“Why Didn’t You Tell Me?”

Close on the heels of “the customer is always right” is the rule, “If I bought something I don’t know how to use correctly, it’s obviously the fault of whoever sold it to me.” It’s in the Customer’s Manifesto somewhere, right? If it isn’t, why do dealers hear it so much?

The retailer always has a delicate balance in matters of explaining how to use the product the customer buys. The tailor who sells a three-piece suit and tells the buyer, “By the way, you’re not supposed to fasten the bottom button of the vest” risks insulting a high-dollar customer who has been reading men’s fashion magazines since he was in high school. Insulted customers take their business elsewhere.

At the same time, a few well-chosen words of advice at time of sale may just be remembered and appreciated. Let’s say you have a customer who you know is familiar with Glocks. You know this because you sold him his first Glock 17, and the Glock 19 he bought later, and the Glock 34 he purchased to shoot when he got into IDPA matches.

Today, you’re selling him a subcompact Glock 26 to round out his “Glock wardrobe.” You just might want to mention that, unlike any of the Glocks you sold to him, the butt on this Glock is so short that he may pinch his hand painfully when inserting its small magazine. A one-sentence explanation takes the insult element away: “This seems to happen everybody who handles these little semiautos in the same way they use bigger models.”

Later, when he’s out shooting with others, I can pretty much guarantee he’ll see someone pinch their hand while inserting the magazine into a small semiauto. It may happen with another “baby Glock,” or with a subcompact Smith & Wesson M&P or Springfield XD series, or even some of the micro 1911s. It’s not a Glock thing; it’s a subcompact pistol thing — the heel of the hand and the little finger tend to meet right where the magazine floorplate joins the shortened grip frame. When your recently cautioned customer witnesses the “painful pinch,” my bet is he’ll remember your advice, and silently thank you.

Let’s examine other areas of customer dissatisfaction that you can prevent.


Advise customers to put on the ankle holster before they insert the handgun.
(Seen here is an Alessi ankle holster.) This guarantees better fit, comfort and concealment.

Preempting Dissatisfaction With Holsters

The customer buying his first shoulder holster often adjusts it wrong. This may come from years of watching TV and movie detectives wear their holsters improperly. If the straps hang down too far, the gun will bounce painfully against his ribs with every step — and concealment is lost. As your customer walks, he’ll look as if he’s just shoplifted a live ferret and is trying to hide it under his suit coat.

As a rule, it’s best to adjust the actual holster of a shoulder holster as high as is feasible — this for concealment and comfort. Once your customer has selected the shoulder holster he wants, take a few minutes to adjust it for him. He’ll very likely be grateful, not only for your advice, but also for “making the holster work.”

Customer satisfaction is one of those semi-tangible assets. You never know exactly how much you’ll gain from it, but you know you’ll be rewarded with referrals, additional sales or — at the very least — know you did the right thing.

“This Ankle Holster Is Horrible!”

There are few methods of concealed carry that present so many problems as ankle holsters. First, the customer who is not accustomed to this type of carry must be reminded that it won’t offer good concealment or good access if the pant cuffs are the least bit tight. This means the customer should wear the ankle rig with boot-cut jeans, Dockers-type casual slacks, or the traditional “men’s sack suit” leg shape.

Also, advise your customers to strap on the ankle holster and adjust its fit before inserting the handgun. This seems to hold the ankle rig more securely to the lower leg, and reduces shifting as the customer is walking. This also greatly improves comfort, and is more likely to keep the gun in exactly the same place, making for a safer, faster and more positive draw.

I also recommend that those wearing an ankle rig for the first time commit to wearing it for a week. On the first day your customer wears the holster, he will feel awkward with the unaccustomed weight on his ankle. After a week, though, he likely will have grown accustomed — assuming it’s a good holster with no sharp edges — and will have become a satisfied customer.

One more tip: Recommend to your customer that he pull his sock up over the bottom half of the holster. This will greatly reduce the likelihood of it being spotted when his trouser cuffs rise as he sits down.


Any inside-the-waistband holster — like this one by Galco,
which is holding Glock 19 — is going to take up more space
therein. The customer who is forewarned is the one who won’t
be unpleasantly surprised.

Too Tight Carry

Also be prepared to provide tips to other customers — before they declare, “This inside-the-waistband holster you sold me is uncomfortable.” Well, of course it is. He bought the trousers to fit him, and now he’s trying to make them fit him and a holstered pistol.

Before he expresses his dissatisfaction, remind him at the time of purchase of this fitting dilemma. Suggest that he unbutton the top button of his trousers and let his belt out a notch or two. This will make a world of difference in the comfort. Then, it’s up to the customer to decide whether he wants to have the waistline let out on his trousers, or buy them a couple of inches wider to accommodate the holster.

Customer Satisfaction

We’re talking about little things here. But it’s the little things that so often make a customer complain. And the flip side is that it’s often the little things that cement customer satisfaction. And we all know that customer satisfaction means repeat customers, and repeat customers are a key to success.
By Massad Ayoob

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Shooting Feb 2013

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