic concept, and can actually be observed within the insurance industry.

Read whole story at Carrier Management »


Document Strategy

Want To Enhance Your Customer Experience? Focus On The Write Stuff

The written word has a powerful but often overlooked influence on a company's customer experience.

Read whole story at Document Strategy »


Carrier Management

The One Thing Missing From Your Innovation Efforts

Many companies' innovation efforts are fundamentally misguided. Why? Because they're missing one essential ingredient.

Read whole story at Carrier Management »


Barron's

Reforming A Tone-Deaf Industry

The financial services industry is fighting proposed rules to favor the best interests of their customers. Is it any wonder that these firms have a reputation problem?

Download PDF of whole story »


Carrier Management

You Can't Advertise Your Way To A Great Customer Experience

The marketing of a company's brand promise often gets far more attention than the fulfillment of that brand promise.

Read whole story at Carrier Management »


LifeHealthPro

Why Health Insurers Make People Ill

Pay attention come open enrollment season, because health insurers put on a master class in exactly how not to treat customers.

Read whole story at LifeHealthPro.com »


Monster

What Employees Want: It Might Not Be What You Think

A new study suggests employers are out of touch with their employees. Learn how to bridge the communication gap and better engage your employees.

Read whole story at Monster.com »


LOMA-Resource

Who Owns The Customer (Experience)?

For companies that sell through intermediaries, the issue of "who owns the customer" can be a controversial topic. But the more important question is "who owns the customer experience?"

Download PDF of whole story »


Business Insider

Ryanair Has Finally Realized It Can't Treat People Terribly Forever

The company that pioneered ultra-low cost, no-hospitality air travel is encountering some turbulence with its strategy.

Read whole story at Business Insider »


Property-Casualty 360

Insurers' Greatest Missed Opportunity

Insurance providers that focus principally on claim handling are essentially resigning themselves to a mediocre customer experience.

Read whole story at Property-Casualty 360 »


New York Times

The Jobless Won't Forget Your Help

What do you, or your business, have to gain by helping the unemployed? A basic principle of brand loyalty helps explain why aiding the jobless is far more than an act of charity.

Read whole story at The New York Times »


AdvisorFocus

The Art and Science of Great Customer Experiences

Investment advisors, like any business, can stand out from the crowd with a positive and memorable client experience. Here are five principles to help achieve that differentiation in your company.

Download PDF of whole story »


Monster

Four Ways to Align Business Strategy with Customer Needs

Think you know your customers? Think again. Here are four ways to reveal unmet customer needs and shape your business strategy accordingly.

Read whole story at Monster.com »


Monster

How Do You Hire For Attitude?

"Hire for attitude, train for skill." That's the mantra at customer experience leaders like Southwest Airlines, Ritz-Carlton and Zappos – firms that have differentiated their front-line with friendly and engaging personalities. But how exactly do you hire for attitude?

Read whole story at Monster.com »


LOMA-Resource

Insurers’ Best Kept Secret

For decades, multi-line insurers have doggedly pursued the Holy Grail of their industry – getting customers to cross-purchase. Success has been elusive and a new study offers a surprising explanation why.

Download PDF of whole story »


USA Today

How Businesses Can Keep ‘Occupiers’ At Bay

Occupy Wall Street has overlooked some prominent members of the so-called 1%. And therein lies an important lesson about branding your business and engaging your customers.

Read whole story at USA Today »


National Underwriter

Insurers’ Best Kept Secret

For decades, multi-line insurers have doggedly pursued the Holy Grail of their industry – getting customers to cross-purchase. Success has been elusive and a new study offers a surprising explanation why.

Read whole story at National Underwriter »


Monster

7 Surprising Ways To Improve Your Recruiting Strategy

Learn how to put a smile on job candidates’ faces (and gain an edge in the talent wars) by delivering "pleasant surprises."

Read whole story at Monster.com »


Best's Review

Exiting Gracefully

How a multi-product company exits a business can have a huge impact on its brand. Using the insurance industry as an example, Jon Picoult provides pointers for exiting a business without abandoning your customers.

Download PDF of whole story »


Monster

Are You Sentencing Your Job Applicants To Hard Labor?

Have you considered thanking all of your recent job applicants for laboring through your hiring process? Statistics show that businesses are creating recruiting experiences that actually drive good candidates away.

Read whole story at Monster.com »


Monster

5 Things Job Candidates Are Saying Behind Your Back

The job candidate "customer experience" is notoriously devoid of basic professional courtesies and respect. Candidates won't tell potential employers about the indignities they suffer, for fear of jeopardizing their hiring chances. So what are candidates saying behind employers' backs, and what can your company do about it?

Read whole story at Monster.com »


Round the Table (RTT) magazine

Attract The Best Talent

Tired of competing for talent on the same old dimensions? Break free from traditional modes of talent competition by creating a candidate experience that sets your company apart from all others.

Download PDF of whole story »


Monster

Why Employee Retention Doesn’t Matter

If your goal is to create a highly engaged workforce - a team of people truly committed to your business' success - then don't focus on employee retention. Learn why in this provocative article.

Read whole story at Monster.com »


Wall St. Journal

Check With My Chief Of Staff

Executives want to have a good rapport with their employees, but there’s something (or, more aptly, someone) standing in the way. Learn how many managers are inadvertently driving a wedge between themselves and their staff.

Download PDF of whole story »


Monster

How To Capitalize On A Post-Recession Turnover Tsunami

When faced with the prospect of higher turnover, most companies’ knee-jerk response is to focus on strengthening employee loyalty. But there’s another side to the turnover equation that routinely gets overlooked.

Download PDF of whole story »


Inc.

How To Scare Customers

Are you afraid that your customers might disappear like ghosts? Worried that competitors might pick them off like vultures? This Halloween-themed commentary describes ten common ways that businesses inadvertently scare their customers away.

Download PDF of whole story »


National Underwriter

Why Do Customers Tune Out Insurers

With the insurance industry routinely scoring at the bottom of the pack in measures of customer engagement and corporate reputation, it’s no surprise that many consumers just disregard what insurers have to say to them. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Download PDF of whole story »


New York Times

Here Comes A Turnover Storm

A turnover storm is looming and most businesses are ill prepared for it. The Great Recession has left employees discontented and disengaged. As their pent-up frustration is released, the impact on businesses, their workforces and their customers will be pronounced.

Read whole story at The New York Times »


LOMA-Resource

The Top Five Reasons Customers Tune Out Insurers

With the insurance industry routinely scoring at the bottom of the pack in measures of customer engagement and corporate reputation, it’s no surprise that many consumers just disregard what insurers have to say to them. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Download PDF of whole story »


Business Insurance

Insurance Can Be As Engaging As Apple’s iPad

Can stodgy old insurance be as engaging as the iPad? On first blush, it sounds like a stretch… but the real answer may surprise you. Applesque customer engagement is well within the reach of insurers.

Read whole story at Business Insurance »


BRANDWEEK

What Oprah Can Teach The Boys At Goldman Sachs

There’s a curious dualism evident in how the public evaluates the fairness of compensation for Wall Street executives versus that of celebrities and sports figures. The dichotomy is rooted in basic branding issues, and highlights just how powerful personal and corporate brands can be in shaping people’s perceptions.

Download PDF of whole story »


CustomerThink

Yes, Virginia, There Is A Return On Customer Experience Investments

Some business leaders remain skeptical about the payoff on customer experience excellence, and are reticent to invest in improving their customer touchpoints. A new study by Watermark provides some compelling evidence that might just win over the skeptics.

Download PDF of whole story »


LOMA-Resource

The Perils Of Organizational A.D.D.

Ever worked in a place where organizational priorities changed as often as the weather? Welcome to the world of Organizational A.D.D., where businesses are unable to stay focused on what’s important and find themselves meandering from buzzword to buzzword. It’s a dynamic that can be tremendously jarring for employees and customers.

Download PDF of whole story »


New York Times

Networks Too Big For Their Own Good

To create a positive workplace experience, most every business aims to be a meritocracy, rewarding employees based on their accomplishments, not their connections. But there is one area where emphasis is still placed on who you know rather than what you’ve done – and it’s undermining companies’ efforts to acquire the best talent.

Read whole story at The New York Times »


DOW JONES MARKETWATCH

An Erosion Of Trust

How can financial services firms begin to regain the trust of U.S. consumers? Aligning the interests of their advisors with the customers they serve would be a step in the right direction. But industry reactions to U.S. financial regulatory reform efforts suggest that financial services firms aren’t ready for this novel idea.

Download PDF of whole story »


LOMA-Resource

My Triple-A Went Away

In a world where companies with century-old heritages of stability scramble for government assistance, in an environment where a Triple-A financial services giant comes close to insolvency virtually overnight – how will consumers judge which providers are stable and which are not?

Download PDF of whole story »


65,000 Apps and Counting

Well established companies, and their customers, are frequently brought to their knees by complex portfolios of administrative systems that have accumulated over decades of business. But there’s one company where a portfolio of 65,000 IT applications actually seems to be brightening prospects rather than weighing them down.

Download PDF of whole story »


WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT

They Are What You Call Them

Organizational labels can exert a surprisingly strong influence on employees’ perceptions about their roles and, consequently, the experience they deliver to customers. Leaders can harness the power of language to free employees from this common cognitive pitfall that could be clouding their potential – and that of the organization.

Download PDF of whole story »


PERSONAL EXCELLENCE

Your Brain’s Wiring: Asset or Liability?

Even the best leaders sometimes disregard critical information that can mean the difference between phenomenal business success or colossal failure. That’s because basic cognitive actions that help people function normally in daily life can actually be detrimental when applied in organizational contexts.

Download PDF of whole story »


Forbes

How To Do Performance Reviews Right

To build a strong customer brand, you’ve got to start with a strong employer brand. The latter can easily be undermined by poor staff development practices that foster employee cynicism rather than engagement. A common culprit – the manager who “delegates” performance reviews to his/her staff.

Read whole story at Forbes.com »


New York Times

Be Nice To Job Seekers. (They’re Shoppers, Too.)

Want happy, satisfied customers? It’s not going to happen without happy, satisfied and customer-oriented employees. You’ve got a better chance of attracting that kind of talent if your recruiting and selection process “screams” customer-orientation. Treat prospective employees as customers and the right people will take notice.

Read whole story at The New York Times »


CustomerThink

Is The “Experience Economy” Contracting Towards Irrelevance?

Differentiated customer experiences are especially important during recessionary periods, helping businesses to better weather, and bounce back, from economic downturns. Even during times of shrinking budgets, significant experience improvements can be realized with even small investments.

Read whole story at CustomerThink »


Incentive Magazine

Monte Carlo vs. Meal Tickets: Are Your Sales and Service Incentives Equitable?

Many companies invest a lot of energy (and money) into incentive programs for their sales staff, but rarely apply the same focus to service staff incentives. The resulting impact on service employee engagement and customer experience can be disastrous. But these imbalances can be remedied, often more quickly and cheaply than you might think.

Read whole story at Incentive Magazine »


Staffing Management magazine

The Forgotten Customer

If a business aims to create a distinctive experience for those with whom it interacts, the attention is nearly always focused on consumers. Many businesses invest less energy (if any time at all) thinking strategically about their employee experience. Prospective employees, in particular, are an often ignored constituency – but there are huge advantages to treating them, and impressing them, like you would a customer.

Download PDF of whole story »


National Underwriter

Flight To Quality Might Be A Bumpy Ride For Buyers

In a world where companies with century-old heritages of stability are now scrambling for government assistance, in an environment where a Triple-A financial services giant came close to insolvency virtually overnight – how will consumers judge which providers are stable and which are not?

Download PDF of whole story »


Media Mentions

The Economist

Investors Prefer Airlines With Good Customer Service

Even in the commoditized airline industry, there is value, apparently, in caring.

Read whole story at The Economist »


Car Wash Magazine

Airlines With Good Passenger Experiences Have Highest Stock Returns

A new study finds that treating airline passengers well actually pays off.

Read whole story at Los Angeles Times »


Car Wash Magazine

Technology As A Customer Experience Vehicle

The opportunities -- and limitations -- of using technology to deliver a better customer experience.

Download PDF of whole story »


Tradestreaming

What Hurricane Matthew taught us about banks and fintechs

How companies can differentiate their customer experience during stormy times.

Read whole story at Tradestreaming »


Kiplinger

How To Get A Job In Today's Market

Some firms provide such a poor employment candidate experience, they're driving away good talent.

Read whole story at Kiplinger »


NBC News

Happy Customers Are Good For Business

Watermark's Jon Picoult is interviewed about the firm's Customer Experience ROI Study.

Listen to the interview »


Today.com

Want Happy Customers? Service Is The Key

A new study shows it really does pay to be nice to your customers.

Read whole story at NBC's Today Show »


Insurance Journal

Customer Experience Makes Bigger Impact Than Policy or Claims

A great insurance customer experience is about much more than just policy features and claims handling.

Read whole story at Insurance Journal »


USA Today

The High Cost Of Great Customer Service

Great service can be costly to employees who operate in unsupportive work environments.

Read whole story at USA Today »


New York Times

Invasion Of The Annual Reviews

To rank or not to rank? What's the best way to differentiate employee performance?

Download PDF of whole story »


Premium Practice

Improving The Patient Experience

How to improve and differentiate the healthcare patient experience.

Download PDF of whole story »


Forrester Research

Customer Experience Leaders Spank Customer Experience Laggards

Forrester Research interviews Watermark Founder Jon Picoult.

Read whole story at Forrester Research »


Fast Company

Why Customer Experience Is The Only Thing That Matters

Long-term competitive differentiation will hinge on your customer experience.

Read whole story at Fast Company »


LOMA Resource

The Empowered Customer

Technology is shifting the balance of power between consumers and companies.

Download PDF of whole story »


American Express OPEN Forum

Do Campaign Signs Belong in Storefront Windows?

Do you hurt or help your brand by taking a stand on political issues?

Read whole story at the American Express OPEN Forum »


Pet Age

Customer Surveys Done Right

How to use customer surveys to drive product and service innovation.

Download PDF of whole story »


The Huffington Post

Customer Surveys: 5 Things You Need To Know

How to avoid common pitfalls when soliciting customer feedback.

Read whole story at The Huffington Post »


The Conference Board Review

Anger Management

If you really listen to your customers, maybe they won’t turn on you.

Read whole story at The Conference Board Review »


Human Resources Executive

Term Limits for Employees

A new casino rolls the dice with an unusual employment policy.

Read whole story at Human Resources Executive »


Premium Practice

Lessons To Learn From Corporate Victories and Defeats

How healthcare providers can build patient loyalty, in good times and bad.

Download PDF of whole story »


Staffing Management

The Pros and Cons of 360-Degree Feedback

The good, the bad and the ugly about 360-feedback implementations.

Download PDF of whole story »


Premium Practice Today

Another Satisfied Customer

Rx for doctors: How to turn your patients in raving fans.

Download PDF of whole story »


Inc.

How To Change Your Management Style

How do you spot and correct problems with your management style?

Read whole story at Inc. Magazine »


Wall St. Journal

Google Leads List of Desired Employers

Which employers are most appealing to young professionals and why?

Read whole story at The Wall Street Journal »


American Express OPEN Forum

Break Through Growth Barriers With Ease

How do you get your business out of a funk?

Read whole story at the American Express OPEN Forum »


American Express OPEN Forum

Reducing Employee Turnover in the Eye of a Storm

How can your business surf the turnover wave to a better place?

Read whole story at the American Express OPEN Forum »


Zengage blog

8 Ways to Ramp Up Help Desk Response Times

Turn your Help Desk into a brand asset instead of an anchor.

Read whole story at the Zengage blog »


American Express OPEN Forum

How Can You Change Your Management Style

Adapt your leadership to deliver a better employee experience.

Read whole story at the American Express OPEN Forum »


Inc.

How to Make an Employee’s First 90 Days Successful

Tips for creating a great new hire experience.

Read whole story at Inc. Magazine »