great service from Robinson's Outdoor Store

How Robinson’s Outdoor Store Hikes Service Success

It’s always nice to hear a GOOD customer service story, and this time it’s Robinson’s Outdoor Store’s turn. 

The nature of customer service experience feedback is it’s typically negative. This is true for two reasons: 

1) people typically are inspired to action by negative emotion. There’s a reason there are complaint departments and not praise departments. 

2) customer service experiences typically don’t “wow” us. They’re either OK, or blah, but not really worth the extra attention. 

So when I get someone approaching me to share good vibes about their recent interaction with a company, big or small, I have to give it some consideration and space. Nancy Wood, from Victoria, BC, tweeted at me that she had a story to tell. And tell it she does…

“My 91-year-old father needed a new pair of waterproof shoes. After traipsing through a few big box stores, where I tried to take on the role of shoe expert (because they are impossible to find in most big stores), we left with no shoes.

Dad was exhausted. I had to convince him to make one more stop – at Robinson’s Outdoor Store. Convince? The big stores, bright lights, loud music and lack of knowledgeable staff and terrible seating had worn him down to that point. I convinced him that we would get the service we needed at Robinsons. I had found the staff in previous visits, to be friendly, knowledgeable, helpful and not pushy.

In spite of an uncomfortable seating arrangement, I got Dad settled and, quite quickly, we confidently left with new shoes. Dad suffered a bit of sticker shock (not unusual for someone of his age), but he knew the shoes were superior quality and fit. He did what the salesperson suggested – walked around indoors for a period of time before wearing the shoes outside. The next day he wore his shoes outdoors to play a few holes of golf. Within a few minutes, one shoe seemed to be rubbing on his ankle. He retied the shoe, no relief – so one of his golfing buddies placed a piece of cardboard in the shoe and so it went. The shoe was not right or the shape of his foot was not compatible with the shoe.

I checked the shoe and there was nothing obvious to me, so he wore them again – same issue. I knew they had to go back and I knew they were now wet, grassy muddy and not likely to be returnable.

I emailed Robinson’s (as an aside, something I would recommend to anyone who has a customer service issue) to outline the problem ahead of arriving at the store with my father who cannot stand for more than a few minutes. They were back to me the next day with a very pleasant email (which was copied to the store owner) to encourage us to come in and they would handle an exchange or refund or whatever was required.

Off we went the next day to the store. My heart sank when I heard that my two contacts were not there and no one knew of my email note. I was a bit frustrated at having to explain the story again, but it did not seem to matter because the staff at Robinson’s is empowered to do the right thing. In this case it was to ensure the customer had a pair of shoes that worked. And they did that with a smile and the reassurance that if there was another problem, they were there to help.

Kudos to Robinson’s Outdoor Store. Though their target market is definitely younger, and very active, they gave my elderly, rather in-active father the time of day. Never was he made to feel that it was his problem. And as the daughter who is often his “representative,” that experience made my day and has solidified my endorsement of Robinson’s.”

Thanks Nancy for sharing that story. Usually the best way to understand how good or bad a company’s customer service is, is to see how they handle complaints or faulty products. Though there could have been better communication within the company around that email, the staff were able to quickly resolve the issue…and Nancy and her father left happy and singing the store’s praises. Sounds like a win. 

Have a great customer service story to share? Let me know.


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