The Customer is Always Right at Stew Leonard’s

Customer service reigns supreme at Stew Leonard’s, a micro-chain of fresh-food stores within a stone’s throw of New York City in suburban and exurban New York and Connecticut. Operating in a realm where the customer is right even when she’s wrong, this third-generation family business has blossomed from a small dairy store founded in 1969 that carried just eight items and had seven employees into a four-store operation carrying 2,000 items with annual sales of $400 million, nearly 2,000 employees and a ten-year run on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work for in America,” a who’s who of employee-centric businesses.

The stores themselves are equal parts spectator sport and foodie delight, a carefully calculated labyrinth of aisles and switchbacks designed to funnel shoppers past a cornucopia of fresh baked goods, produce, meats and fish, dairy products, deli foods, freshly prepared food and food sampling stations.

With their petting zoos, characters costumed as barnyard animals and whimsical animatronics displays, an environment that prompted The New York Times to dub it the “Disneyland of Dairy stores,” Stew Leonard’s does not lend itself to hit-and-run shopping.

“It’s like Whole Foods without the attitude,” said one longtime customer, who confessed to a $100-a-week Stew Leonard’s habit.

The Golden Rule

Stew Leonard’s secret for keeping both customers and employees happy is a monomaniacal adherence to the Golden Rule, Stew Leonard Jr., the company’s president and CEO, told BusinessNewsDaily. You have to treat other people the same way you’d like to be treated.

“Our goal is to have customers leave with a big smile on their faces,” Leonard said. “People come in the store and they’re treated like part of the family. I think that’s very important for us. It’s a competitive advantage.”

Setting that tone begins with the people you hire and how you train them and care for them, he said.

“You can’t have a happy customer unless you have happy people,” Leonard said. “It really starts there. I’d never ask anyone at the store to do something I wouldn’t do or haven’t done.”

And you have to treat your people well.

via Grocer Puts Golden Rule First | BusinessNewsDaily.com.

Strange Random Customer Service Quote:

Here is a simple but powerful rule – always give people more than what they expect to get.- Nelson Boswell

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Posted on May 3, 2012, in Article and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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