Culture Empowerment and The Nordstrom Way – Evolution of the Customer Experience

What brands come to mind when you think of good customer service?

Immediately for me, it’s USAA, Amazon and Nordstrom.

USAA is always available, offers multiple ways for me to contact them, is always pleasant and gets me to a resolution almost always on the first try.

Amazon, again, provides me with multiple ways to contact them, and has a great self-service service site. It also has seamless integration with its app when I want to review a purchase or track a package.

Nordstrom, who is no stranger to being in the news for innovation and customer service, always stands out on top. NICE had the pleasure of being a part of a webcast recently with Salesforce and Robert Spector who gave some insight into The Nordstrom Way and why the company seems to stay on top of the customer experience. There were three main takeaways I have from this webcast: culture, empowerment and tailoring the customer experience.


Nordstrom has changed with the times to keep up with their customers, not making their customers keep up with them. Spector said that the company is different now than it was 5 years ago, and it will continue to change as customers’ needs change. However, there are nonnegotiable company values that stay intact through innovation.

When service employees fit into the company culture, they want to do better and provide better service is innate. The employee feels valued, in turn willing to present a better experience for the customer.


Spector talked a lot about employee empowerment in the webcast, and he brought up the example of Intuit. Intuit is known to focus on its employees, empowering them to make decisions while involved in a customer experience. Whether or not they make mistakes, they know that they have the availability to try and attend to the customer need in the way they feel is best. This empowerment allows the employee to feel valued, in turn creating loyalty to the company, their role, and trickling down to the loyalty of the customer as they receive the best possible experience.

It creates a culture of, “you answered my question, you helped me, why would I go anywhere else?”

We’ve seen in recent research that customers are not scared to switch companies due to a bad experience, so why not ensure they stay with you, even if it means letting go of a little control to build trust. And this is something believed and practiced at Nordstrom.

Tailoring the Customer Experience

Nordstrom has innovated its offerings – providing more focus on its online operations, Nordstrom Rack and adding additional shopping features such as curbside delivery to meet its customers’ needs. Spector said that customers are expecting that companies know them – what they want, what their tastes are, and the best way to communicate with them.

An important part of this is removing silos so customers don’t have to navigate them, making the experience “personalized, frictionless and proactive.”

Have you ever received a coupon in your email, or through text message, and followed through with that offer either at the store or by phone and the customer service representative has no idea what you’re talking about? That’s a frustrating experience, and one that would likely make you go from one brand to another.

But imagine that you receive the coupon, you follow through and the company has all your information already queued up, ready to redeem that coupon and you don’t have to provide any additional information. This would certainly keep me as a customer.

Bottom line – brands that are good at understanding their customers and what they are asking for will stay on top. We need to up the service expectations within ourselves, our companies and our employees to be sure our customers are satisfied.

Click here to watch the webcast if you missed it, you’ll be glad you spent this time with Robert Spector, I promise.

What were your takeaways if you already saw the webcast?