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Nordstrom's Customer Service Evolution with Robert Spector

Embracing Changing Customer Needs

Shep Hyken interviews Robert Spector, international keynote speaker, and bestselling author. He talks about his latest book, The Century-Old Startup: The Nordstrom Way of Embracing Change, Challenges, and a Culture of Customer Service and how any company can stay in business during the most challenging times.  

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This episode of Amazing Business Radio with Shep Hyken answers the following questions and more:   

  1. How does Nordstrom balance tradition and innovation to stay relevant? 
  2. How does a successful company prioritize social responsibility in its operations and community engagement? 
  3. In what ways can businesses maintain strong connections with their customers in an increasingly digital world? 
  4. How does social responsibility impact customer loyalty? 
  5. How does an organization instill a culture of empowerment and trust to enhance the customer experience?

Top Takeaways

  • In its employee handbook, Nordstrom has only one rule: Use good judgment. It empowers employees by trusting their ability to assess a situation and make decisions based on their values. Nordstrom also empowers employees by sharing examples of what other excellent employees have done to solve problems. 
  • Clear and transparent communication reassures both employees and customers. During challenging times, such as the pandemic, effective communication with leaders and stakeholders helps alleviate uncertainties, creates a sense of stability, and builds trust and confidence in the brand. 
  • Customers prefer brands that support the same social causes that they care about. Social responsibility isn’t just about giving back to the community but also about understanding and respecting diverse values and perspectives. Embracing social responsibility means adapting to the changing cultural landscape, from hiring practices to ethical consumption and sustainable business operations.  
  • Building and maintaining strong relationships with customers is the foundation of business stability. Going above and beyond to satisfy customers’ needs and create memorable experiences will result in positive word-of-mouth and enduring customer loyalty. 
  • Balancing technology with personal connections and understanding the importance of human interactions is key to creating a differentiated and exceptional customer experience. 
  • Timeless customer service stories from the past continue to inspire and are essential reminders of how businesses should serve their customers. These stories showcase principles that stand the test of time, emphasizing the significance of customer satisfaction and the impact of going above and beyond expectations. 
  • Plus, Shep and Robert discuss the F.A.C.T.S. (flexibility, agility, communication, transformation, and social responsibility) of customer experience. Tune in! 


“Ultimately, it’s about how your decisions positively impact the customer, not just the company.” 

“Who trains good employees? Their parents. We hire good people with good values who understand how to care for others.” 

“Change is part of life. If you are standing still, you are falling behind. Make how you can positively impact the customer your driving force to move ahead.” 

“To stay in business, be flexible and comfortable with transformation. If you want to survive, you have to constantly ask yourself, what’s next? What can we do to enhance the customer experience?” 


Robert Spector is an international keynote speaker, thought leader, and best-selling author. His book, The Nordstrom Way to Customer Experience Excellence: Creating a Values-Driven Service Culture, has become a business classic. His latest book, The Century Old Startup: The Nordstrom Way of Embracing Change, Challenges, and a Culture of Customer Service, is available now. 

Shep Hyken a customer service and experience expert, New York Times bestselling author, award-winning keynote speaker, and host of Amazing Business Radio.

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