Great customer service saves the day

I looked at the clock as I finished setting up the sound equipment and taping down the last cables for the lights. It was ten minutes before 6:00, so I had a little time to spare. The wedding guests would be arriving soon, but the bride and groom would still be at least another hour. It was time for me to change into my suit.

Suddenly, I realized one of my backpacks was missing. I thought to myself, “Did I leave it in my truck?”

I ran across the parking lot as the rain poured down. My tennis shoes and the bottom of my jeans sopped up the water as I splashed through puddle after puddle. After arriving at the truck, I was disappointed to find no backpack.

It finally dawned on me that I had left it, along with my dress shoes, at home in McKinney, and I was all the way in Dallas at the Filter Building on White Rock Lake. There was certainly not enough time to go home. Should I put on my suit with my soaking wet tennis shoes and cold, damp socks? Would I have time to go shoe shopping? I decided to give Google Places a try and typed a quick search for “shoes.”

First result, no answer. Probably after hours. Second result, disconnected telephone number. Third result, athletic shoes only.

Time was ticking.

I decided to try one more store, result number four: Famous Footwear. A female clerk answered the phone in a friendly tone, and I quickly told her about my shoe emergency.

“Can you please find me a pair of black dress shoes and socks? I’m at a wedding and left mine at home,” I said.

The lady said to come to the front register when I got there. It was a few minutes after 6:00 by this point, but none of the guests had arrived yet. Would I be able to make it? I thought it was worth a try.

I told the head of catering, Megan with Celebrations, that I was going to run out for some shoes and that I would be back by 6:30 if anyone asked. I made sure the dinner music playlist was loaded up and hit the “auto pilot” button. Still soaking wet from the first trip outside, I ran back through the puddles in the parking lot, hopped in my truck, and drove as quickly as I could to the store.

Fifteen minutes later, I found the store. The clock said 6:20. There was no time to shop around; I needed to get in and get out in a hurry.

The clerk knew right away from my hurried look that I was the guy who needed the dress shoes.

“I grabbed two different pair for you,” she said as she was helping another customer check out. She handed me the two boxes, and I tried on the first pair. They looked good, and they fit!

“Do you happen to have some black dress socks?” I asked.

“Yes, I have those ready for you, too,” the lady kindly said as she smiled and handed me the socks.

“Perfect! Thank you so much! I really appreciate it,” I said while another cashier was ringing up my order and charging my credit card.

She called out good luck as I ran out of the store. Obeying as many traffic laws and speed limit signs as possible, I rushed back to the Filter Building. It was 6:40, and I hurried back inside for a quick change. There was no sign of the bride and groom yet, but about half of the guests were there mingling. I had made it in time, but just barely, and only because I had found a helpful clerk who was willing to help me out in a pinch.

Don’t we wish we could always get this kind of helpful customer service? I’m sure the shoe store clerk wasn’t getting paid a huge hourly wage, and she probably wouldn’t even get a commission from the shoe sale. But she still took the time to help me out, knowing that I had little time to spare upon arriving to the store. That’s what I call a great experience!

One of the things I always strive for is to provide an exceptional customer service experience for my clients. For me, that goes way beyond playing music and setting up lights. It means being quick to respond to voicemails and emails. It means going the extra mile to make the planning process easier for the bride and groom. And in this particular case, it meant buying a new pair of shoes, so that my clients and their guests would have no idea that I had forgotten mine at home.