She begins somberly. Seventy-two percent of businesses–shops, nonprofits, products, services– fail within the first three years. That’s not to say some don’t fail after that. It’s not just about time. It’s also our aptitude for customer service, knowledge of our clients, promotion and advertising, (It’s a lie that we don’t need these.) our business experience and the ability to recognize when we need help. And to pay for it.
She shares a story, a business fable, one in a series. It’s the Tale of the Green Bra. Seems Miss Fixer spies a lovely forest green bra she thinks might be fun for the upcoming holiday season. The bra is housed at a well known shop filled with secrets. The Fixer dreams of the forest green bra and must have it.
Even the mighty and powerful can be leveled by a shoe, a dress, a strand of pearls or a forest green bra. She inquires after the bra and is told they don’t have her size. She calls about in search of the foundation garment haunting her dreams and possible Christmas sexy times. She’s considering re-opening the V for the holiday season and wants all the bits properly decorated.
She connects with an associate named Shay or Shea. Not sure of the spelling. It’s not my story. Shay/Shea knows the bra and commits to a search. She peppers The Fixer with questions regarding style, size and preferences while carrying the phone about the store searching.
Fixer is so impressed by such service, she pops in to find Shay/Shea. “I left a meeting early specifically to see her. She worked that hard with me over the phone.” She’s also hoping Shay/Shea found the prized bra.
Upon arrival, she requests Shay/Shea. Since last evening Shay/Shea has pulled all manner of items for approval and escorts The Fixer hither and yon throughout the store, selling lace, sequins and comfort with nary a green bra in sight.
“She works for nine dollars an hour. I ask her if she gets commission. No. She isn’t paid to work her ass off but that’s just what she’s doing. She’s going to be so successful. She thinks ahead. She knows my size, my taste and has things put aside she thinks I might like.”
“She’s selling the whole time I’m in the store and the green bra is not there. I bought over seven hundred dollars of shit I didn’t need. None of them are the green bra. She did such a great job.” She laughs and laughs. I’d laugh too if I just bought over seven hundred dollars in fun little underthings. Pfft.
She compares this to another shop, same mall. She’s visited before. It’s new. It’s a great idea. It’s pretty. It’s inviting. Same day. She walks in, looks about, focusing in on a specific ware. Shay/Shea’s equivalent is not there. Is the shop empty? No. There are two people. Neither leaps to the ready. Eventually, one asks if she needs help. She buys nothing.
Both stores are in the same mall. Both stores probably have similar rent. One store acquires seven hundred dollars toward the rent and one gets nada. Why? Customer service. Above and beyond. In your face customer service.
“Treat someone special and nothing stands in the way of success. I’m working with Shay/Shea. I know she will find that bra. But, in the end, it has nothing to do with the bra. It is all about service.”
Lessons from today’s fable? Three things, dolls. Customer service can overcome just about any other problem. Women will go to great lengths for the right bra. And somebody at The Fixer’s house is probably gonna have a Merry Christmas.