Do You Practice a “Culture of Excellence”?

It was another item on my checklist; Order more Spanx from Nordstrom’s during their annual hosiery sale. So I made a call to the Chicago store and asked for Ms. Murphy (no relation to me) who has helped me previous years and after a brief chat, she happily took my order. Good..Done…Next…

Weeks passed and I noticed that I had not received my order, but got busy and figured the order was on the way…still no order.

Finally back in town I called to check on status, only to find out Ms. Murphy was no longer in that department, but had transferred to another department; “please hold and we’ll connect you”.

Hey Ms. M! How are you doing? This is your “sister” Terri. “Where the heck are my Spanx?”

She could not believe I had not received them, and asked if she could call me back. Upon checking, she learned that the order was “deleted” because our names were the same and the manager got confused so the order was never processed. These things happen, but how Ms. Murphy handled the situation was pure Nordstrom.

Within minutes, Ms. Murphy called me back, explained the problem and apologized profusely. She explained the mix-up, and although she was no longer in that department, she not only filled the order, but arranged for both the sale price and special shipping at no extra charge to me so I would receive the order in rapid time.

How many times have we had to endure crummy customer service? It would have been simple for Ms. “M” to tell me she was no longer in that department and she was “sorry”. But instead, she upheld the Nordstrom employee handbook. It is only one page with a simple message. It reads:

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 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.”

Would your employees respond in this manner? Does the company you work with or for strive for a culture of excellence? Do you hire employees that commit to this level of excellence? Nordstrom has no logo, no by line, just a culture of excellence for which they are known.

It is certainly not about the product. Most products are commodities that are available elsewhere, as are Spanx. The experience is the big differentiator here. At a tough economic time for retailers who battle online competition, discount stores, rip offs and multiple sources of competition, one shining key to customer satisfaction remains…how the customer FEELS about buying from you…again and again and again. We’ve heard about Nordstrom’s policy and their high standards are cited daily by speakers, trainers and influencers somewhere every day….what a brand!

Here’s the key: Leaders set the bar, and then hire those people who commit to the same standards and then you’ve got more than a chance to thrive and survive in today’s market. So how do your customers feel about doing business with you? Do you even know? The ultimate measure is your bottom line.

About the Author

Terri Murphy

Have you ever wondered how to cut thru the chatter to connect with prospects and make real profits? Specializing in communication strategies that build relationships with clients and customers, Terri understands the unmatchable power of connection to create more sales in today’s competitive marketplace. Terri brings a depth of experience and education to the sales Industry. Terri performed at the top of the sales industry for over 25 years. Today she is a full time consultant, speaker and spokesperson for sales and marketing companies worldwide. Her expertise is directed to developing and leveraging relational capital that supports building community. Terri knows how to build communication bridges blending traditional and online strategies, distance learning and cutting edge plat forms that result in creating vibrant communities that buy! Terri has produced and hosted both television and radio programs, and been featured on ABC, NBC and CNBC News as a sales industry expert. She is also a regular guest on WREGTV’s Live@9 for Women in Business.