What you can learn from Clarks by always over delivering on your promises.
I had never purchased anything from a Clarks store before. I avoid retail like the plague. Amazon prime is my best friend. Seriously, why leave the house only to find it’s not in stock or the sales person has no idea what you are talking about? This is why my wife actually purchased two pairs of shoes (buy one get one 50%) from the Clarks store down at the local mall on Black Friday for me (yes, she is crazy in love, or just plain crazy). It was my Christmas present. We had stopped in another mall and tried some on one day back in the summer, my 4 year old Arizona baked sandals felt like sand paper next to these babies, so like every geek, I put it in Evernote on my wish list. I even took a photo of the size and type of the shoe from a box nearby. That was in July, come Christmas time my wife asks if I have that photo anywhere (and I did), so I sent it to her and waited for the “big surprise” on Christmas morning. Little did I know that the photo I took was for a pair of shoes a half size too small! She got me TWO pair that were too small… my fault entirely.
Anyway, fast forward to January and I’ve got two of my kids in tow to return the shows for a direct exchange, I just needed different sizes after all. In and out, simple right? When I got there the poor guy at the register was by himself, he had just made a mistake on someone’s return and had no idea how to fix it. After being there for about 40 minutes it was finally my turn and at this point my little girl was single highhandedly taking apart the store. Come to find out he didn’t have any of my size in stock (what did I tell you, Amazon all the way!) but he said he could ORDER them for me. He was about to make me pay an additional $35 dollars because the Buy One, Get One 50% off wasn’t in effect but I told him frankly my wife would kill me after being out on Black Friday to get that deal. He said “At Clarks we will do anything to make sure you are satisfied with your experience.” so he gave me the original deal.
Here’s the kicker…not only did this guy waste literally an hour of my life for something that should have taken no more than 10 minutes, he was now asking for me to take a survey. Really, he explained that it was less than 2 minutes, I would get 15% off my next order and even it the 15% off coupon expired I would still be able to get it if I just asked. He circled the URL and put his name in bold on the receipt. The crazy part was, I actually thought highly of the guy. He was trying his best, he gave me my deal and was honest and straight forward. He even went as far as to tell me that the survey was very quick and to be sure to mention him. I took the receipt and decided that I wanted to do the survey… and I probably won’t buy shoes for another four years!
The Under Promise
As I gathered my kids and was about to leave the store the guy said, “It will be about 15 days before your shoes arrive.” I was a little startled because he made such a point of it, twice. He even said that they might not arrive together (the different pairs) and to watch for the other ones. With a background in supply chain, I was a little unsure why it was going to take so long to get to me, but you never know with post holiday items. So even though I was bummed I couldn’t wear my new soft shoes tomorrow to work, I was pumped for my UPS guy to arrive in 14 days, 23 hours and 58 minutes!
So, fast forward… I came home from work, just two days after making my return at the Clarks store and what to my wondering eyes should appear? A box, about the size of a shoe box, and the word “Clarks” written on the tape. Granted I had ordered two pair, but the clerk said I might not get them together. They had officially OVER delivered on their promise of 15 days. In fact, they over delivered by 13 days. Nicely played Clarks. The next day when my second box arrived. I was personally taken back at how happy I was to have both of my shoes so quickly. Now if he had said, “We will get these two you next day air.” and then they arrived 2 days late, I would have been pissed. But that’s not how it worked. I know this trick, I do it all the time, but nonetheless, I still felt good about getting my order “sooner” than expected.