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    Mondays with Mac: It All starts at the Top

    December 29, 2008 1886 Views

    A service culture doesn't happen by accident. The company is always a reflection of the person at the helm. Their attitude, their values, and their commitment to service excellence will drive the actions of the others in the organization. Always has...always will.

    A woman who worked at Nordstrom in the 1980s told a story about Bruce Nordstrom walking through her department one day. Bruce spotted a can of pop on the counter. He picked it up, deposited it in the wastebasket and continued on his way. He didn't ask who was responsible for the can being on the counter, and he didn't order an employee to take it away. He just did it himself. The woman who told this story went on to run her own successful business. But she never forgot the day she saw the chairman of the company set an example for her-without uttering a word.

    Despite their success, Nordstrom continues to project an image of small town modesty and humility. They say there is nothing magical about what they do and that the system is embarrassingy simple. "We out- service, not outsmart" is a typical Nordstromism. They rarely talk about themselves. "We can't afford to boast. If we did, we might start to believe our own stories and quit trying to get better." In fact, when Bruce Nordstrom was selected as Man of the Year by Footware News, he politely declined to be interviewed.

    "It's not about us," said Bruce's son, Blayke, who described the role of his family members as "stewards of the business culture." " We are here to help everyone to achieve their goals. We just try to create an atmosphere where people feel valued, trusted, and respected. We want each person to have a proprietary feeling and an entrepreneurial spirit. The magic happens when all these things come together."

    There is a rule of thumb in business that your people will only treat the customers as well as they are being treated. Therefore, it should be no surprise that Nordstrom has always been known for their exceptional customer service.

    The Nordstrom employee handbook reflects the culture they have created. Here's what it says ( a total of 75 words):

    Welcome to Nordstrom
    We're glad you are 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.
    We have only one rule...
    Use good judgement in all situations. There will be no other rules. Please feel free to ask your Department Manager, Store Manager or Human Resource office any question at any time.

    What can I say except...Less is almost always more!

    Service Lesson Learned:
    Simplify to succeed.


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