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I got it! The secret to keep customers coming back - you'll love this idea

I got it! The secret to keep customers coming back - you'll love this idea

April 05, 2010

Want customers who come back to you again and again?

Sure you do. We all do.

But how? That's the $64,000 question.

Because if it was simply a matter of giving your customers what they want or need when they want or need it, we'd all have customers for life. But that's not the case.

So how do you get customers to come back again and again?

Stew Leonard's built the world's largest Dairy Store by creating a culture where customers' are treated to a fun, entertaining experience. No wonder they come back again and again.

Before I give you the answer let me tell you about a small dairy farm in Norwalk, Conn. Stew Leonard started the farm in 1969 and has grown to become the world's largest dairy store and one of the most innovative grocery stores in the industry. They're also the largest distributor of Purdue chicken in America, selling more chicken per square foot than anyone else.

Check out what else they do:

> Children can watch milk being processed in its own plant. They can also enjoy the costumed characters roaming the aisles, play in the petting zoo and check out the Farm Fresh Five – a group of animatronics featuring Rich Milk on lead vocals singing such hits as “Fresh – Fresh – Fresh” or “We Wanna Be Your Friends.” The New York Times dubbed Stew Leonard’s the “Disneyland of Dairy Stores.”

> Employees are treated to a fully-stocked refrigerator as well as to holiday parties and beach extravaganzas making it a Fortune Magazine 100 Best Company to Work for year after year. It’s slogan: “You can’t have a great place to shop without FIRST making it a great place to work.”

> An entire section of the company’s website features “Fun & Activities” with a video clip of the “Naked Cowboy” singing about Stew Leonard’s Naked (organic) Beef in New York’s Times Square as well as recipes from the store’s executive chef and viewers can log into it the famous “Cow Cam” where you can watch its cows live as they graze in the fields.

So how did Stew Leonard’s, a small dairy farm in a suburb of Connecticut, become the largest dairy store in the world?

They created a store and a culture built on making sure their customers enjoy the “experience” of shopping at Stew Leonard’s. In fact, Stew Leonard’s is so focused on their customers they have just 2 rules etched in stone:

Rule 1: The customer is always right. 
Rule 2: If the customer is ever wrong read Rule 1.

Do you think customers feel comfortable shopping at Stew Leonard’s. You bet they do! 
Let me ask you: Do your customers enjoy doing business with you?


Don't show up to dinner at the Trail Dust Steakhouse in Texas with a tie! They'll cut it off!! The restaurant wants customers to relax and enjoy themselves and cutting off a tie is just part of the fun.

Make doing business with you fun and you’ll create customers for life.

That’s exactly what they did at the Trail Dust Steakhouse Restaurant in Arlington, Texas where you don’t dare walk in wearing a necktie. Why? Because the host will pull out a pair of scissors and cut your tie in half. Really!!

I can just hear the mumbling and grumbling when the idea was first mentioned in a staff meeting: “But some people won’t like it … What if the customer doesn’t let us cut the tie? … Won’t some people be offended?”

You bet they will. Not every customer will like it and that’s just fine. The owners were willing to take a stand. Customers love it! They even have some who wear their ugliest neckties just so the host at Trail Dust Steakhouse can cut it off! Customers love it!

To be successful, you’ll have to push some people away and in doing so you’ll attract the customers you really want to have come back again and again.

Go ahead and stick your neck out and make the experience fun for your customers.

Create a Big Zig (a big bold brand that makes you stand out so while your competitors are zagging in the market, you can zig) and your profits will climb as a result. The world has enough “me-too’s” already.

Take a risk. Make it fun. And get noticed!

Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,


Jon Goldman