NORDSTROM THE SHOE COMPANY
In order to outperform the competition companies are developing ways to bring customer value to create loyalty. The new way of doing business is by reversing the traditional organization pyramid where the customer is at the bottom and executive management is literally on top. Successful companies have reverse the pyramid and put the customer on top and even along the sides. These companies empower front line employees to provide the customer the outmost satisfaction. Nordstrom certainly can be put in this category. This is my story of how I became loyal to their brand.
My first job in high school was at a department store in South Coast Plaza. A friend worked there and he told me that they were hiring at the department store. I needed spending money so needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity. The first time I entered through the employees’ door at the rear of the store, I had to walk up the stairwell to the time clock. As I looked up the wall, I noticed in big bright white stenciled letters the phrase “THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT.” At sixteen, I really didn’t know what it really meant. It took me a couple of days before I learned the name of the company, Nordstrom. I worked there for about three weeks in their Petite Focus department as a clothing runner. Basically, I would get pieces of clothing from the dressing rooms and put them back on the racks. I worked long hours, boring at times, but I liked the pay check.
A year later, during their famous Semi-Annual Sale, they were hiring again and I returned to work at their Women Shoes department. Not until I worked there the second time did I realize that Nordstrom had four different shoe departments: Women Shoes; Men Shoes; Brass Plum; Children Shoes. Why so many shoe departments I asked myself? Nordstrom began as a shoe store and eventually became that department store that it is. I worked in the stock room where there were 25 to 30 rows of ten feet high shelves with hundreds of shoe boxes all for this one department. So many kinds of shoe models, colors and sizes.
I remember shoe salesmen running back to the stock room wearing three hundred dollar suits swearing left and right about the “bitch” that had tried on 12 pairs of shoes and she bought none. Or the lady whose feet were too wide and the shoes had to be stretched to fit her. But once the salesmen returned to the floor to meet the customer, they were the nicest, most polite people you would ever meet. “The customer is always right.” I recalled seeing the slogan twice a day in the employees’ stairway. This is when it clicked. Whatever the client did, say, or want, the salesman was there to provide the service he or she deserved. I admired the salesmen and the people that worked there.
I’m a client now and their service is one of the best I’ve encountered. I may be bias, but I have not had a bad experience to date. I developed a relationship with Nordstrom when I was an employee. As a customer, I have loyalty to their brand. This is the place I buy most of my kids’ shoes. They always have what I’m looking for and if they don’t, they’ll find it for me. When the employee is constantly reminded what the company’s values are, they act on them. Nordstrom exceeds in communicating these values. And their clients, like me, will always be loyal for those same values.