You may have heard of a little company called Trader Joe’s. It started out as nothing more than a 7-eleven that was known for its great wine selection. Today, the company is one of the very best from a customer service standpoint. It’s been rated as such by customers throughout the Internet. Ask anyone looking for quality food products where their favorite place to shop is, and anyone with a Trader Joe’s locally is going to say this location. But, why?

The company doesn’t spend a lot of money on advertising.

The company isn’t the largest.

It definitely does not have the lowest prices on food.

In fact, it’s selection isn’t even the biggest around.

So, why do so many people long to have this store by their home? The reasons for this are as simple as great customer service.

The company’s marketing strategy focuses on improving what people think about them. In many ways, this company’s marketing plan is focused on improving the type of product, the service, and the overall experience the customer gets when he or she wants in the door. Even more interesting, this somewhat small organization is ready to reach out in online marketing, too. They use social media. They interact with customers. And, they listen to their customers.

A good example of this comes with the company’s desire to provide very high quality food products. It works hard to get those new food producers, organic products, and hard to find brands in its 400 stores. And, it does so by negotiating to get lower prices on them, too. This is due to the demand from customers. In short, the company listened when customers said they wanted organic food and gave them better access to it. When people wanted non-GMO food, a higher quality even further, the company took a stand encouraging their in-store brands to go non-GMO.

Listening to customers may not sound like a great marketing strategy. However, it is exactly what is needed if a company wants to move forward without having to slash prices to the lowest possible level or having to compete with the big guys.

Personal service, coupled with a great product or service, gets results. For Trader Joe’s, it continues to work. This still privately owned company is one that listens to its customers in order to boost its own bottom line and it is working very well for them.

Mark van Berkel is Founder and President of Hunch Manifest Inc. While managing business operations he also leads the team in designing semantic technology to provide personalized online presence and reputation management services. Prior to forming the company, he was consultant in enterprise software projects to companies including Panasonic, Shell, and General Electric and was an Architect for a world leading human capital management software-as-a-service. Mark holds a Bachelor of Information Systems from StFX University and did his graduate studies at University of Toronto, getting a MEng Industrial Information Engineering and an MBA, Strategy and Innovation from the Rotman School of Management. In 2006 he published a 170 page report as a researcher at the Semantic Technologies Lab at the University of Toronto and built a semantic technology prototype for SAP Research Labs. Connect with Mark on LinkedIn or Twitter. Mark is also certified in Google Analytics.