How the Boomerang Theory Applies to Customer Retention

By on December 3, 2013 | Topics: Culture, Customer Service, Quality Control

Businesses are always looking for the formula to keep customers happy and to bring them back again and again. Dave Skogen, retired CEO of Festival Foods, recently shared his philosophy in a great book titled Boomerang. Every business decision he and his team makes has to answer the question, “Will it bring the customer back?”

Before starting Pinpoint, I had the opportunity to work for Skogen’s Festival Foods. I can honestly say this company would not exist without them. Date Check Pro was created after I saw the need for a date checking solution while working at their store. Likewise, Taskle was created after they asked us to partner with them to create a solution to help with their store walks.

In his book, Dave highlights all the elements that combine to create their culture, or “Boomerang”. Rather than repeat his words, I would like to share the top three lessons I have learned from Festival along the way. Some of these lessons are mentioned in Dave’s book, and others have grown from my own experience at Festival Foods and Pinpoint Software.

“Coaching vs. Controlling”

I am a firm believer that employee motivation comes from within. People work harder when they are driven by more than just monetary gains. When you spend time coaching your team to understand the importance of their position,  the tasks they perform and how they can impact the company, they feel a sense of purpose. They aren’t just making money anymore; they are contributing to something of value. Festival does a spectacular job coaching everyone in their organization to understand how his or her actions impact the customer experience and customer retention. They even reward employees with a gold boomerang pin when a customer goes out of their way to write to Festival about a positive experience they had with an associate. My boomerang story even made Dave’s book (pg. 193).

Hire Busy People

Festival Foods makes a point to hire students that do more than just work. They believe that extracurricular activities make us better. Whether that is time management skills, social skills, creativity, or a positive/hard-working attitude, we learn these skills from being involved. This comes with a warning though. Sometimes people can be too busy. If they are not able to commit to being a member of your team, then maybe you need to look elsewhere.

Use Recipes Instead of Rules

This blog post, and company for that matter, wouldn’t exist if Festival had a rule that date checks could only be done by spot-checking. Rules can limit creativity and stop any company from improving. Just because something is done one way today, it doesn’t mean it can’t be done better tomorrow. Employees will still have expectations placed upon them, but building a culture that promotes independent thinking will stimulate healthy growth.

crop_1378390170-210x300To purchase your own copy of Boomerang, click here.

To read an article from Progressive Grocer on Festival, click here.

To learn more about how we worked with Festival to bring Taskle to market, click here.


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