Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Customer Experience and Customer Service

Dear Friends,

Today more then ever most people forget about true customer experience and customer service.

I received a phone call today from and old friend who opened a "discount" Real Estate office in California 2 years ago. As he describes it, He provides limited real estate services for lower fees then what the "traditional" model real estate office would. He was going to be the Walmart of real estate... or so he thought.

More about my friend later.

What is customers service?
Wikipedia defines it as: Customer service (also known as Client Service) is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase.

Let me explain what customer experience and customer service really is.

One of my favorite places to shop for clothing and shoes is at Nordstrom.


Because of the experience and the customer service.

When you walk around Nordstrom's you feel good.
Convenience and openness are trademarks of Nordstrom store design. "When customers first come into the store, we’ve got about 15 seconds to get them excited about it," said John Nordstrom of the third generation, who is a student of store design and customer reaction. "First, are they able to meander through the store without impediments, such as narrow aisles? When they’re walking down an aisle, and another customer is coming the other way, do they have enough room to pass? If the answer is no, all of a sudden they’re distracted. Instead of looking at the nice sweater, they’ve got a stroller banging them in the ankles. When they think about our store, they don’t think of jostling and banging, they think of it as a pleasant experience."

Every company talks about customer service.

What sets Nordstrom apart?
Nordstrom does not consider customer service a strategy, but rather a way of life.Nordstrom continually reinforces this attitude by spreading stories of customer service that are above and beyond the call of duty. In the Nordstrom culture, these stories are called "heroics."
Tom Peters once wrote about a man who sent a letter to Nordstrom that described his difficulty in getting a suit he bought there to fit -- despite several visits for alterations. When the letter reached John Nordstrom’s desk, he sent over a new suit to the customer’s office, along with a Nordstrom tailor to make sure the jacket and pants were perfect. When alterations were completed, the suit was delivered at no charge.

Then there is the story of a customer who fell in love with a pair of burgundy, pleated Donna Karan slacks that had just gone on sale at the Nordstrom store in downtown Seattle. But the store was out of her size, and the sales associate was unable to track down a pair at the five other Nordstrom stores in the Seattle area. Aware that the same slacks were available across the street at a competitor, the associate secured some petty cash from her department manager, marched across the street to a rival department store, where she bought the slacks (at full price), returned to Nordstrom and then sold them to the customer for the marked-down Nordstrom price. Obviously, Nordstrom didn’t make money on that sale, but it was an investment in promoting the loyalty of an appreciative customer, who, more than likely, thought of Nordstrom for her next purchase.

As these stories are spread throughout the organization, employees soon see that the people who run the company encourage, honor and reward outstanding acts of customer service. They discover that management is not just giving lip service to customer service, but actually doing something about it.

Do they provide a great value for the dollar?

On Sunday I bought a pair of Nordstorm brand "dockers" for $79.50
I could have went to Macys and gotten a pair of Docker brand "dockers" for $29.98

Why did I spend $50 more at Nordstrom?
It felt good doing it. Because of the customer experience and customer service.

Ok back to my friend who opended a "discount" Real Estate office in California. He called me to ask my advice. See for the past year his business has been struggling. The "Walmart" of real estate wasn't working. So we started talking about the differences between Walmart and Nordstrom’s and why his business is failing.
It all came down to Customer Experience and Customer Service. It doesn’t matter how little you charge if you fail in those 2 areas.

By the end our 3 hour conversation I had plans on visiting him to coach his team I told him I would send him the famous Nordstrom's Employee Handbook to model his new business after.

For many years, new employees were given a copy of the famous Nordstrom's Employee Handbook -- a single 5 x 8 inch gray card containing 75 words:

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 your good judgment in all situations.
There will be no additional rules.

Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager or division general manager any question at any time.

Who do you Model your busisness after?
Remember building your busisness its all about building relationships.

Thanks for spending 3 minutes with me...
The best is yet to be!

On Your Team
Jeffrey Stanton
Your Trusted Advisor For Life

One of the fastest ways to build a successful referral based business is by training. Now, with me, I like to invest significant time immersing myself in training, while some people prefer to take it in bite-size chunks. Whatever your preference is, now is the best time to contact me.

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