Before I proceed with the article, I'd like to mention that I was interviewed for a site called Dose Of Leadership by a guy named Richard Rierson and it was turned into a podcast which, if you're interested, you can listen to here on the topic, of course, leadership. He also reads the blog; how great is that? 🙂

This past Saturday I went across town to a place called Fleet Feet. It's an apparel store mainly for runners, which I'm not, but they also sell running shoes that support feet and that's where my podiatrist sent me to buy new sneakers.

I walked in and was immediately greeted by someone who asked me my name to put on a list. She said a shoe associate would be with me fairly soon; how often does that happen to people when they go to buy shoes? The place was packed though, and I'm not sure if it was because of the shoes or because they were signing people up for some race, but there were lots of people buying shoes as well.

When it was finally my turn the lady came to me and knew my name and asked me to come with her to sit in the shoe area. She then proceeded to talk to me about shoes and feet. She asked me a few questions, then asked me to remove not only the shoes I was wearing but also my socks.

Once done, she took my feet and felt around each of them. She then asked me to lift my leg by the knee, shake my leg, put my foot down and then stand up so she could see what my arches did (I have flat feet, though they look fine to me lol). After we did that she had me go behind the bench and walk for her so she could see what my feet did while walking. When that was over I sat down and she took that metal thing they use to measure feet (turns out it's called a brannock) and measured my feet, unencumbered with my socks. That's not a normal occurrence for me either.

She then went off to find me sneakers, and after about 10 minutes she reappeared with 3 types. The first I dismissed right off because they were green (I hate green & don't own anything green other than money). The second pair, which you see in the picture, were wonderful; red is my favorite color and I never mentioned that to her. I tried them on and they felt pretty good. She had me walk in a straight track they had in a different part of the store to see what I thought and I said they felt fine but I probably needed an insert for more cushion. Before we did that I tried on the last pair of shoes and they were too tight around the front of my foot; we had a winner with the red pair.

She went to get the insert and put it in my shoe, and it felt wonderful; just what I wanted. As she was putting everything back together, because this place takes the inserts and shaves them so they'll fit perfectly in the shoe, she told me her story of how she'd come to the store a few years ago, went through the same process, got a pair of sneakers that felt great, and decided to start working out towards running a marathon, which this store promotes, and since that day she'd lost 86 pounds and had run 73 marathons; wow!

She took me up to the front so I could pay for my shoes and wished me well with them. As she left I thought about the entire experience, something pretty new to me. I was there 45 minutes being pampered and talked to and tested and fitted with just what I needed. Sunday I went for a walk at the park and when it was over my feet felt great; just what I needed.

In thinking about things, I realized that it was the customer service, the over-attention to detail, and calming way she proceeded through everything, the professionalism, and how she touched me personally that made a major impact on me.

That's how business should be run. That's how every leader should want those who work for them to interact with their customers. That's how everyone should hope the people who work for them feel. And that's why I know I'll be going back there when I need another pair of sneakers; wouldn't you?

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