Dana Huval, Huval's Boot and Shoe Repair,
Customer Service can be the
heart of your business or your downfall. It’s not that
hard to be nice, smile and offer suggestions to your
customers. I know we get so caught up in the amount of
work we need to have ready for that afternoon, but the
counter should be your best friend.
If a lady with high heeled
shoes comes in with worn out heels, show her a
protective sole. Protective soles today are made from
materials as thin as one millimeter and come in tan,
black and red. They are very pliable and will keep shoes
comfortable, keep the sole from wearing out and provide
a non-slip sole for your customer. Just remind your
customer if these are her dancing shoes, they will no
longer slide on the dance floor.
What about a shoe shine? If
her toes have worn the color off and she has a few
scuffs on her heels, this will add extra dollars to that
You can suggest extra
repairs for men also. We get a lot of boots in our shop.
If a customer comes in and only wants heels, we check
the soles, because they usually wear the same as the
heels. If they are in good shape we will suggest a heel
plate. It will add a little extra income to that ticket.
Work boots come in for
repair all the time. One of the most requested repairs
is stretching. The majority of our customers pick boots
off the shelves and buy them without getting their feet
measured by a good shoe/boot store. These customers have
no clue what a good fit is.
When our customers want work
boots stretched, we suggest installing zippers. We also
mention that we can put a toe cap if they ever have
problems wearing out the leather that covers the steel
toe. You would be amazed by the extra repair work we
receive by suggesting these extra repairs.
Just keep in mind, if you add extra work you will also
need extra time to get all these jobs done. We keep a
little cheat sheet taped to the counter, reminding us
when we can have certain jobs ready. It’s much easier
for us to follow a guideline for pick-up days.
I realize every once in a while we get an unreasonable
customer who wants the repair work done their way, right
now and usually for free. My friends have described my
reaction to these customers because I never realized how
I handled it. Once I have figured out it will not
benefit me to take the job, I will step back from the
counter, tell them “Have a nice day,” walk over to the
patch machine (which is by the front counter) and start
working. They now have the choice to take their repair
work home or pay me the amount I want for the job and
leave it. I give them the choice.
My goal has always been to
offer the best repairs I can do. If I would not wear or
use these repair items myself, I would never return them
to my customers. The supplies I use are the best I can
buy and my prices reflect that. They simply have to. The
old saying “you get what you pay for” is so true. I
would never use poor grades of leather on someone’s
shoes or boots.
Be proud of your supplies.
For example, we stock Avanti dowel lifts and super taps
for the round heels. We have upgraded to the Avanti
quality of lifts. They never have any air holes and I
have confidence they will outlast any other dowels I
One of the best things I
have always offered my customers is retail. I try to
keep six of each of the shoe care items at all times.
Everything on my retail shelf is also used in the back
where we shine shoes. I would never offer something if I
did not like the way it worked. Some companies have
better products than others. There again, I offer the
best products available to me. Besides cleaners and
conditioners, we have a huge selection of shoes laces,
shoe fitting aids, arch supports and insoles. If you do
not have it available on your shelves, you cannot sell
Customer service is
suggesting products that will help your customer’s feet
feel better. I have noticed lately people’s feet hurt
them. This is a great opportunity for me to sell them
something to help their shoes fit them better. If you do
not have a nice selection of retail, add a few items
with each of your orders. It will build up for you. Just
make sure you have a nice shelf or pegboard wall to
display them. We also apply a return label on all of our
cleaners and polishes to remind our customers where they
need to get the replacements when they use that entire
I hope you take the time to offer more service to your
customers. Remind them of other services you offer:
Replace buttons/ snaps
Shorten purse straps
Shorten belts that are
Add insoles to shoes
that are too big
The list can go on and on.
You know what you can do in your shop. Just let your
customers know. I hope you get so busy you need some
The holidays are just around the corner. Think about
getting some shine boxes for a great gift idea.
Hope you stay busy and promote your business.