Tag Archives: Nordstrom


1 Sep

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It is the classic lesson in customer service. Few know it. I do. I teach it when needed like last week. Simply, the customer is always right.

The retailer, Walmart, had a momentary lapse of forgetfulness of priorities. Four call backs later and asking for a supervisor, I began to teach the Nordstroms Model. Guess what, six days later, Walmart’s Automotive department got it. Love them.

They remembered the customer in service.

Don’t take it wrong. This is a compliment to Walmart’s team in Arlington. Long hours, longer days, customers that complain is more the norm than people are able to admit to anymore in a world of social media used to bully and blast. To not take a moment and thank the team for overcoming the downfall of technology that added to the remiss, would be unfortunate when it is as easy to commend team members who put the customer back in to service.

I learned the Nordstrom’s model back in the ‘90s. I had attended a Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce meeting. A speaker from the food services industry told a story, the Nordstrom Customer Service story that went on to become a staple in Customer Service Industry bibles.

It goes this way.

A farmer walks in to a Nordstrom’s store, hefts a tire unto the counter and said, “I want my money back.” The sales clerk was taken aback by a tire on a Nordstrom’s counter in the dress department.

She politely explained to the farmer, “Sir, we sell dresses.”

The farmer answered, “I bought my tire here.”

The clerk tried again, “Sir, we sell clothes not cars.”

The farmer, repeated, a little louder “I bought my tire here,” then hitched his thumbs in to his belt loops.

The clerk, schooled in Nordstrom’s Customer Service model, begged a moment from the farmer, called over another clerk to hold her place, and the farmer company at the counter, then stepped in to the back to consult with her superior, said to her superior, “Sir, we don’t sell tires here, we sell dresses.”
Her superior said, “I know, but we are Nordstrom” as he walked her back to the customer where the farmer, and tire, were waiting.”

The clerk’s supervisor asked to see the farmer’s receipt, which the farmer produced that showed a tire store had been located at that same spot that later became the supervisor’s Nordstrom. The clerk’s supervisor counted out the exact change owed the farmer, took the tire with as the clerk’s supervisor returned to his office, tire in hand.

The farmer left pleased.

The clerk followed her supervisor to his office. Without the clerk saying anything, the clerk’s supervisor looked up and said, “In Nordstrom’s stores, the customer is always right.”

Walmart stood behind the warranty of a new tire that deflated under warranty. Technology’s overreach into customer-retailer relations created problems with accessing product in real time along with interfering with other steps in the relationship. A supervisor and team captain took it upon themselves to go the extra mile for a customer.

The upside is, Walmart came out ahead, two baby outfits, a golden book, a sports bra and sweat top and a wish that Walmart superstore was closer. Imagine, a store that has everything from apples to stuffed zebras with everything in between under the same roof.

OMG, my dream vacay is now camping out overnight at Walmart, glamping at the ultimate. Walmart has everything!!!! Food, clothes, snacks, clean bathrooms, bedding, mattresses, books, TV’s, radios, did I say books, crafting stuff, is this not heaven on retail earth?

As if it couldn’t get better with Nordstrom’s, it did. On a recent foray to Nordstrom’s lingerie department, albeit the annual sale time, I received a thank you note and card from my sales assistant. As scary as one could make getting a card from a sales clerk, let’s reframe it. In a world of impersonal emails flooding my Inbox, someone took the time to hand prepare, post and send a note saying ‘we see you, you exist for real.’ Amen. Business card included, too. Take a note, big box retailers.

Why, I don’t even have to pack, bring makeup or think twice about anything because I can do everything once in 24 hours without even repeating myself. Damn, I would forgo camera shyness to live this dream. Birthday is coming, Walmart. Call me. Call me, Sam. You got my digis.

Linda, Mike? You rocked the Nordstrom Customer service model. You made this customer feel like a queen for a few hours. Thank you. Grin, looking forward to 24 hours on your turf….. !



27 Jan

Nordstrom Rack the retailer, which sells discounted designer clothing is coming to downtown Washington taking over the former Borders site at 1800 L Street NW. Scheduled to open April 18