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Button the crisp, white shirt.  Tie the Brooks Brothers tie.  Buckle the Ralph Lauren belt.  Almost ready for the journey into New York City for the big presentation. Tie the black, Peal and Company shoes. Snap.  Broken shoe lace.  Rats. Unfortunately there is not enough time to change into the cordovan shoes, and then put on a different suit to match the shoes and still catch the train.

With Blackberry in hand (yes, BlackBerry, at the mortification of my iPhone equipped children) I use my train time to find a Brooks Brothers store. Believing this to be a futile effort because as everyone knows, most retailers don’t open until 10:00 am, I press on.  What do you know; Brooks Brothers by Grand Central Terminal opens at 8:00 am.  That gives me enough time to buy shoe laces and still make the meeting.

Rosa, my new Brooks Brother Associate friend was delightful.  She found the best shoe laces, insisting on lacing them for me.  We talked about how long our shoes have lasted; mine only ten years, hers 14 and both pairs looking like new.  I reached for my wallet and she proudly informed me, much to my surprise, the laces are complimentary.

Now I realize it’s just a pair of $5 shoe laces, but most retailers don’t understand how providing small benefits add up to a phenomenal positive experience and the perception of a brand that truly cares and understands their customers.  Rather than nickel and diming me to death, Brooks Brothers knows the $5 is not lost revenue, but an investment in my future purchases.  They understand it is important to show customers like me they value my business.  Great customer service is about making people feel special, and there is no difference between someone who walks into the store for a $5 pair of shoe laces or a $700 suit.  Brooks Brothers understand how to treat people, and how to provide great customer service.  I’ll be back for the $700 suit.

By the way, being able to tell the story of Rosa and Brooks Brothers helped me crush the presentation.