Empowered Service

“I was just there to shop for new shoes,” my friend told me. “But, when I complained that the shoes I had on had were slightly coming apart at the sole, and that they were less than a year old, the guy helping me demanded that I take them off. Before I knew it, I was walking out of the store with a brand new pair of Allen Edmonds shoes. No bill. No receipt. Nothing. I was speechless.”


“Will you ever buy a pair of work shoes anywhere else?” I asked.


“No,” he replied.


Two things stand out from this story.


First, the salesperson was empowered. They didn’t have to ask a boss or a manager what they could do. They just handled the situation, going above and beyond to ensure a happy customer. Furthermore, they did not argue with my friend. What if the shoes had been put under extreme stress? Perhaps this would have been noticeable upon examination, or perhaps it did not matter. Perhaps the $350 price tag comes with insurance? Whatever the reason, this worker — who, by the way is not just a WORKER because they have power and influence, which makes them a leader, regardless of what their title is — made the decision to serve the customer! What a thought!

The second thing worth noting is the outcome of the exceptional customer service: the response from my friend that he will never buy shoes elsewhere. Isn’t this what those of us in sales dream about? Seriously, would you ever buy shoes from somewhere else if you were my friend?


Me neither.


The challenge, and what I want to work on in 2018, is empowering our team to live like this. To handle problems with exceptional service. To show that they care. That we care. And to know that they have our support as they are out there making game time decisions for the good of the customer.


It takes real trust.


And to be sure, it isn’t the only way. In fact, many companies would have told my friend how sorry they are for his experience. Some may have even offered him a discount for the next pair of shoes.

And to be sure, had that been the case, he would still be shopping around the next time he was looking for a new pair of shoes.


That’s why this story is so instructive.

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