Relationships with customers are based on a series of interactions and you must strive to make each interaction with that customer, exceed that customer’s expectations. Your goal is to transition customers as people who buy from us, to advocates, people who not only buy from us, but also actively promote and support us to others.

This notion can be captured in the Customer Interaction Formula :

E – E =E

Experience (with you) - Expectations (of customer) = Evaluation

Think of a buying/selling experience that you have very low expectations. Out of 10, you expect a lowly score of 2. If however you were to actually have a moderately good, no hassle buying experience, you might score it a 6. Based on the above formula, 6 - 2 = 4. Therefore a positive experience with room to improve.

Now think of a buying experience where you have very high expectations. Out of 10, you expect an 8, but you’re actually experience is a disaster with a score of 2. Based on the above formula, 2 – 8 = -6. A negative evaluation reflecting the experience.

Let’s expand the “customer relationship bank” beyond the obvious of actual buying customers for the product or services you offer and apply it to your company teams, or even your personal life. After all, everyone you come in contact and interact with is a “customer” in a sense. Regardless of whether it is team members, family members, associates or even friends, it is about expectations. There is always going to be a high expectation you will consistently “be there” and that you are dependable, accessible, honorable and fair. Its about earning and keeping trust and support, and there is nothing more valuable than having the trust and support of your team, your family … everyone with whom you interact.

Think of each interaction as depositing goodwill in a bank. You build that goodwill bank balance with each positive interaction. When a slip up occurs, as it inevitably will, then there may be a goodwill withdrawal, but the balance does not have go to zero. Striving for positive interactions provides you with the leverage and integrity when you have to negotiate for a "withdrawal".

When you are striving to make each relationship interaction positive you are giving more, and when that is recognized by others they will give in return.


Harvey Schiller is founder and president of Corporate Kinetics, an advisory and management consulting firm that since 2002 has contributed to single owner/operated companies and multinationals in delivering extraordinary value, generating breakthrough performance and quantifiable improvement. As a speaker, Harvey has delivered many invited presentations and seminars to diverse audiences. As an academic, he has a Honors Bachelor of Science and a MBA.  He has also instructed at the universit...

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