Yesterday I wrote about an “Epic Shoe Fail” that went down when I purchased shoes from Nordstrom. I wrote the blog in part to share what I feel was a real service/experience let-down. It was. What I didn’t expect, however, was the immediately proactive response from Nordstrom: via Twitter.
Within an hour of posting the blog on Twitter and tagging @Nordstrom in the tweet I received the following reply:
@MattPlughoff We are sorry to have disappointed you. Can you please DM us what happened? We would like to help!”
I was impressed with the speed of the response, the offer for help, and the opportunity to take the conversation “off line” (which makes sense for privacy reasons–no need to engage in character assassination). I responded:
“Your salesman: uninformative,poorly prepared,unenthusiastic,coercive threw your Acct program under the bus. Details:https://thethankyounote.wordpress.com”
At that point @Nordstrom and I began a series of DMs. @Nordstrom’s representative was courteous, empathetic, apologetic, and assured me that my remarks would be passed to the appropriate manager for follow up:
“Reading about your experience, I can understand your frustration. We apologize for not meeting your expectations. Can you please let us know what store this happened at and your contact information? We would like to get you in contact with the store manager. – Darnell” (these are two tweets connected together as the first exceeded 140 characters)
I have heard these promises before. Not to sound overly skeptical, but I wondered if I’d actually hear from a Nordstrom manager. I wrote:
“I’m grateful for the personalized follow-up. Results pending… Thank you very much.”
I DM’d @Nordstrom my contact information and waited to see the results…which happened very quickly. Within an hour of finishing our DM conversation my phone rang. It was the store manager. She opened with an introduction and an apology. She continued to say that she was “humbled” by the post, confirming that the employee did a poor job in both his role as a salesperson and as a Nordstrom brand ambassador. She continued to express appreciation for the critique, citing the blog content. She’d actually read the post and was prepared to speak to specific details. She again apologized and said she hoped the singular experience wasn’t going to deter my decision to shop at Nordstrom (it won’t anymore). The call was brief–maybe 10 minutes long. But the manager was gracious, apologetic without being an ass-kisser, and firm in her conviction that my comments would be used to help the store improve total service. It was great. Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, it was fast. Proactive problem solving on the most personal level will cure almost all service failures.
We thanked each other at the end of the call. The manager thanked me for the critique and I thanked her for the awesomely fast response. We’re in an Experience Economy. And retail work is hard work. But when someone drops the ball the choice is instantaneously simple: Ignore the customer and destroy your business’ brand OR engage them on a personal level and ask them to help co-create your business brand. Norsdstrom nailed it yesterday. Their brand is, in my mind, in much better shape than it was the week before.