U.S. retailer Nordstrom opens its second Canadian location today, at Ottawa’s Rideau Centre. The Seattle-based luxury department store chain is, among other things, famous for its impeccable customer service, as Carol Toller wrote about recently in our feature story on the retailer’s Canadian rollout:
Attention, Canadian retailers: The customer service bar has been raised. As Nordstrom advances into Canada, experts say its gobsmackingly extraordinary service will make it tough to beat in a looming battle of the posh department stores. “They’ve hammered that home and inculcated it into every aspect of their operations,” says Kozinets, who heads the global retail management specialization at the Schulich School of Business. “Nordstrom just goes above and beyond in a way that customers never forget. I mean, everybody has a Nordstrom story.”
Well, maybe not everybody—not yet, anyway. But the stories that American Nordstrom shoppers tell about the store’s approach to customer service leave seem almost too good to be true. We assembled this collection of Nordstrom customer service experiences and threw in some made-up ones too. Can you tell which ones are too good to be true?
True or False?
At a Nordstrom store in Connecticut, a member of the cleaning staff found bags that a customer had left behind in the parking lot. One bag contained a flight itinerary, and when he looked at it, the cleaner realized the customer was probably en route to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to catch a plane. He found a phone number for her and tried calling several times. When he couldn’t reach her, he headed to the airport with her bags. At JFK, he had her paged and was finally able to deliver her purchases.True or False
When a courier delivered a $200 pair of shoes to a customer, he left them outside in the rain. The shoes were ruined. Legally, it wasn’t Nordstrom’s responsibility to replace the footwear, but when the customer called the store, the salesperson didn’t ask him to file a claim with the delivery company. Instead, she said, “I’m so incredibly sorry that happened, and I’m bringing over a brand new pair of shoes. Will you be home in 45 minutes?” He was, and she did.True or False
A businesswoman was boarding a flight to San Francisco to attend a busy day of meetings, and before even sitting down, she spilled a latte all over her suit. She tried to wash it off, but her clothes were a mess. When she arrived at her hotel, her concierge called Nordstrom. The store wasn’t open yet, but the manager agreed to open up anyway, and ushered the woman in through the employee entrance. An hour later, the businesswoman had a new outfit and was back at her meetings. And her coffee-drenched clothes? They were sent to Nordstrom’s tailor for a quick stain-removal treatment.True or False
A Washington University student was trying on jackets at a Nordstrom store and left his school bag in a change room. He didn’t notice the bag was missing until the next morning, when he woke up early to do his math assignment. The work was due later that morning, and just as he began to panic, his phone rang. It was a store employee, who had found the bag and was offering to drop it by the student’s apartment on his way into work. When the grateful undergrad opened up his book later that morning, he got another pleasant surprise: The assignment had been completed by the Nordstrom employee.True or False
Two Canadian women visiting Seattle were shopping in a Nordstrom store when one of them had her purse stolen. The store manager promptly took the women to the Nordstrom restaurant, and while they waited for the police to arrive, they were fed chocolates, drinks and, eventually, entire meals. Because their car keys were gone, the manager had a locksmith cut a new key and then presented the women with an envelope filled with $400 in cash and an invitation to choose a new purse from the accessories department. The pair left the store with a complimentary bottle of champagne to take back to Canada—and fond memories of Nordstrom.True or False
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