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Nordstrom and 110% service

August 23, 2010

Recently we facilitated a storytelling workshop for Accenture in Melbourne when Jon Kaehne shared how he used storytelling to solve a customer problem.

Jon was in a meeting where the CEO and Supply Chain Executive were disputing what the firm’s supply chain service levels should be – 95%? 96%? 97%?  Unable to reach agreement, they turned to Jon for a point of view.  Not wanting to take sides or pluck a figure out of thin air Jon responded with this story.

Business Storytelling“A few years ago I was in Portland, Oregon and my wife Dianne had given me a long shopping list which included a very specific pair of Guess jeans. I was in Nordstrom (a US department store), and loaded down with shopping bags, went to the ladies wear department to look for Dianne’s jeans.  The sales assistant said, ‘We don’t stock Guess jeans but can I interest you in a pair of Diesel or Lee jeans?’ I said it’s for my wife and I had specific instructions for this exact pair of Guess jeans.  The assistant then said, ‘Are you happy to leave your bags here with another staff member and come with me?’.

I agreed and she escorted me out of the store and down the street to the Guess store.  She introduced me by name to the Guess sales assistant who found the jeans I was after and I completed my purchase.  I then returned with the Nordstrom sales assistant to Nordstrom to get my bags that they were holding for me.  What is the relevance of this story? Nordstrom’s customer service level was 110%.  That is the right answer for any firm’s service levels”.

Jon then told us that the client just looked at him and said “I love you guys”!

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