Do superheroes really exist?
Do they run around wearing tights and capes, scaling buildings and flying through the air on a quest to right the wrongs of the world?
Well, the first part we know is true: heroes exist. But instead of flying above us, they walk among us, blending into the masses.
In fact you’ve probably encountered the hero in this story before.You remember this hero because they served up an unbeatable customer service experience.
This hero I speak of is the staff at Nordstrom.
The company is known not only for its killer shoe selection, but its tremendous customer service, as well. In fact, superior customer service has become a staple for the brand.
Here are a few of their best moments and most famous storytelling examples.
Refunding tires, recovering diamonds
Legend has it that a customer in Fairbanks, Alaska attempted to return a set of tires he’d purchased a while back from another store at the same location.
The Nordstrom salesperson accepted the tires and refunded the man’s money — no questions asked and without hesitation. The sales rep even personally returned the tires to the their rightful owner later on.
True or not, the story is an example of Nordstrom’s no-questions-asked return policy and the lengths it will go to please customers.
In another story, a woman in North Carolina lost the diamond from her wedding ring while trying on clothes at a Nordstrom store.
When a security guard saw her crawling around on the floor under the racks, he asked what was happening and got down to help her. She was then joined by two building-service workers in the search.
They searched far and wide until they recovered the diamond, at the bottom of a dirty vacuum-cleaner bag.
These stories epitomize the department store’s incredible customer service, which goes above and beyond the standard of the retail industry. Nordstrom’s brand story IS their customer service.
Jamie Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom Direct, shared that Nordstrom has the same goal every year: improve customer service. He goes on to explain how in the end, great customer service helps you sell more, no matter where the transactions are coming from because customers value truly great customer service and experiences even more than great products.
The tale of the two-day tux
Perhaps the most talked about Nordstrom service story is the Armani tuxedo story.
Legend has it that a Nordstrom customer in Portland, Oregon was looking for an Armani tuxedo for his daughter’s wedding. The Nordstrom saleswoman took his measurements just in case one was found.
The next day, the customer received a call, informing him that the tux was available. The man was astonished. How on earth did the saleswoman pull this off? Not satisfied with her response of “magic,” he pressed her for the full story.
The sales rep explained that she had used her own connections to find one in New York, which she managed to get onto a Chicago-bound delivery truck where someone would then pick it up.
The following day, the tux was shipped to the customer’s address, and the customer was delighted to find that it was already altered to his measurements and ready to wear. What’s more impressive is the department store didn’t even sell Armani tuxedos at the time.
Legends build loyalty: The power of a good brand story in marketing
Call it fact or call it fiction fiction; either way, one thing is for certain: these events make for truly powerful brand stories.
More than that, these stories have helped build brand loyalty for the company because emphasize and reinforce a predominant company value: extraordinary customer service.
As the term “brand storytelling” becomes more common, so does the panic of marketers who frantically wonder what their brand story is.
Most are so focused on reproducing what worked for some other brand that they bypass what may be truly unique about their own brand. Yet most marketers indicate the desire for better quality content.
These Nordstrom stories are a product of the company’s core value of improving customer service. Follow in their footsteps by living your brand’s core values, and the result will be countless brand stories of your own.
P.S.: We recently create a complete resource on brand storytelling, talking about ROI and loaded with examples. Learn more about it it here: 'Storytelling in Marketing' guide.
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