“Nordstrom Sells Service”

Sep 24, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Robert Spector, author of The Nordstrom Way: The Inside Story of America’s #1 Customer Service Company, says the company isn’t in the retailing business. It’s in the customer service business and that’s a lesson many retailers would do well to learn, he believes.

“Most companies are set up to make life easier for their organization as opposed to what works best for the customer,” he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Mr. Spector provided an example of how Nordstrom’s culture of customer service goes beyond the sale of merchandise.

A shopper called a Nordstrom store because a hubcap came off her car while she was driving by the store. A store employee went out and found the hubcap, washed it for her and delivered it to the woman at her home. The shopper in question hadn’t even shopped at Nordstrom on the day her hubcap went on a trip of its own.

Moderator’s Comment: Why don’t more retailers have a culture of customer service similar to that at Nordstrom? Does
it cost more for retailers to provide a Nordstrom-type level of customer service or more to not have it?

Robert Spector told the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Nordstrom sells service.” In the process of delivering that customer service, the company sells
a heck of a lot of merchandise, as well.

George Anderson – Moderator

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1 Comment on "“Nordstrom Sells Service”"

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Pegi Davis
Pegi Davis
15 years 6 months ago
As part of Project Management Class, we’re reading Robert Spector’s “The Nordstrom Way.” We’ll be writing a paper on the topic of customer service. The thought occurred to me that the last time I visited a Nordstrom store, I went directly from work, dressed in a suit and was looking for a new business suit. I received a good deal of assistance and ended up with a very nice skirt suit. The next time I was there, having come from a kids’ baseball game, dressed in less than attractive jeans, a ratty sweat shirt and probably looking like I had maybe $5 to my name, I couldn’t find a salesperson who would help me find a blouse. Is customer service a matter of appearance? If a customer “smells like money” will they receive more attention than one who does not look like they’ve got a dime? In reading Spector’s book, I see a good number of references to very powerful people – CEOs, VPs, cream of the crop types of executives. I do not see… Read more »