A few years ago, Blake Nordstrom, copresident of the company with his two brothers, scheduled a lunch with the chief executive officer of another famous Seattle company. The CEO asked Blake if he wouldn't mind stopping by the tailor shop of the downtown Seattle Nordstrom flagship store on his way to the lunch, and bring with him a couple of pairs of slacks that the CEO had arranged to have altered.
“Blake said, ‘Sure, no problem,’” the CEO remembered. By the time the two executives met for lunch, both of them had forgotten about the pants. “That evening at nine o'clock, there's a knock at my door. There's Blake with those two pairs of pants. I said, ‘Man, that's what I call service.’”
In a sense, Blake's personally delivering those pants is the perfect metaphor for The Nordstrom Way. Nordstrom's culture encourages entrepreneurial, motivated men and women to make the extra effort to give customer service that is unequaled. “Not service like it used to be, but service that never was,” reported Morley Safer in a profile of the company on the CBS television program 60 Minutes. “A place where service is an act of faith.”
Morley Safer made that observation in 1990. Although much has changed since then, Nordstrom's commitment to service has never wavered.
When The Nordstrom Way was first published in 1995, it struck a chord with countless organizations in a broad variety of industries all over the world. Many hundreds of thousands of copies and four iterations later, ...