3 Great Lessons in Customer Experience From Clarks

This is my account of a recent shopping trip to Clarks that left me compelled to share it.

As a parent, buying school shoes for children can be a challenging experience that really tests your powers of determination.

Fighting through crowds of other shoppers, gambling with the availability of the right size and style, and of course negotiating the approval of the child.

Or at least that’s been true for me and my family some of the time. Surely I cannot be alone in this?

So bearing this in mind, I was more than pleasantly surprised by how a recent after school expedition turned out one Friday afternoon.


The Shoe Problem

Somehow, my older daughter has worn out three pairs of school shoes by Easter this year. This is in contrast to her younger sister whose first pair are still going strong.

After visiting a few shops and coming out empty-handed, we decided to try Clarks for one final attempt.

By now it was around 5:45pm, and we went in desperate for a successful outcome before all the shops closed.


Our Experience

On walking through the door the calm atmosphere was like a breath of fresh air. This is completely opposite to the extremely stressful situation we had just experienced.

We walked over to the children’s section and began looking at the different school shoes. A young male assistant was vacuuming the carpet, he promptly turned it off and asked if we needed any help.

He politely answered our questions, making helpful suggestions as to which styles were popular, and very importantly – the most robust.


Almost There

Once we had chosen a pair we opted to measure her feet. This was a very novel experience. She had to stand on an electronic device, similar to a weighing scale that scanned her feet. She was also very happy that she was able to choose the character that would do the ‘measuring’ for her.

Now we knew the right size and width, the assistant went to get the shoes from the storeroom. On his return, he told us they didn’t have the exact size she needed. Thankfully he brought a couple of suitable alternatives instead, and we made a final choice from these.

I could sense that we were nearing the finish line – a pair of school shoes was almost in our possession.


Mission Complete

Aside from our joy at this trip ending successfully, our daughter was over the moon to receive a free toy and app.

By this point in our experience I was only too glad to whip out my debit card and pay for the shoes. Hurray, mission accomplished.

All this took place within the space of about 15 minutes. Even though we had turned up very late in the day, we felt very welcome, and didn’t feel rushed in our purchasing decision at all.


Clarks Ingredients For Success

Here are three of the things that made our Clarks experience such a pleasant one:

1. Tailored to the customer

Even though I was paying for the shoes in question, I was not actually the customer in this situation. My eight year old daughter was.

Having her feet measured was exciting because a child-friendly device was used. Aside from this, she had direct input into the experience as she chose which character did the ‘measuring’.

On top of this, she received an incentive in the form of a free app and toy.

Identifying who the customer is, and appropriately customising their experience to fit them is a crucial part of good service.


2. Personal Attention

When we walked into the store a quarter of an hour before closing, we were met with immediate attention. The assistant in the children’s section was vacuuming the carpet, which is a necessary activity for a tidy store. But he promptly turned this off and came to help us.

This may not sound like a remarkable feat, but I have been into many a store and had to hunt for an assistant to help. Sometimes when you do find someone, their tone and body language reveals they would rather be somewhere else instead of serving you.


3. Appropriate Solution

The exact size and width of shoe needed was not in stock, but this did not mean that we left disappointed. The assistant used his expertise to suggest two viable alternatives so that we could still buy what we wanted.

Suggesting suitable substitutes portray staff as being experts in their field, ready to advise on the best solution. Sometimes even when a customer has a firm idea of what they want, it might not be the best option to meet their needs.


A Final Thought

So the lessons learned from this Clarks interaction remind us of a few important things that go a long way in providing good service:

  • – Knowing who your customers are and tailoring the experience to fit them
  • – Giving the needed level of attention
  • – Being able to offer a real solution to the problem


And just in case anyone is wondering how this pair of shoes is faring?

I can happily report that they are still looking pretty much like new, even after a few months of wear.


If you would like to discuss improving your customer service contact Finer Future for a friendly chat.

Photo by How can I recycle this

*Disclaimer* Finer Future is in no way connected with Clarks and has received no 
compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are entirely the author's own.

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