One of the many stories that continually links the Nordstrom brand with service excellence is the tale of one customer's attempt to return two snow tires to its Fairbanks, Alaska location despite the department store never having sold anything but upscale clothing. Nordstrom, which opened its doors in Seattle in 1901 as a shoe store, has evolved into one of the most respected luxury retailers in the world, largely due to their unwavering commitment to their customer. One by one, each employee receives a copy of the Nordstrom employee handbook containing a single 5x8 inch gray index card with the following words on it:
“Welcome to Nordstrom. We’re glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them . Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.
As consumers, all of us want to be appreciated, but does that give us the right to pull off a stunt like the tire story? Chuck Blakeman certainly has his own perspective. In his work with over 500 companies and senior executives, he would tell you that ‘pleasing your customer isn’t always a good thing’ - here’s why.
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