SEMA eNews Vol. 12, No. 38, September 24, 2009

To Deliver Excellent Customer Service, Think Like the Customer

  Nordstrom Store Front
  Learn Nordstrom's nine principles of customer service and apply them to your business.

Customer service is not a strategy, it’s a way of life. That’s the key sentiment delivered by Robert Spector, author of "The Nordstrom Way," during the recent SEMA Webinar, "The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service."

Spector began the presentation by asking attendees to consider their operations and answer the following questions:

  1. Am I offering a better product or service than my competitors?
  2. Am I selling a less expensive product or services than my competitors?
  3. Am I offering customer service that is superior to that of my competitors?

“If your answer to one or two is no, than your answer to three must be yes, or you will not survive as a company,” said Spector. He explains that in most industries, products are very similar, give or take a feature or two, and the same holds true for services. And pricing is generally in the same ballpark. Customer service is the one area where companies have the most control over to gain a competitive edge over the competition.

Customer Service is Not a Strategy

Some companies will explain their customer service strategy in advertising or as a company initiative to employees. This approach, Spector relays, is a mistake. “Classifying customer service as a strategy makes it sound like a temporary thing. Whether business is up or down, customer service is a way of life. It’s the customer that determines whether your company will succeed or fail.”

Each Employee is in the Customer Service Department

Spector explains that regardless of your job title, you are in the customer service department. This reality is a key factor that will differentiate your company from the competition.

"Delivering great customer service is not for wimps; it's a proactive part of business that needs to be done everyday."

Think Like the Customer

If you were a customer of your company, how would you want to be treated? “All of us are customers at some point of the day,” said Spector. “We know what represents good service, and we know what represents bad service.” However, most companies are set up to make things easier for the company and don’t always consider what's best for the customer.

Spector says that almost every move that your company makes should have the customer in mind from the outset. "Excellent customer service is more than buying and selling products
and services, it's seeing your customer as a person," he said.
"It's about coming in contact with a customer, identifying that customer's
specific needs and taking care of them."

The Nine Principles of Customer Service

Download the entire presentation to hear about Nordstrom's nine principles of customer service and how they apply to any business.

SEMA's Webinar Program:
The SEMA webinar program brings the world-class business seminars
featured during the SEMA Show right to your desktop. Different
business-building sessions are constantly added to the program,
offering members the latest insight and practices from today’s leading
speakers.

All SEMA webinars are conducted live and are open to
all employees of SEMA-member companies free of charge. To participate,
all you need is a computer with Internet access and a telephone. All
previous SEMA webinars are available for download. Learn more about SEMA webinars and view upcoming presentations.

 

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