Fans of the grocery store Trader Joe’s actually make the purchase of one home or another based on whether there’s a local “TJ’s” in the neighborhood. Not only that, but people without a Trader Joe’s in their neighborhood frequently (yes, I said frequently) petition local planning commissions and Trader Joe’s headquarters to put in a store near where they live – so they can have them in their lives. Talk about the power of Promoters!
For my new book, I Love You More than My Dog: Five Decisions That Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad. I wanted to prove this point. In thirty minutes of Internet-searching, I uncovered petitions from the cities of Portland, Maine; Washington, DC; Nashville, Tennessee; Palm Springs, California; and Albany, New York – begging the Trader Joe’s company to open a store in their community.
THIS is the power of Promoters! All over the internet, to friends, relatives and everyone they know, passionate customers of Trader Joe’s express love for “their” TJ’s. One blogger wrote, as she sadly moved from a locale that had a Trader Joe’s to one that did not, “Besides the ocean, what I miss most about California is my Trader Joe’s” .
Beloved companies earn the right to this type of passionate customer story, to being promoted in the marketplace and to their continued business by NEVER losing sight of their customers.
This doesn’t happen accidentally. These companies make purposeful decisions to weave customers into their lives. They know them as people, and understand their lives. At the fork in the road when they are making a decision, they know in which direction to go because they know their customers as people.
For example, at beloved company Trader Joe’s, the company put off the decision to install scanning
equipment because they didn’t want the “pinging” noise to get in the way of the chatty conversations their check out folks have with customers. These conversations fuel product development and service, and create a powerful connection with customers. It turns Trader Joe’s for their most loyal fans from a “grocery store” to my ONLY store.
Each Trader Joe’s store carries about 3,000 items compared to standard garden-variety grocery stores carrying 30,000 items. Yet in sales per square foot, Trader Joe’s is a force in the industry. It is estimated that “TJ’s” generates sales of $1,300 per square foot, DOUBLE the supermarket industry average. Customers who love them fuel this growth. Translated to Net Promoter, one ranking of retailers’ Net Promoter Scores put them near the top of the list (number two) with an NPS of 85, just beneath fellow grocery retailer Wegmans (also featured in my new book) who scored a 93.
You’ve got to know your customers’ lives to serve their lives. Then stay focused on serving them in the decisions you make to run your business. That’s how Trader Joe’s has become so beloved. And how it has stayed growing and prospering in good times and bad.
Where are you today? Would your customers choose one neighborhood or market area over another because YOU were there?
Do you have a picture of your customers in your mind’s eye as you make decisions?
This content is adapted from Jeanne’s new book, I Love You More Than My Dog: Five Decisions for Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad. Click here to download the first chapter.