Effective Customer Service Program
Creating Value and Confidence Leads to Customer Amazement

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Do you truly believe in the product or service that you offer? Do you offer a money-back guarantee? To what lengths will you go to ensure your customer walks away satisfied?

If you are looking for a truly great example of customer service, look no further than Nordstrom's. The retailer is known for its outstanding service - not only on the front end of the sale, when the purchase is made, but after the sale as well. Nordstrom's stands behind its products and has a generous return policy, which I have experienced first-hand. About six months after I purchased some fairly expensive blue jeans, they ripped. Although I wouldn't normally have returned them at that point, my wife encouraged me to do so, to at least make the store aware of the issue. How do you think the salesperson I spoke to handled the problem? You probably won't be surprised to find out that the jeans were replaced, no questions asked.

With such an open return policy, Nordstrom's must acquire a great number of returned goods. Most likely it has arrangements in place to deal with the returned merchandise, quite possibly absorbing the cost and chalking it up to marketing and customer relations. Most people, however, don't even think about that - what is important to them is the guarantee of quality.

And Nordstrom's customers are willing to pay a little more for that guarantee. The retailer is not a low-price department store. It carries higher-end merchandise and that, coupled with its policies, creates customer confidence. It is not the highest priced department store - it is competitive in its market - but the level of customer service adds additional value for its shoppers.

Other retailers follow a similar model. Zappos.com is not known for low prices, but its value also lies in its service and customer-friendly policies. Customers are willing to pay a bit more because the products are backed by an outstanding customer service program and a free return policy. It has an outstanding reputation and thousands of loyal customers. Another company that I have written about offers many lessons in amazing customer service. Simplicity Sofas is, quite simply, a role model of customer amazement.

The article I wrote about Simplicity Sofas highlighted why the company, and its owner, Jeff Frank, have become the stuff of customer service legend. Selling furniture directly to the consumer through its website, the company sells a quality product made with quality materials, and it stands behind the furniture it sells. It is able to turn challenging situations into opportunities to display its dedication. Recently, it faced a problem when 100 customers' orders were delayed.

The delay was actually caused by the company's great success - sales had doubled, and continued to grow. In order to keep up with the demand, Simplicity Sofas had to move to a larger manufacturing facility, and some orders fell behind.

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