Type of firm: Online women's shoe emporium
Customer-service strategy: While it's hard enough to get good service from brick-and-mortar businesses, finding it on the Internet can be ever tougher. That's not true at SimplySoles (simplysoles.com), where the average pai of shoes goes for $275. Shoppers who call the toll-free customer-service number can even reach the founder, Kassie Rempel (pictured) directly. For certain customers Simply-Soles will send out a selection of shoes - no charge, no commitment. These shoppers can try on shoes in their homes to see which pair looks best with a particular outfit. They are billed only when they make a purchase and can send the remaining shoes back to SimplySoles in prepaid mailers at a cost of about $12 a returned pair roundtrip. SimplySoles also sends out handwritten thank-you notes to every customer who orders shoes. The notes address the customer and shoe by name - a little touch that builds loyalty.