Saturday, February 17, 2007
Customer Service, from the ground up
ORN: Thursday: 3 miles, 3/1, no pain.
Youngest son Matt and I spent a frigid Friday touring Wheaton College in suburban Chicago. A really neat school, it will be interesting to see how his thinking develops as he makes his college decision.
With my part of the tour over by mid-afternoon Friday and Matt spending the night in a dorm with two guys he knows from home, I had some time on my hands. In a post last week, I asked WADDLING about running stores near Wheaton. She pointed me to the Naperville Running Company. And, wow, what a cool place.
I called ahead and asked if someone was there who could talk to me intelligently about overpronation and motion-control shoes. He laughed and just told me to come on down; “We’re all runners here!” I changed into running shorts and sweats, made the 20 minute drive and walked in, two old pairs of shoes under my arm. John sat with me and we talked running for quite a while before we ever looked at shoes. He went over my old shoes with a vengeance, picking out detail on tread wear like a CSI agent. The shoes told a tale of overpronation more nuanced than I would ever have thought. From there we went through several pairs of shoes and sizes. Other customers came and went; I only asked John to not rush me and he was happy to let me be mellow.
I got well acquainted with their treadmill as I tried out one pair then another. John suggested I compare shoes at the same time, one on the right, one on the left. It was very instructive. He watched carefully, at floor level, to get a read on my pronation tendencies. As we worked, he observed a tendency for my right foot to overpronate more than my left. Could that explain my right ITB being injured while my left one is fine?
In all, I spent an hour in their store and walked out with a pair of Brooks Beast shoes. They felt terrific, clearly moved my foot roll away from my big toe and out to my middle toe.
Isn’t it amazing to get great customer service? Michelle reported this week on her similarly positive experience buying new shoes. As a business person, it is fascinating to me to see how such customer service can change a commodity purchase (shoes) into a memorable experience (my shoes will work and promote health). For the stores’ sakes, though, how do they replicate this? How do they promote it? This is the type of stuff I think about while I run.
How will it work on the road? We’ll see. But, wow, what a great way to buy a shoe.