Recently, I was visiting a Target. At check-out, I only had seven items so I went through the fast lane. It was quick and efficient. I was done in lightning speed.

When I was ready to gather my bags and leave, I paused to look at the long line of regular customers who were buying more than 20 items. Their lines were long and the customers had tired looks on their faces.  

Poor guys. It is tough enough to go to the store with kids when you need to buy a lot of stuff, and then to wait in line forever seems like cruel and unusual punishment.
 
That’s when the light bulb went on for me. Whoa! Each of these customers is spending at least four to five times more than what I spent in the store. They are the higher volume customers. Aren’t they more important for the store than me, and yet I got the fast checkout?

Please do not get me wrong, I appreciate the fast line for the few-item-customers like me, but shouldn’t the store treat the more valuable customers with more care?

Visualize a Target trip where you go around the aisles and work hard to find all your daily and weekly needs. Finally when you come to check out, a staff in red uniform greets you. She gently takes over the cart from you and guides you to a desk. You sit down while she gets you a bottle of water. She then starts ringing each of your items and places them in bags and then runs your credit card. She asks you if you need a 24 pack bottled water or some other household items to take home. You gladly say yes, as this may be only time in the day you will be able to take a breather and sit down. You want it to last a little longer.

Then the staff drives the cart to your car and loads everything in the trunk. As you get in the driver’s seat and buckle up, the staff softly closes the door for you and smiles. You roll down the window and thank them. The staff member just smiles at you and says “Not a problem, Mrs. Jones. You are absolutely welcome. The next time you are in the store, look for me. Either I or any of my associates would love to assist you in any way we can. Drive safe.”
 
You roll the window up.  As you leave the parking lot, you realize that you are IN LOVE.  You are in love with the red Target sign. You love Target. And you are looking forward to the next meeting.

Wow! Why can’t this happen at WalmartCostco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s, and even Home Depot? This is a customer centric Marperations model where there is no Operations or Marketing gap. Instead everything is focused on guest experience and surpassing the guest’s expectations. For a minute, forget the efficiency mantra of Operations, forget the branding preaching of Marketing; instead, be present for the customer and let him feel the love your brand has for him. 

It is that simple.