Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Trader Joe's and CSBWA

Yesterday, Shira and I were goofing around on Google Finance looking for companies to buy stock in. The drill went a bit like this: we'd think of a company who we had an especially good experience with or we thought had a good business model, and we would look them up. We would then ponder the data that came back.

While searching around we thought of Trader Joe's. We looked them up and while they aren't public, Google still had a company profile to show us. While reading through it, I was surprised to read the following:

To keep costs down, its stores have no service departments and average about 10,000 sq. ft.

Whoa - stores have no service departments? Maybe I'm not reading that correctly, but isn't that kind of surprising? When you Google around, you find that Trader Joe's has nearly fanatical customer service record (in fact, they totally rock), yet they claim to not have service departments.

When I looked around, I couldn't find any other references to this cost cutting measure. Though I could find at least one trend; TJ customer service seems to follow the classic management style: Management By Walking Around (MBWA).

In other words, TJ conducts Customer Service By Walking Around (CSBWA). They don't wait for customers to give them feedback - management is on the prowl, actively looking to address issues and assist customers.

Perhaps T-mobile, Bank of America and other big corporations could learn a thing or two from Trader Joe's strategy. I know I have.



  1. haven't i seen this post before?

  2. You did!

    I posted it previously with a notice that it was a draft version of the article. This was something I was trying out - essentially, posting the draft from my phone, and then editing it when I got to a computer.

    Only problem was, I had lots of edits and not time to do them. So I didn't want to leave the draft version out there.

    So I yanked it, and then put it back.

    Causing this confusion :-).

    Wow, you get points for paying close attention.