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Customer Service & Relationship Management at Nordstorm

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

1.0 Learning Issues 1. What is "inverted pyramid?" Inverting the organization pyramid chart, the bottom level of the chart which is normally the front-liner become the top of the chart whereas the board of director which is initially at the top shift to the bottom. It means that the company is empowering the employees, moving the responsibility and decision making down to the people that have direct contact to the customers. It increased the importance of the front-liner. Besides, it also gains the employees satisfaction through this inverted pyramid. 2. Why Nordstrom provide freedom, resources and support to employees to make decision? Nordstrom implementing customer-focused services strategy, front-line employees are those who interact face-to-face with the customers. By empowering the employees; any problem occurs can be solved on the spot by the employees without going through the process to inform the superior. Besides, it can fulfill the employees' intrinsic need and let them that their personal contribution is as important as their work. 3. What is "up-channel policies"? From the reading, this "up-channel policies" is a set of agreement between Nordstrom and its suppliers. This agreement is positioned on maximizing customer satisfaction as well as building a close relationship between the company and the suppliers. Actually, this "up-channel policies" is associated with the "unconditional return policy". Former CEO Bruce Nordstrom said: "If somebody has worn a shoe and it doesn't wear satisfactorily for them, and we think that person is honest about it, then we will send it back." Nordstrom is built around a customer-oriented philosophy. This explains if suppliers are going to do business with them, they have to accept the commitment of the return policy. In other words, they should liberally accept the returned goods. Of course, if Nordstrom found out there is someone who abuse this "unconditional return policy", Nordstrom will not impose that abuse onto their vendors. This is how Nordstrom show their concerns and appreciations on top of the vendors' efforts. ...read more.

Middle

Furthermore, it also will drive employee productivity. For example, Nordstrom's employees empowered to make independent decision. The employees will strive to perform well and done their jobs perfectly because they are trusted by the company and satisfied with that. Employee Retention Drives Employee Productivity Traditional measures of the losses incurred by employee turnover are only concentrating on the cost of recruiting, hiring, and training replacement. In recent service jobs, the real cost of employee turnover is the loss of productivity and decreased customer satisfaction. Retain a company's employee can improve employee productivity, because existing employee have better experience, knowledge, and skills in doing their jobs. They know how to serve a particular customer or solve the complex problem. Thus, they can complete the jobs faster and better. Besides, hiring the new employee can increase company's training cost and that during the training period and a time following, the employee is not functioning at maximum efficiency. Employees working at Nordstrom for long time period have better knowledge, experience, and skills in serving customers. For example, Nordstrom's employee travel from department to another to assist customer shop for suits, blouses, shoes, and so on. It can building long term relationship with customers, as long time, the salesperson can understands the customer's fashion sense and personality. As a result, it can drives employee productivity. Employee Retention/Productivity Drives Value Employee retention/productivity, when viewed in the context of the service profit chain, it may represent the greatest source of value-added to customers. This is because loyal employee or even employee with higher productivity will have ability, necessary skill, experience, and knowledge to deliver high service value to satisfy needs and wants of the customers. Therefore, Customer can receive higher service value from a company if the company's employee productivity/retention rate is high and vice versa. Nordstrom provide customer fairly pricey clothing, offset by personalized service and an overall service guarantee that can't be beat: customer can return an item for any reason and refund promptly is provided with a smile, no questions asked. ...read more.

Conclusion

(g) Live Help (The Web) Recognizing the high customer service expectations of the Nordstrom customer, Nordstrom.com has built it site with a "Live Help" to ensure that help is always available when the customer needs it. This "Live Help" feature is operated by twenty personal shoppers who are trained in all Nordstrom products. They help people navigate to make their purchases and allow customers to ask any question. For example, a visitor would click on "Live Help" and asked "I need something to wear to a wedding". Instead of just pointing the customer to the formal dresses section, the personal shopper would send a reply to ask whether the dress is for day use or night use and how formal it is. Besides, this "Live Help" allow customers to chat online with the salesperson in real time. Customer can interact with the Nordstrom's salespeople at any location as long as there is an internet service available. This may reduce the customer's waiting time; keep the customer always satisfied with the act in response of Nordstrom, and closer the relationship between Nordstrom and customers. Due to the customer can ask any question, the salesperson navigate the customer to the specified product and the real time conversation, it also gives the customers a feeling as though a salesperson is right there to assist them. Because "Live Help" is a technology-facilitated service encounter, the customer and salesperson are no longer physically together (no face-to-face contacts, less customer touch points, less sensory stimulations). Customer and salesperson communicate through "words typing". Customers are holding off from the salesperson's attitudes, the poise, voice tone and the appearance. Customer cannot evaluate the service provided objectively. Thus, it will affect the overall impression and service experience they have with Nordstrom. As a conclusion, although there are advantages and disadvantages in these customer approaches, but Nordstrom has made the right decision to provide such superior customer services to the customers. These unique customer services aim at providing a memorable experience to the customers, which, in turn will lead to customer satisfaction and customer loyalty, and ultimately, long term profit and growth. ...read more.

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