So, in Blog #17, I talked about thinking outside the box to motivate people and improve systems. In this post I want to talk about waiting on people with foot problems and how to treat them with respect.
In the shoe business you often see many foot problems on the selling floor. It takes a person with a lot of experience to properly fit feet of this type. Equally important is to treat the customer like everyone else and not someone who is different.
One of the most common foot problems you may see on the selling floor are bunions. Bunions are caused primarily by genetics but a poorly fitting shoe, especially one that is pointy toed can also be a cause. A bunion is a bone growth on the big toe joint that makes like a large bump on the foot. They can be extremely painful or not at all but in any case it makes it harder to fit on the foot. A lace up style usually works the best with a soft leather as the upper material but if the vamp can cover the bunion and the material is soft, that can also work. Depending on where the top line of the upper rests will determine the successful fit.
Hammer toes are when the joint of the toes are “locked” in a bent fashion causing the toe to point downward. An upper with some height is the best bet here again with a softer material. These are usually caused by genetics or poorly fitting shoes.
There are many different types of amputations you might run into, the most common are toe amputations. depending on what toe it is will determine the right course of action. its always best to see a podiatrist because they can guide you into what shoe would be best for your situation. The most unusual experience I had was with an amputee who had two difference size feet because of the prosthetic. I fitted the foot first then the prosthetic next. At Rodders since it was more than 1 1/2 sizes difference, we only charged her for one shoe. As I started to fit the prosthetic she said “excuse me, this will be easier for you” she then took her leg off and I continued the fitting process. I tried to act like it wasn’t unusual as I’m sure she already had enough people staring at her as it was. We had a great time together and shared a few chuckles and I made a new personal customer.
There are many more that you may run across and we may have more in a later blog.
Being the student of the game I’ve always tried to educate myself on product and improving customer service. I would go to speaking engagements in which I would talk about how to properly fit shoes at a local school that had night group sessions for diabetics.
One time I spoke to a bunch of diabetic patients, some of which had amputations. I’ll never forget this one lady tell me that all she wanted was to be treated like everyone else. That really resonated with me that day and has stuck with me all these years. Proper fit is equally important but making the personal connection and making the customers feel at ease is the first step in building your customer base through a personal connection.
Tip: treat every customer like you would want to be treated
…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career.
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