Nordstrom: Best Customer Service In The Social Media Age

Credit-Mike Kalasnik, Nordstrom-Oak Park Mall, Creative Commons 2.0.

Nordstrom is the hands down winner when it comes to customer service.  I don’t need to perform an Internet search to read about how great their customer service is because I have experienced it for years.  Whether its their flagship Nordstrom department stores or their Nordstrom Rack retail stores, I have never been let down by the company.

I have enjoyed their men’s suit and shoe departments for years without any problems that weren’t easily solved. For example, last year I bought a suit and had it altered at one of their department stores that didn’t work out. In the past, their alterations were on the mark every time. When I picked up the suit, I planned on trying it on; however, I had one of my kids with me and he wasn’t feeling well so I wanted to get home as quickly as possible so he could take a nap.  When I got home, I tried on the suit and it was obvious that I wouldn’t be able to wear it until it was further altered.  I placed the suit back into the garmet back and planned to return to the store to have it fixed.

In the Washington, DC area, traffic is a major problem and a trip to the mall where my local Nordstrom’s is located can be a frustrating and time consuming experience.  Unfortunately, days turned into weeks and all of a sudden more than a month passed and I had not had the time to go back to the store to leave the suit to have it fixed and pick it up at a later date so I decided to return it directly (via UPS for tracking purposes) to Nordstrom’s headquarters in Seattle.

I didn’t send the suit back as a lawyer, I sent it as Brad Shear the consumer and all I wanted was money back since I couldn’t wear the new suit.  After a few weeks, I didn’t hear anything from the company so I called Nordstrom’s customer service and explained the situation and they resolved the matter quickly. In addition, I received a voice mail from Nordstrom’s President Blake Nordstrom who encouraged me to call me back if the problem wasn’t resolved to my satisfaction. Since Mr. Nordstrom’s employees took care of the matter, there was no need to bother him personally with a return call.  I figured he had much more important things to do than hear me talk about a resolved matter.

Since this happened, my family and I have continued to be Nordstrom customers.  In contrast, when my Tumi messenger bag fell apart (e.g. broken shoulder strap and cracked handle) more than ten years ago the company refused to stand behind its so called warranty. At the time, I sent Tumi’s then CEO Laurence Franklin a letter as a consumer describing the situation along with the messenger bag to demonstrate it was defective. Mr. Franklin called me personally and stated that he didn’t believe my bag was defective and all he would offer was a store credit for half the value of the bag. After using the store credit for a couple of forgettable items, I have not spent a dime on Tumi products in more than ten years.

As someone who grew up in a family business, I understand the challenges that retailers currently encounter. However, I still believe Nordstrom’s customer service philosophy is the best. There is no need to utilize social media to complain to get attention about a customer service issue; you just need to speak with their employees to ensure a win-win outcome.  My hats off to Blake Nordstrom and his family’s way of doing business.

Copyright 2016 by Brad Shear All rights reserved.

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