I put my loyalty and investments into companies, products and services that I like and trust. Often this is about a personal relationship. One I trust watch my interests proactively – on my preferences. Sometimes that involves human contact, but not always.

Think about where you prefer to shop and receive your services.

  • From who did you buy your last car? Why?
  • Where do you like to get your sports equipment? Why?
  • From who did you receive your last dentist and doctor services? Why?
  • What restaurant did you last go to? Why?
  • What hotel did you last stay in? Why?
  • Where do you typically buy your groceries? Why?
  • What advisors do you use? Why?

My guess is that you have an emotional link – either with a person or a ”system” that takes care of you and your needs. Low price, high service levels, sustainability, appealing core values, additional services etc. The outperforming companies are transforming to deliver such an emotional connection through signature customer experiences. Because we know this is a major factor in developing results.

Your advanced analytics, loyalty program, great CRM and HR systems may help you to generate leads and bring the customer to the store/ your business. But how are these initiatives followed up consistently throughout the customer touch points? Are you creating the emotional connection?

I instantly fell in love with Wegmans Food Market. ”One of the best places to work” works!

Why? Not only because they have a store offer that appeals, but because the employees are shining of satisfaction and with a beyond service attitude. No doubt that the ranking of Wegmans as ”one of the best places to work” works! Their organization seems to be very well personal connected and geared towards the customer. That is the secret and success formula. And this is what differentiate the best. So easy and so hard.

The need for reinvention to serve the customer – from transactions to relationships.

In this article I describe the need for reinvention to serve the customer. I had contact with 5 different dealers to buy a car. There were extreme variations in how they took my lead on board and how they followed up. I know many companies struggling to respond to lead contacts from customers. They introduce rules on how to respond etc. so that the employees will follow up. For the truly customer relationship oriented company this will not be necessary. Do you agree?

There are plenty of other examples of good and bad company/ employees to customer emotional connections. Perhaps you have one to share?

Related blogs and articles:!!


  1. I could go on for days about this subject! Especially since my childhood was spent living and working with my parents in a family owned and operated grocery store! (You can read the rest of the story at

    I remember so vividly that my father was extremely adamant about teaching his employees and my brother and I that “THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT!” I remember this so clearly as a child. It had such an strong impact on me because I could see the intensity in my father’s actions and his eye’s that this was serious. It was crucial for his business to survive which meant that it was crucial for US to survive!

    I truly learned how and why to run a business at a young age. This was responsible for my pursuit of a Business degree and spawned my interest in Customer Behavior Sciences.
    Customer Service and the relationship to Competition in business is tightly interwoven.
    It was the Alpha and Omega of our little family business as it is to every other business world wide!

    Which gets me back on track to Inger’s blog topic! Yes, I have had many different experiences in the field of customer service that I know I experience differently that most other people because of my shaded view because of my background. With age I have really tried to moderate my EXPECTATIONS, which I think has been my salvation for survival in Norway! Sorry, I really don’t like to focus on the negatives with different cultures. I would rather learn more about the history and evolution of the Merchant/Customer relationship and with this try to either ride out the growing pains or offer working solutions.

    Unfortunately, I recently experience a terrible customer service episode with, online book store. I have been hesitant about writing on my blog about the experience before I could offer sound suggestions for the company to make changes and improvements.



    Basically, the short version of my story is that advertised a book set but only deliver one book(of course the cheapest of the two!) This experience is a good example of a totally unacceptable business practice and lack of focus on Customer Service.

    -I tried calling, writing two emails that were mysteriously never received and calling three more times before a negotiation was considered by the retailer. I took screen shots of their webpage where the product was described and outlined the situation in emails. I was told by two different “customer service” assistants that it was an understandable misunderstanding from my side and I was encouraged to purchase the additional book! At this point I lost every form of tolerance for cultural differences and EXPECTATIONS. The retailer had crossed a line of ethical business practices that I was not prepared to tolerate. I was insulted as a customer. Yes, it was personal! I felt like the retailer was dishonest and was trying to cheat the customers. At that time while on the phone with the second assistant, (now I had changed over from my attempt to speak in Norwegian to English) and I unsympathetically unleashed a wrath of unethical business practice accusations. Their website was misleading, dishonest and an illegal misrepresentation of advertising. I realized that this company was not accustomed to any form of deviations or exceptions to their standard business practice. But as a customer acting in good faith, I was not able to accept their vision or lack there of Customer Service as viable option. Long story short, I was left with no other option than to negotiate my way to get at least one of the two text books that I had supposedly already purchased!

    Ironically at the same time I was experiencing the battle of Customer Service with, they had just launched a TV campaign touting their focus on their Customer Service department! “HA! Put your money where your mouth is!”

    At the end of my negotiation telephone conversation, I suggested that make an investment into a responsible Web editor that could monitor the credibility of the content on their website. Do you think that is too much to ask for companies operation on web based sales?

    I would love to continue this discussion and further investigation of the topic “Evolution of Marketing”. I remember the pivotal influence in my pursuit of a business education after my first class in Marketing when introduced to Philip Kotler’s text book, “Principles of Marketing”(now in it’s 13th edition!!!). I loved the idea and science behind why consumers make the purchasing choices that we do. The book covered the concept and the history of marketing evolution in the U.S. and commented that most other countries were several years behind the U.S. in the process.

    Luckily I reflected on this phenomena when I first moved to Norway 26 years ago and I am now amazed at the steep learning curved that Norway has had to endure to evolve into a modern internet and web competitive sales environment. Think about the amount of change this small isolated market has been impacted with the influence created by the world wide web!

    Internet marketing and social media are an undeniable accelerator of change in the business world and the impact is proving to be to the advantage of the voice of customer. So yes, it is there is a shift in paradigm to from transactions to personal experiences!

    Let me know if you have any input of the following subjects! Some interesting future topics should be:

    Customer Service OR Customer Rights and/or Expectations?

    The evolution of Marketing and benefits of Competition?


  2. THANK YOU so much for sharing your interesting background from your truly customer centric business in the US and your story as a shopper here in Norway, Kim. Hopefully the right leaders see your story so they are able to correct this error. Companies that do not respond to customer concerns will not be in business very long. I think your reflection on EXPECTATIONS was interesting. My extraordinary good shopping experience with among others Wegmans Food Market in the US gave me a feeling of emotional connection that I do not experience so often here in Norway. I do not believe we should lower our expectations, but support and buy from the businesses that we like. Continue to execute our customer power! YES – the fact is that our open world will accelerate strengthening of the good and not so good, and hopefully we will experience great improvements in the years to come.


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