Thursday 10 January 2008

Good customer service pays off

Monday I went to a sports superstore to get some clothes as additional motivators for getting in shape. Expecting a supermarket of sports goods, I did most of the shopping by myself, getting a set of pants, some sweatshirts and eyeballing a GPS thingamajig which I set as a reward in a couple of months should I be good and reach my goals. But when I came to the shoes I actually was a bit undecided. Most of the other articles were rather straightforward. I had a clear picture of what I wanted, and the prices matched what I was willing to give. Not so much for a set of running shoes, which went from 20/30€ all the way to 120€. The adverts or informational flyers talked about how the lower priced items were for small walks or runs, once a week, in good conditions. The more expensive ones talked about competitive running, more frequently and in all conditions. So, instead of simmering over which ones I should pick, I called up on someone from the shop to ask what really was the difference and why were some marked as for once in a while jogging, and others more frequent running. To my (somewhat dumb) amazement, the clerk dropped what she was doing, and started explaining. So the whole frequency thing has to do with durability. If I'm going to run once in a while, less expensive shoes will do for a couple of years. But ramp up and those shoes last only months. Also, I should be on the look out for softer sole, which usually is better for jogging since it molds better to the motion of the foot. After fetching 3 or 4 pairs, the advantages of each were discussed, and the main points of how a set of shoes should be picked. I ended up buying the first and foremost recommendation of a brand I didn't knew about, in spite of trying both an adidas and a reebok pair. All in all, 10 minutes later and 5 pairs tried out, a client wishing to spend 30€ was convinced to spend 60€. And was happy about it. I got to try the different options, and was given good reasons for a more expensive buy from someone who was willing to spend the time to inform. The main point? Good, qualified, knowledgeable and, most of all, willing customer facing employees are worth their price, for the shop and for the client.

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