The Exceptional Experience Line


In every customer’s experience there is a point, a line if you will, where the customer moves from an average experience to something they view as exceptional and memorable.

The ability to engage and move customers beyond that line on a regular basis has an incredible impact on revenue, as well as customer loyalty and advocacy.

The challenge for all of us is that this line is different for every customer. The opportunity is that the Exceptional Experience Line for most customers is usually within a certain bandwidth based upon common points of references, i.e. mostly average and sub-par experiences in their everyday activities.

Why do so many companies fail to get their customer to – and beyond – the positive experience line?

It’s because most don’t try, and if they’re someone like a big-box retailer it probably doesn’t matter since they’re competing on low prices, convenient locations, and wide selection.  Any positive experience is icing on the cake.  And don’t be fooled, some of them are gunning for that line.

Unlike big-box retailers, it’s vital for specialty retailers and independent businesses to move customers to and beyond that line. Unfortunately, many fail to get their customers anywhere near the line because they’re not aiming for it.

As a regular reader of The Weekly Retail Experience, I like to think that most of you are far closer to that line than are your competitors.  Some of you are able to go beyond that line with almost every customer.

Companies that are able to surpass the line on a regular basis have the following in common:

1. They’ve trained their people to focus on exceeding every individual customer’s experience. While they may not have specifically labeled it a “line,” the line is the point where expectations have been exceeded.

2. They have specific tools and activities that, when combined, move the customer beyond the line. Those tools and activities include, but are not limited to, offering the customer a beverage or a snack, using their name, welcoming them on a regular basis, proactively offering to carry a purchase to the car, suggesting additional products that enhance the purchase, engaging their children, a follow-up phone call and a host of other things.

The key is the combination. Because every customer has different expectations and perspective, only doing one or two of them doesn’t move most customers to the line.

3. Last but not least, everyone is focused on the Exceptional Experience Line. This includes the owner or executive team, the management team, the floor staff, and the back-office support team.  Everyone!

So let me ask, are you and your entire team driven to move the customer beyond their Exceptional Experience Line?

About the author: Doug Fleener is founder of the Dynamic Experiences Group. He is a veteran retailer with more than 25 years of hands-on retail experience with world-class retailers including Bose Corporation and The Sharper Image. He has also owned and operated his own specialty stores. His new book, The Profitable Retailer: 56 surprisingly simple and effective lessons to boost your sales and profits published by Acanthus Publishing.

Doug is now president and managing partner of Dynamic Experiences Group LLC, a Lexington based retail consulting firm dedicated to helping retailers create unique customer experiences that results in higher sales and profits.  Learn more at or call Doug at 866-535-6331.

Fleener also shares his knowledge of experience based retailing in a series of custom key notes and workshops designed for stores, businesses, corporations, non-profits, and trade associations of all sizes. His casual style and quick wit make him not just a crowd pleaser but also an incredible motivator, encouraging people to take action and deliver extraordinary experiences to customers and employees alike.  Learn more at

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