The Nordstrom Way: The Inside Story of America's #1 Customer Service Company

A can-do attitude, a positive personality, and a strong work ethic are still the primary ingredients for success at Nordstrom.

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Focus on winning one customer at a time. Be honest and sincere. Do what’s right. There’s nothing magical about this.’ That’s been my guiding principle. To make it work, you have to live it every day. Make it your mind-set.

Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage.

No one manages until he or she has “walked in the shoes” of those being managed.

Nordstrom believes that great service begins with showing courtesy to everyone—customers, employees, and vendors.

Nordstrom is looking to hire entrepreneurs—empowered self-starters, who seize opportunities to create and build their own businesses; to be franchisees within the larger Nordstrom franchise.

Our people don’t have one look, one background, one culture,” says Erik. “The common thread is they are themselves. They are genuine.

People always ask me, how do you teach core values? The answer is, you don’t. The goal is not to get people to share your core values. It’s to get people who already share your core values.

Recognition is powerful, as long as it’s authentic and specific. Whatever their level on the inverted pyramid, employees wants to feel needed and valued.

Social media guidelines are shared with all employees who participate and are posted for the public to view at the company website.

That was a tremendous learning experience,” said McCarthy. “Never judge a book by its cover; open it up. If you treat a kid who is buying a $19.95 belt the same as a businessman buying a $1,995 Oxford suit, you will be successful. That kid might become a customer for life.

The Nordstrom corollary to that philosophy is hire the smile, train the skill.

There are three groups of people with respect to empowerment: Those who get it. Those who really want to get it. Those who probably will never get it.

These core values include: Creating a customer-first service mentality. Producing an honest and ethical way of doing business. Delivering compelling value. Treating people with respect. Rewarding hard work and results. Choosing to err on the customer’s behalf.

Values define who we are, and if they change we will become something else,” Peter Nordstrom wrote in the employee publication, Loop. He described practices as “ways of doing things” and “behaviors that express our values.