Are you interested in service orientation? The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence by Robert Spector is a book about great customer service. And if you are interested in learning about customer service, and looking for good examples, this book delivers. Service orientation is one of the 10 skills needed for future skills.
If you’re interested in:
- How to be a good customer service rep.
- How to improve your customer service skills.
- What does great customer service look like?
- What does five star service look like?
Then The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence by Robert Spector and Four Seasons by Isadore Sharp are two great books for you to read.
Introduction: The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence
I wanted to learn more about Nordstrom, the company I knew in name only. After participating in the webinar “Innovate the Steve Jobs Way: 7 Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success,” reading and reviewing The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo, I purchased The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence: A Handbook for Implementing Great Service in Your Organization by Robert Spector and Patrick McCarthy.
Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple studied companies like The Four Seasons, Nordstrom and Mercedes Benz to deliver impeccable customer service. I wanted to learn for myself what made these companies so special. I started with The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence: A Handbook for Implementing Great Service in Your Organization.
The co-author, Robert Spector has written several books about Nordstrom. You can see that he is an expert in the ways of all things Nordstrom. Like Carmine Gallo in his book The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs, Robert Speck has spoken to many Nordstrom employees, present and past. In addition, he has also spoken to many of the Nordstrom clan.
What is The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence About?
Content: The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence by Robert Spector
- Part I: What Managers Can Do to Create Nordstrom-Style Service
- Part II: What Supervisors Can Do to Create Nordstrom-Style Service
- Part III: What Employees Can Do to Create Nordstrom-Style Service
It is truly a handbook. At the end of each chapter there are exercises for the readers to do and keys to success nuggets. The book is splattered with mini case studies on other companies that have introduced Nordstrom-like service.
The book is a very practical guide because while you are reading you get a sense of how things are done at Nordstrom, and you could easily replicate it. Robert Speck and Patrick McCarthy even include a section on compensation at Nordstrom. What I also appreciated, was that they included some negative information as well. There are about five Nordstrom stores that were unionized. There was a class action suit against the company for not paying employees for their time when delivering impeccable service, such as dropping off a product for a customer after work, or writing Thank-you notes to customers while at home. As a result of the lawsuit, Nordstrom made changes.
For anyone who wants to up the level of customer service they deliver in their business, this is one book that they should read. But, I’m never for copying everything that one company does. Instead look at other companies, and introduce the elements that make sense for your kind of business, that’s what Steve Jobs did.
So what makes Nordstrom so special?
- The company is decentralized
- One of the company’s mantra is to “Use sound judgment”
- The customer is king and queen
- The company cuts down on the number of rules for employees to follow
- Employees have a lot of power to make decisions on their own
- Employees are allowed to take care of the complete needs of the customer.
- For instance, a customer initially wants a dress for a party, she finds the perfect dress but doesn’t have a purse or shoes that matches the dress.
- The employee can take the customer to the shoe department and service her there as well.
- So employees can work in other departments when serving customers, which allows them to earn more commissions
- The company makes it possible for an employee to say yes to a customer by giving them the authority, as well as stocking merchandise in a variety of colours and sizes
- The company hires people who are nice, knowing that they can train them on the technical aspects of the job
- They promote from within
- All the Nordstrom clan who work within the company started off sweeping the floors and working their way up
- Employees work on commissions, so they set the amount they can earn
- The company has a profit sharing plan
Conclusion: The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence
The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence is a good book if you to want to learn about how to deliver Nordstrom-like service. I recommend that you also read about The Four Seasons (Four Seasons: The Story of a Business Philosophy) and Mercedes Benz, two companies that delivered impeccable service. You can also read up on companies on BusinessWeek’s Customer Service Champs to identify other companies that are doing customer service right.