Nordstrom is the benchmark in customer service delivery for many companies
Nordstrom is a luxury department store with a decade-long reputation for excellent customer service. Nordstrom has consistently been the benchmark in excellence for their return policy, very helpful in-store staff committed to 3 A’s, (Attitude, Attitude & Attitude) and short check-out lines to eliminate waiting times, and rapid response on their customer support channels, see below.
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI), Nordstrom has consistently ranked at the top of customers satisfaction surveys in a market of increasingly unhappy consumers in the United States of America. Nordstrom has specialized their customer experiences in the following areas:
Nordstrom assists its customers by collecting individualized data beforehand to enable Nordstrom to quickly locate the customer’s desired products and shorten their wait time. Nordstrom utilizes such platforms as Facebook, Twitter, e-commerce website, etc., to enable them to suggest products that would be of interest to their customers. All data is collected in a special department at Nordstrom called the “Innovation Lab” that works with a special customer experience app made available for their staff members. These apps can assist in predicting customer behavior and preferences of products and services based on the historical data collected. The data enables the employees to make customized offers to their customers across all channels of service provided by Nordstrom. Customers also have access to the company app and can make a reservation for clothes they would like to see and try on. The selection is ready in the company’s changing room for the customers’ convenience when they enter the store. In addition, customers can avoid waiting at the register to pay for their purchases by using a mobile check out instead. If the customer chooses to pay at the register, an employee is instructed to immediately attend the register for prompt check-out. As I explained earlier in the book, Nordstrom employees are required to create a positive customer experience at all contact points with the customer so that they want to return to Nordstrom for their future shopping needs.
A very good example of the Nordstrom customer-oriented culture and management is explained by Robert Spector, who has studied the shop for decades and is the author of The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence (Spector, 2012). He says that one of the secrets behind the success of Nordstrom employees (also called “Nordies”) is that they all receive a card to carry in their pocket which says, “Use good judgment in all situations”. This means that the employees are expected to provide excellent service to every customer and exceed the customer’s expectations in all circumstances.
Remember the Wow story regarding the winter tires that were returned to Nordstrom? As you recall, Nordstrom refunded money to the customer even though Nordstrom does not sell tires (they were bought at another store). The situation was handled by a new salesperson, just entering the company, who made the correct decision to refund the money, thereby creating a Wow story that circulated over the whole world. The story emphasized Nordstrom’s already well-known reputation for outstanding customer service and excellent products.
Watch Steve Down explains why Nordstrom is a benchmark worldwide in customer service delivery: