Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

The Fuller Brush Company was ahead of its time.

It's well known for the army of door to door salesmen that peddled its wide range of brushes, brooms, and other associated goods.

For a time, "the Fuller Brush Man" was synonymous with salesman. It didn't hurt that a movie of that name was made in 1948, starring Red Skelton and another one named The Fuller Brush Girl was made in 1950 with Lucille Ball.

How did a company that was founded by a 21 year-old out of his sister's basement go from a one-man operation to a nationally-recognized brand? And what was the secret to the success of the Fuller Brush man?

And as you can imagine, selling brushes out of a suitcase or car trunk was hard work that required tenacity and creativity.

But more than their sales techniques, the company was legendary for its guarantee:

Make it work, make it last, and guarantee it. No matter what.

Other companies have since offered a no-haggle guarantee, but it was The Fuller Brush Company that stated it so plainly and made it the credo of the company.

Every employee knew what it stood for; every customer knew what it meant. We should all be so succinct in our messaging.

But more than that, the secret weapon in Alfred C. Fuller's possession was how he hired and trained his salesforce. It was all about the culture at The Fuller Brush Company. Because he knew that every employee needed to be held to the same high standards he held himself to when he started the company in 1906.

Insisting on uncompromising integrity, Alfred Fuller made every salesperson sign what was called The Pledge of the Fuller Brush Man. They pledged to “realize that my obligation is one of service to the customer, to the company I represent and to the community in which I live and work.” Each Fuller Brush Man also swore: “I will be courteous; I will be kind; I will be sincere; I will be helpful.”

Now think about the last experience you had in which your expectations were not met and you raised a concern. Were you triaged to another department or employee, or was that employee authorized to handle your issue?

Companies that are the best in customer service – Disney Parks, Zappos, Nordstrom, and more – train all of their employees to handle customer service needs. It doesn't matter if it's not their department, if they aren't customer service representatives, or if they have no knowledge of a particular product.

At great companies, the customer is everyone's responsibility.

And along with the simplicity of message like Fuller Brush credo – make it work, make it last, guarantee it, no matter what – that's really all you need to create repeat customers who'll tell the world about you.

Top image credit: Tichnor Brothers, Boston Public Library via Wikimedia Commons

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