Nordstrom Inc.’s customer service is considered legendary, and there are plenty of tales to back that up.
There is a story about a member of the housekeeping staff at a store in Connecticut who discovered a customer’s bags, along with her receipt and a flight itinerary, in the parking lot.
Noticing that the customer had likely left directly from the store to catch her flight at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, he looked up her phone number in the company’s system and tried to call her several times as he drove to the airport with her bags.
When she didn’t answer her phone after he got to the airport, the employee had the airport page her to let her know he had her bags.
Erik Nordstrom, president of stores at Nordstrom, recounted that tale during the company’s most recent annual meeting in July.
Nordstrom takes back tires
One of the most well known Nordstrom customer service stories, however, is about a man who went into the Nordstrom in Anchorage, Alaska, to return a set of tires. Nordstrom — an upscale retailer that sells mostly apparel, shoes and accessories — does not sell tires. The customer bought the tires at the store that occupied the same space prior to Nordstrom moving in.
Still, after some discussion, the Nordstrom store manager decided to allow the customer to return the tires there.
One of the people who told me the tires story said he really wasn’t sure it was true, but thought it illustrates the great lengths that Nordstrom employees are willing to go to keep existing customers happy and forge relationships with new customers.
Nordstrom spokesman Colin Johnson said both stories are true, and are examples of how the company gives employees the autonomy to make their own decisions instead of having to send questions up the ubiquitous corporate flagpole.
Forester Research Inc. Principal Analyst Kate Leggett said the company’s legendary customer service efforts are much more than tales – they really boil down to a great business strategy.
Gordon Conner is a Branding Consultant/Coach and Copywriter who helps build WOW brands for small local businesses. He has been providing advertising, marketing, branding and copywriting services for 39 years and lives in Midlothian, Virginia. He can be reached at Gordon@BranWorks.com, or www.BranWorks.com.