Effective Customer Service Program
If the Shoe Fits - The Soul of Customer Service

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My Aunt Virginia worked selling shoes in a downtown department store. I remember listening to adult conversation, while I played. She talked about other clerks not caring for anything other than the sale and the resulting commission.

Aunt Virginia's main concern was always the fit. She even took extra care and effort with children, allowing for proper fit as well as allowing a little room to grow. It's the concern that I remember most.

Aunt Virginia is probably the reason why I fell in love with a classic training video, The Face in the Mirror. The star of the 1947 classic training film is James Dunn, who won an Academy Award for his role in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

The Face in the Mirror tells the story of Ed, a married man, who sets out to buy his wife a chair for their anniversary and a hat for himself. He runs into a friend and they stop off at a shoe store, so his friend can buy a new pair of shoes. The friend has an argument with the shoe salesman over proper shoe size and Ed and his friend leave the store without buying.

The classic training film is too long by today's standards, but I had the film re-edited and made it into a series of vignettes. This one I called Ed and a Friend Don't Buy Shoes. I don't understand arguing with customers. You never win.

A shoe clerk helping a customer find a pair of shoes that fit and feel comfortable seems like the best illustration of a customer service program one can imagine. Provide the best shoe and the best price with the best fit, and you should have a customer for life. Ignore the fit, and argue with the customer and you lose them for life. It seems like a simple equation.

Think of your business as a shoe store. Are your customers walking away in shoes that pinch, rub and create blisters? Or are your customers walking away in comfort down a path from which they may easily return for great customer service?

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