The company that started it all: legendary customer service and my infatuation with fashion

As a little girl, I remember accompanying my mom on shopping trips to Nordstrom and trying on every shoe I could get my hands on (yes, I was lucky enough that the shoes on the floor matched my size). I’d sit there inching my foot into a beautiful high heel, dreaming of the days when I’d be old enough to wear them.

My mom would whisk me through the different departments, making her purchases and returns (usually more of the latter), and the salespeople were always very friendly and treated us with respect. So much so that one day my eight-year-old self decided to fill out a comment card while my mom paid. It went something like this: “Dear Nordstrom – you have great customer service. I love your store. Sincerely, Morganne.” Mother’s reaction? A bit embarrassed but I know it still makes her chuckle to this day.

Ever since those fantasy days, I have had a serious love affair with the Nordstrom company. (And that’s Nordstrom, not Nordstrom’s, dang it. Huge pet peeve of mine.) I love their merchandise, their selection, their Anniversary Sale, their café, their customer service, everything. So it’s no doubt that I would die to work there.

I finally got the chance last summer, when I interviewed for a salesperson position in the tbd department. I showed up clad in my Current Elliott boyfriend jeans and Ella Moss top and gave what I thought was a great interview, only to be incredibly disappointed when the manager informed me the last weekend of training would occur when I was out of town. Are. You. Kidding. Me. It felt like all my dreams were flying out the window and the manager simply said, “Well, that’s too bad. Bye.”

Ugh, I was disgusted. No Nordstrom employee had ever treated me like that before and suddenly I was questioning everything the company stood for. Customer service? Okay sure. What about (potential) employee service? That’s important too!

Nevertheless, I forgot about it and my love for Nordstrom stayed in tact (although a bit dampened).

Since returning home for Christmas break, I’ve had the chance to read Delivering Happiness, an incredibly inspirational book written by the CEO of Zappos. I could write a whole other post on that, but the main point here is Tony’s philosophy on customer service. He strives to make it a focus of the entire company, not just a department. He also strives to nurture employee and vendor relationships as well.

Upon finishing the book, I unintentionally compared Zappos to Nordstrom and realized, “Hey, Nordstrom is one of those few companies that is genuinely about customer service.” They have always used customer service as the foundation of their company and I see it all the time – free shipping, shipping items from other stores, taking year-old returns, etc. And they consistently earn a spot in Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For.

Bottom line? Their overall reputation is so ingrained in me that it would take 50 times that one bad experience to equal a truly negative view of the company. Now that, my friends, is incredible brand loyalty.

{ image from here }


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