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The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence: The Handbook For Becoming the "nordstrom" of Your Industry, Second Edition by Patrick McCarthy, Robert Spector

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Chapter 2

Hire With Care

Finding the Right Fit for the Culture

In our system, employees must have a competitive spirit because we start comparing them the day they walk in the door. That’s one of the best ways we know how to improve. If we have competitive people, we can accomplish something.

—James F. Nordstrom (1940–1996)

Nordstrom is not just another department store. Many people think of a department store as a place where you hang out for a while before you get a real job. At most other department stores, employees are clerks—powerless functionaries, who slavishly follow the rules, don’t make waves, and don’t give very good service. At Nordstrom, the worst thing you can say about a salesperson is that he or she is just “clerking” it.

Nordstrom is looking to hire entrepreneurs—empowered self-starters, who seize opportunities to create and build their own businesses; to be franchisees within the larger Nordstrom franchise.

Nordstrom management is keenly aware that every employee will eventually have an impact on the customer experience—whether on the front lines or in a support position. Consequently, because the company empowers employees to treat the business as if it were their own, it looks for entrepreneurs who create excitement and passion around their business, and who can also build strong relationships, both with the customer and with other team members throughout the entire company.

In the words of Niccolo Machiavelli, the Italian author and historian of the fifteenth ...

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