Sunday, April 9, 2017

Video: Dan Coughlin: Example: Nordstrom: Equity in Branding via Premium Customer Service

Here is an awesome example of customer service by the speaker Dan Coughlin.

Key Statement: There is equity in branding.

Most of know that we “should” give good customer service, but in crunch time, some of us are willing to sacrifice this when we’re in a tight spot and “don’t have time.”  This is probably because (in the moment) we don’t see what we’re really sacrificing.

See Also: This 1 Simple Idea Will Get You More Business

Here’s a great story about exceptional customer service that outdoes most of us…. and it’s from a pretty big company… Nordstrom.

If you’d rather watch the video on YouTube, here is the link:

How can Nordstrom teach us about the VALUE of customer service?  More importantly, what are we MISSING by NOT providing it?

Great Speaker with Big Problem
Dan Coughlin, the speaker in the video, was telling us about a time when he was driving from St. Louis to Chicago to give a talk.  Part way there, he realized he forgot to bring a shirt and a jacket.  By the time he realized it, it was too late to return home, and his talk started too early the next morning to be able to go the store to buy a new jacket and shirt.

He thought to himself that he’d call the Nordstrom store in Chicago.  He called and asked whether he could have a jacket and shirt ready… and pressed… for him to pick up when he got there.

One problem?  He was scheduled to get there around 9:30 pm… but the Nordstrom store was going to close at 9:00 pm.

No Problem - Nordstrom to the Rescue
HOWEVER…they responded, “Our store closes at 9:00 pm, but I’ll keep the store open for you… and you can stop in and pick it up when you get here.”

Nordstrom was going to keep the store open for him, but that’s not even the best part…

…was once he got there…

When he arrived there around 9:25 pm (almost a half-hour after the store officially was closed), he went into the store and explained that he was the person on the phone who was coming in late.

Nordstrom – What happened once he got there?
A man in the back heard Dan Coughlin ask about the jacket and the shirt calling between St. Louis and Chicago.

This attendant said, “Oh, Dan, I was waiting for you.  Here’s a cold bottle of water.  I just thought you might not have a chance to get anything to drink before you got here."

They got a LATE customer… coming into the store AFTER HOURS… a bottle of water.  Not only did they keep open the store for him, but they also thought to get him a bottle of water (since he probably hurried to get there as soon as he could all of the way from St. Louis).

The attended continued, “Here’s the jacket.  Here’s the shirt.  Let’s try them on and make sure they fit.”

The shirt and jacket looked great and fit perfectly.

Then the attendant offered, “Here are 2 more shirts that I think would go well with that jacket. What do you think?”

Coughlin responded that he’d take the additional shirts.  In all, he spent $1000 that night… a pretty good sale for these fellows.

The Equity in Branding with Customer Service
Coughlin asked the crowd (in the video) why, do we think, he thought of calling Nordstom?

3 years earlier, he was in a Nordstrom store with his 3-year-old son, he had 4 or 5 pairs of shoes polished.  He went to pay for the shoes, and the man behind the counter asked whether he needed help (since his hands were full between the shoes and holding his young son’s hand).

What did this attendant do?

The attendant picked up the bag of shoes.
He walked through Nordstrom.
He walked into the parking lot.
He put the shoes into the truck of Coughlin’s car.

The Nordstrom attendant did all of this so that Coughlin could hold onto his son’s hand.

3 years later after that when Coughlin was in a jam and needed to think of a solution, the very first company he thought to call was Nordstrom… because of what they did for him 3 years earlier.

NOW…do you see the equity in branding?  What do you think is the value in that?
Coughlin mentioned that when you provide extraordinary service to your customers, the very first person that they’re going to think of when they’re in a legal jam is lawyer referral and information services.

“By providing extraordinary service, you don’t know who the gabby customers are going to be.”

As a national speaker, Coughlin has shared this story about Nordstrom’s exceptional customer service with about 5,000 people.  When you give great customer service, you don’t know which customers are going to tell other customers about your service.

What is branding?
“Branding is the perception of value that the customer thinks they receive when they buy from that organization. (…or a prospective customer thinks they will get…)”

“The stronger your brand is, the more likely you are to get the calls from the type of people you want to get the calls from.”
Who is Dan Coughlin?
According to his website, Dan Coughlin is a management consultant, keynote speaker, executive coach, and seminar leader.  He teaches The Any Person Mindset Management Approach, a practical method for improving performance in a sustainable way. It’s based on his core belief that any person can make a significant difference in an organization, but no one is born with the necessary traits but rather learned thinking traits.  Among others, some of this clients are (or have been) McDonald’s, Toyota, Marriott, BJC HealthCare, Coca-Cola, GE, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Shell Oil, RE/MAX, Subway, Abbott, Prudential, Boeing, Cisco Systems, American Cancer Society, and the St. Louis Cardinals.

My Takeaways
Nordstrom is a wonderful company, and this example SHOULD remove our oft-used excuse that we “don’t have time” to give that much customer service.  Another excuse many of us use is some variation of “People will just take advantage of us.”

While it’s true that there are some jerks who will abuse our far-reaching generosity as business people wanting to make an exceptional impression on you, most people just want to get what they want, at the very least.  When they get more than they expect, that’s when you become “refer-able.”

Do you like referrals?

If a company as big as Nordstrom can provide this top-notch customer service, I look at myself and realize that I don’t really have any excuse to, at least, match THEIR level.

To be honest, I’ll give great customer service… SOMETIMES… but not always… not nearly often enough.

Maybe I’m not big enough.  In fact, maybe I should be asking myself the question, how can I get to be big enough so that I CAN MAKE SURE that me… or my brand… can give exceptional customer service… every time?  What can I do so that people automatically associate great customer service as a key part of MY brand?

More importantly, what can YOU do differently?  What can you do to improve within your interactions?  Within your order fulfillment?  With your follow-up?

What can you do to become big enough to make sure there is always time to provide the best customer service… so that it becomes part of YOUR brand?

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