The Nordstrom Way: The Inside Story of America's #1Customer Service Company

The Nordstrom Way: The Inside Story of America's #1Customer Service Company

The Nordstrom Way: The Inside Story of America's #1Customer Service Company

The Nordstrom Way: The Inside Story of America's #1Customer Service Company


"The Nordstroms 'wrote the book' on customer service. Now we have a chance to read, chapter by chapter, how through four generations this family has established one of the finest retail institutions in the world."-Peter Strom, Former Vice Chairman Polo/Ralph Lauren

According to David Glass, President and CEO of Wal-Mart, Nordstrom's customer service standards are "what we all shoot for." In his 60 Minutes profile on Nordstrom, Morley Safer raved that the much-acclaimed "Nordstrom Way" was "not service like it used to be, but service like it never was."

What makes Nordstrom so special? What, exactly, does this retail giant do that so clearly distinguishes it from the competition? How does the Nordstrom customer service culture work? And, most important, what lessons can industry learn from Nordstrom's example?

This updated Second Edition reveals the secrets behind the phenomenal success of this American customer-service legend. Written by veteran journalist Robert Spector and top Nordstrom salesman Patrick McCarthy, and based on exclusive, in-depth interviews with the Nordstrom family, senior executives, directors, and salespeople, this captivating book tells you how this much admired-and much feared-powerhouse retains its customer-service supremacy in the competitive world of bricks-and-mortar retail.

In The Nordstrom Way, the authors isolate practical lessons that teach how to better respond to customers' needs so they'll keep coming back to you, including:

• Valuing the nobility of good service

• Finding and bonding with customers

• Serving and keeping those customers

• Giving frontline people the freedom to make decisions

Packed with examples of excellent customer service, The Nordstrom Way offers a fresh behind-the-scenes look that provides lessons on how to find and focus on customer needs, follow-up, and customer satisfaction.

Praise for The NORDSTROM Way

"For anyone looking to understand customer service at its best, this book bubbles with insights."-Business Week

"Nobody does it better than Nordstrom. And this is the first thorough, close-up look at its service secrets. A real winner."-Tom Peters, President, The Tom Peters Group

"Outstanding customer service and Nordstrom are synonymous. Their innovative approach has allowed them to find out what the customers want and then do it. Their standards of service are what we all shoot for."-David D. Glass, President and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

"Nordstrom is a national model for outstanding customer service. American business should use this book as a primer to learn how to make and keep happy, satisfied customers."- J. Willard Marriott Jr. Chairman and President, Marriott International, Inc.

"When you run a family business that includes your customers as extended family, you're unbeatable. This book outlines an American family saga that has become the admiration of the world."-Leonard A. Lauder Chairman and CEO, Est'e Lauder Companies

"Nordstrom's business is built on one-to-one communication with the customer. Their professional salespeople bridge the gap between the designer and the consumer."-Donna Karan, Chairman and Chief Designer, Donna Karan International, Inc.

"Nordstrom is legendary for the way they take care of the people who walk through their doors. Spector and McCarthy have made The Nordstrom Way available for everyone to turn their ducks into eagles."-Ken Blanchard, Coauthor, The One Minute Manager


The idea of telling the Nordstrom customer service story was born on March 18, 1990, when Elizabeth Wales, a Seattle literary agent, gazed out the back window of her home and saw her neighbor, Patrick McCarthy, mowing his backyard lawn. Earlier that same day, Wales had read a lengthy feature story on McCarthy in the Seattle Times. The article, which ran under the headline “Personal Touch: Service Makes Salesman a Legend at Nordstrom,” examined McCarthy's reputation as the retail chain's quintessential employee, the top sales associate for fifteen consecutive years. While Wales, whose spouse is a McCarthy customer, was reading about McCarthy's willingness to make deliveries to the homes of his customers, an amusing image flashed in her head: “One of these days, Patrick is going to come home with my husband's pants.”

In a sense, McCarthy's personal delivery of those pants is the perfect metaphor for the Nordstrom way. Nordstrom's culture encourages entrepreneurial, motivated men and women to contribute extra effort and give customer service that is unequaled in American retailing. “Not service like it used to be, but service that never was,” marveled correspondent Morley Safer on a 60 Minutes . . .

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