We all know that treating your customers well is important, if not critical. If that’s the case, then why doesn’t it always happen? How can companies consistently execute a successful customer service strategy?
In Robert Spector and Patrick McCarthy’s book, “The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence”, the authors provide intimate details of Nordstrom’s customer service strategy and what has made the retailer so successful. They also provide practical exercises that other companies can execute to help them formulate their own plan for providing service excellence.
Here are some of the more notable highlights and pieces of advice from “The Nordstrom Way”:
- Publicly celebrate your heroes – Let others know when someone has done something outstanding on behalf a customer. Make an announcement, post it publicly, give a round of applause at a staff meeting, etc. Let that person (and everyone else know) how important and proud the company is to have employees (like them) that go above and beyond to service customers.
- Hire the smile – Don’t hire someone just for their technical skill or experience, thinking you can make them nice and friendly. Hire someone that already possesses the right attitude and drive. Often times, the “other stuff” can be taught.
- Dump the rules – James Nordstrom said it best, “The minute you come up with a rule you give an employee a reason to say no to a customer. That’s the reason we hate rules.” Nordstrom has one rule in their employee handbook: use good judgment in all situations. By doing this, they have taken away all limitations and provided their employees with the freedom to serve their customers well.
- Encourage teamwork and team competition – While it may seem contradictory to have both “teamwork” and “team competition” in the same sentence, they can both be encouraged in a way that creates superior results. The trick is finding the right balance that encourages both individual achievements as well as team successes.
- When in doubt, follow “The Golden Rule” – What our teachers taught us in Kindergarten still holds true for employees and companies: treat people as you would want them to treat you.
If you want to learn more, I encourage you to pick up a copy. It’s full of fun and insightful stories of how each and every one of us can be “heroes” and WOW our customers every day!
Summer Dennis is responsible for the direction and management of all client service functions including hiring, training, Quality Assurance, process automation and client management best practices. She is a seasoned finance and operations director with experience driving process efficiencies and margin improvements for Fortune 100 companies. She holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and Portuguese from the University of Texas. This is Summer’s second year at Inktel.