Good service counts even when you’re running

So how to mix a blog post on running and customer service…

I ran the London Marathon last week with the orthotics I had from the physio back in December last year in my shoes.  They gave more support in the Adizero shoes than without and by all accounts corrected the way my feet hit the ground.  They’re made by a company called Vectorthotics and clearly say on the package that if you are planning at doing any strenuous or endurance activities, the block bits should be glued on with more solid cement glue stuff.  Mine weren’t but they had held through all (or most) of the training runs and I’d had one pair already glued again by our local Timpson shop in Twickenham.

When it (the small blue block in the middle) has come loose before, you know it has as it clicks in the shoe a bit and you can hear it.  But I guess the noise of the other runners and crowd last weekend and total concentration on getting round, meant I had no chance to hear it, as it came off (and ended up towards the toes – maybe that’s why I didn’t run as fast as I had hoped… LOL).

So I needed to visit the shoe shop again and get them to glue it back on.  When I did this last time, they just did it, with a big smile and said don’t worry about paying, just put some money in the charity box they had in the shop.  Fantastic.  I’ll come back with service like this – we’d come back anyway as we’ve used them lots over the years and they’re good.  I ran in last Saturday early afternoon and the same guy was in and I asked the same question, if he could glue it on.  No questions asked he just did it.  And again no charge – just money in the box for charity.  It happened to be a rugby day on Saturday with a big Army and Navy game on at Twickenham Stadium and I got chatting to another customer in the shop (whilst we waited).  As I was chatting and waiting I noticed some signs on the walls in the shop.  One fine example below…

With a sign up like this from the company chairman, you know the service is going to be very good.  There are other similar signs up around the store, all saying it’s all about service and making sure they do right by you the customer.  And the same in all their stores.  I popped back today to take the photo and asked the guy before I did and explained why – and he smiled!

For me this is a huge statement, the guys in the shop are totally empowered to do what they need to to make it right.  And have the ok from the top to do so – no need to phone head office to check.  Make a decision there and then, to make sure the customer is happy.

This is unlike many other companies I know of who give the front line staff no empowerment and need everything run by the next level or two up.  Even for small things.  This does my head in – such a waste of time and effort on everyone’s part and 9 times out of 10, you get annoyed customers all the same.  Do we really need to check with HQ or the bosses boss if someone wants to bring a small item back for a few pounds or dollars and doesn’t have the receipt, it’s unopened and clearly from that shop?  No.  Think of the cost of checking and delays.  And the experience the customer is having.  Not good and as the customer you think twice about using them again.

Apple and Amazon are both great at customer service, and shining beacons for others to follow, and everyone knows they are good which is a huge huge part of what makes them so successful.  They are big and yes they have the money to do it properly but it’s not all about that, so it’s nice to see the little shops doing as good here.  Sure Timpson are a global chain but the shops are small and typically with one member of staff in – and ones you might not think of as leaders in customer service and customer experience – but Timpson do it very very well.  Thanks for the great service, we will be back.  And I’ve just discovered they even do a mystery shopper programme and you can sign up on the front page on the web site.  Nothing to hide.  Nice one!

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