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5 Tips for Continuously Improving Your Customer Service

A key to excellent customer service is continuous improvement, and watching the businesses that excel at meeting shoppers’ needs is a way to assess how your staff is doing and potentially polish their skills.

Department store chain Nordstrom offers lessons that any retailer can use for improving customer service, according to Micah Solomon in an article written for Forbes. Here are five suggestions Solomon believes you should take away from Nordstrom’s approach:

  1. Hire right, and then empower your employees. “Make it clear to your employees that it is their job to take creative action, without asking permission, to think up the right solutions to issues that couldn’t really be fully encapsulated by a predetermined set of policies anyway. This is how you get the most out of your employees–and how your customers get the most out of your organization.”
  2. Make it personal. “Simple ways include always sending marketing from an email address that can actually be replied to; having actual employees … handle your online chats, allowing employees to respond authentically to customers rather than slavishly having to follow scripts.”
  3. Charge what you’re worth, by minimizing price as a consideration. When your business “makes it clear to customers that you have their back, makes the experience pleasurable and safe and personal–the more price fades into the background rather than being the central consideration.”  
  4. Use technology to streamline the customer experience and achieve “digital parity.” “This is the idea that every business, offline or on, needs to be as good as the best purely online companies.” Solomon notes that the way Nordstrom accepts mobile payments is one method for competing with web stores.
  5. Stay modest and always think how much better you can be than you are now. Nordstrom staffers “never–never–talk about how great they are, how great their customer service is. … And this modesty keeps them open to improving.”

About Kate Klein

Kate is profiles editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on news and industry events and writes about retailers' unique contributions to the independent home improvement sector. She graduated from Cedarville University in her home state of Ohio, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and minored in creative writing. She loves being an aunt, teaching writing to kids, running, reading, farm living and, as Walt Whitman says, traveling the open road, “healthy, free, the world before me.”

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