This is a guest post from Jeanne Bliss — customer experience expert and author of “I Love You More Than My Dog.” See the original post this is adapted from and more like it on her blog.

Companies that customers love work hard not to lose their personality — not in their products, not in their service, not in anything they do.

They become beloved because of how they connect with customers in their lives. They relate personally with customers. And the beloved company’s personality comes through during any interaction with a customer.

Trader Joe’s wants to be your neighborhood store — a place where you are welcomed by people who want to have a personal relationship with you. The conversation at checkout is a critical moment of interaction. Initially Trader Joe’s resisted installing scanners as part of its checkout process.

Trader Joe’s also avoids the microphones that are often used by checkout folks to “ask for help in aisle 5.” Instead, there are bells at every checkout station. Rung for specific reasons, they represent Trader Joe’s version of Morse Code:

  • One bell lets their crew know its time to open another register.
  • Two bells signals there’s a question to be answered at the checkout.
  • Three bells calls over a manager.

This almost obsessive attention to detail is critical to Trader Joe’s in order for them to deliver on the “TJ” experience.

Trader Joe’s believes that the sales per square foot that they achieve — which yields revenues triple the square foot sales of a standard supermarket — is testament to the success of their obsession for combining product and customer service to deliver the Trader Joe’s experience.

Customers flock to the stores. What moments of customer contact are most important for you to obsess about? Do you know?

About Jeanne Bliss

As “Chief Customer Officer” for Lands’ End, Mazda, Coldwell Banker, Allstate, and Microsoft, Jeanne got “customer” on the strategic agenda, earned 98% loyalty rates, and changed experiences across 50,000-person operations. Jeanne now runs CustomerBliss to create an actionable path for profitability and business growth -- through earning customer and employee raves. Her best-selling books are Chief Customer Officer and I Love You More than My Dog: Five Decisions that Drive

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