Sunday, March 14, 2010

Nordstrom is listening — and that is a good thing

I recently wrote an “open letter to Nordstrom” and then tweeted the url for everyone to read. People commented on my post that I should send this letter to Nordstrom. I didn’t even have a chance to think about it because not more than 5 hours after I had posted my article I got a letter of apology from the corporate office. It seemed sincere and asked for details about the event that I blogged about.

Now THIS is how a company should be using Twitter. Many of us use Twitter to “talk” or maybe worse, “sell”, but he companies that are really ahead of the curve are using Twitter to listen. Between Google alerts and Twitter, a company can keep updated on what their customers are thinking and talking about.

Before the electronic information revolution, a company would have to read letters, maybe do surveys, and walk the floor to get a better understanding of what their customers really felt about them. But, all too often, customers never complain (or compliment) a company directly. Instead, they would sit over a cup of tea or a beer and tell their friends and family. If the story was really juicy, whoever heard the story might then tell their friends and family. 

It’s great that companies now can get real-time, unfiltered comments from their happy and unhappy customers. The trick, of course, is to do something with all of this input, and do it right away. Contact the author if you can, and if not, post an open apology. Internally, address the problem through training.

Start listening to your customer. You might not always like what you hear, but at least you will learn some things and be in a position to do something about the problem.

There’s a reason that Nordstom is a leader in customer service—it’s because they are extremely responsive to their customers. See what you can do to emulate them.

By the way, Nordstrom if you are listening, all is forgiven.

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