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Crafting the Customer Experience For People Not Like You: How to Delight and Engage the Customers Your Competitors Don't Understand by Kelly McDonald

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BE GRACIOUS—NO MATTER WHAT

I was a keynote speaker recently for a company called Halloween Express, the parent company for franchisees with seasonal, temporary stores that sell Halloween costumes and supplies. At their conference, I spoke with a sales associate who told me a story of assisting a very overweight customer, a woman who wanted to wear a Spiderman costume to a party. Halloween Express had the costume in stock and the woman went into the dressing room to try it on. The sales associate stood outside the dressing room, ready to assist with anything the customer might need. When she asked her how she was doing and if she liked the costume, the customer came out, stood before the mirror, and said sadly, “I look terrible.” The Spiderman costume is a very tight, very formfitting, and very unforgiving costume. It shows every little ripple and bulge on even the thinnest of wearers. It didn’t look very good on this large woman, and she knew it. Her expression told the sales associate that not only was the customer disappointed; she was also embarrassed.

The salesperson asked her, “Have you thought about being a Geisha instead? If you’re going to be at a party all night, the Geisha costume is so much more comfortable than the Spiderman one.” She got the costume, which was a large, flowy Japanese robe. The customer tried it on and was thrilled! She looked—and felt—much better. She bought the entire Geisha ensemble: robe, shoes, face makeup, chopsticks, wig, and more. And the sale ...

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