I went swimsuit shopping the other day. (Stick with me, I promise this post is not really about swimsuit shopping.)

The first store specialized in utilitarian swimsuits, which on paper made sense as I was looking for something to actually swim in. But many of the suits looked like overstock rejects and the staff was poorly trained. For example, lap suits are typically marked in European sizing even in the U.S. market. But the staff didn’t know what the equivalences were and took a couple of minutes to locate a conversion chart. I tried on a few swimsuits and realized that this was not the place for me.

The second store specialized in fashion swimwear. A lot of the suits were very cute. When I told the salesclerk that I was looking for something I could swim in, she warned that her suits were fashion-focused and priced as such. She said she would hate to have me spend a lot of money and have the suit ruined by chlorine. She recommended another store. (Unfortunately, it was the store where I’d started my search.) I liked her immediately.

Since store one hadn’t worked out so well, I gave the clerk a couple of parameters and asked if she had anything that might fit. She showed me something that was close but not quite right, and then I spotted three potential options. And she knew her suits, telling me that one ran small and I would need the larger size.

Two of the three suits I tried on fit great, and five minutes later I was out the door with a new swimsuit.

Companies can focus too much on one aspect of their business, be it their niche or their pricing. But good customer service and a good customer experience will often trump everything else.

Photo by Jim Bahn (Flickr).