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The Nordstrom Way: The Inside Story of America's #1 Customer Service Company Paperback – October 9, 1996

4.6 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Nordstrom's has long had the reputation for outstanding customer service. This book, coauthored by one of Nordstrom's top sales associates, McCarthy, tells how Nordstrom's earned that reputation. The work combines case studies and personal narrative with some history of the store. Each chapter helps the reader see one or more aspects of what has made Nordstrom's so successful, for example, "The Nordstrom Culture: Setting Employees Free," "The Art of Selling: Retailing Is a Contact Sport," and "What's Inside: Creating an Inviting Place." Each chapter is followed by a one- to two-page summary of the important points. Highly recommended for any business collection.
Michael D. Kathman, St. John's Univ. Lib., Collegeville, Minn.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

The Nordstrom Way "The Nordstroms 'wrote the book' on customer service. Now we have a chance to read, chapter by chapter, how through four generations this family has established one of the finest retail institutions in the world." -Peter Strom Former Vice Chairman, Polo/Ralph Lauren According to David Glass, President and CEO of Wal-Mart, Nordstrom's customer service standards are "what we all shoot for." In his 60 Minutes profile on Nordstrom, Morley Safer raved that the much-acclaimed "Nordstrom Way" was "not service like it used to be, but service like it never was." What makes Nordstrom so special? What, exactly, does this retail giant do that so clearly distinguishes it from the competition? How does the Nordstrom customer service culture work? And, most important, what lessons can industry learn from Nordstrom's example? This updated Second Edition reveals the secrets behind the phenomenal success of this American customer-service legend. Written by veteran journalist Robert Spector and top Nordstrom salesman Patrick McCarthy, and based on exclusive, in-depth interviews with the Nordstrom family, senior executives, directors, and salespeople, this captivating book tells you how this much admired-and much feared-powerhouse retains its customer-service supremacy in the competitive world of bricks-and-mortar retail. In The Nordstrom Way, the authors isolate practical lessons that teach how to better respond to customers' needs so they'll keep coming back to you, including:
* Valuing the nobility of good service
* Finding and bonding with customers
* Serving and keeping those customers
* Giving frontline people the freedom to make decisions
Packed with examples of excellent customer service, The Nordstrom Way offers a fresh behind-the-scenes look that provides lessons on how to find and focus on customer needs, follow-up, and customer satisfaction. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 2 edition (October 9, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471161608
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471161608
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Thinking about applying for a position at Nordstrom's, I bought this book to do a little investigating. I ended up reading the book in three days, which is quite a feat for this reader.
Understanding the history of the Nordstrom Family, how their great grandfather from Switzerland put together a small shoe shop with gold he found, was inspirational. Then hearing how humble the Nordstroms are, their democratic way of making decisions within the family, and the simple customer service philosophy, made the family very endearing to me. I'm thinking about a career change so I can help people in general, and I've found this is the store's customer service philosophy. Although they are helping people for their own profit, they still make people feel special by the attention and respect they pay to the customer. I very much recommend this book to any customer service professional, or anyone interested in public service.
Just leaving a customer service organization, I know most companies will not allow the customer service rep to have the accountability and freedom to serve the customer as Nordstroms does. But there are great ideas in this book that will allow any customer service rep to make a difference in serving and owning their customers.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book concentrates primarily on the customer service aspect of the Nordstrom Store. It emphasized that this is not a store for everyone, but for a select few with the right customer service attitude and willingness to work hard, that success would be theirs. Along the way it tells how the founders of the company got their start and follows the development of Seattle and its connection to the gold rush of the 1900's and the gateway to trade with the Orient as an economic supplier of jobs and business growth. The policy of inventory carried in depth led to great customer satisfaction by always being in stock on in demand items. The family of young brothers and their personal interest in customer service and close relationships with employees contributed greatly to the success of the company. Employees were encouraged to act in the best interest of their customers with the promise that management would support their actions, at least once. From a historical point, it is an interesting chronology of a very successful regional department stores. It all began with shoes and has progressed from their into a store with great customer loyalty and employee dedication to serving the customer well. A GOOD COMBINATION FOR SUCCESS.
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Format: Paperback
My disclaimer: As with any opinion, it is only my opinion! And everyone's will vary depending on who reads the book and what the reader is looking for. I look for ways to improve businesses, sales, and my life. This book shares good ideas and gives applicable take-a-ways.

On a 1 to 5 scale, 5 being the best:

Readability 5: It wasn't a difficult read at all. Organized and well laid out. Good for a four hour plane flight.

Information and new ideas 5: If you are going to learn about being the best, then learn from the best. Processes are well described giving great ideas for application.

Applicable Ideas 5: Many ideas for innovation into processes in other businesses.

Value 5: Great value for the dollar. Getting ideas from companies like Nordstrom save big money by not having to come up with everything on your own.

Overall 5: A great job and a great book for your business library.

Thank you Robert Spector and Patrick D. McCarthy!

Rip Walker
Author: Rip's Book of Common Sense Selling: Improving Sales Through Process Implementation
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Format: Paperback
This book made a big splash when it hit the stands in 1995. If you are worried about it being outdated, don't be. I found it to be very thorough in it's study of Nordstrom's, and it is still a good lesson in what we should all strive for.
Minimal mistakes that need to be updated in the next revision:
1). Their top notch website is not addressed, however, it does describe the thinking that was held by the company in 1994 to take advantage of the new electronic media. I thought that this section spoke volumes to how far reaching Nordstrom's view of service really is.
2). Very minor changes have been made to their business plan since this book was released. Most of these changes would be evident to the keen observer after 10 minutes in their store.
All in all, I recommend this book to anyone who is studing how to change attitudes on customer service. If you are just looking for a book on sales, this is not for you.
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Format: Paperback
A Seattle-based chain of department stores, Nordstrom is acknowledged as `best practice' in outstanding customer service and is the subject of countless MBA case studies. This book tells the Nordstrom customer service story. It reveals how Nordstrom created and maintains a culture of customer service and more importantly how to translate the Nordstrom customer service principles to your own business.
But the desire to implement these principles must come with a commitment from management to customer service and employee empowerment. Management must respect, encourage, honour and reward the people on the front lines for their creativity and ability to serve the customer. Only than will you be able to emulate Nordstrom. Nordstrom's culture encourages entrepreneurial motivated men and women to make the extra effort to give customer service that is unrivalled in American retailing.
At the end of each of the eight chapters is a useful Keys To Success section which summarises the key principles of Nordstrom success discussed in the chapter.
Robert Spector is a Seattle based freelance journalist who has covered Nordstrom since 1982 for a variety of publications. Patrick D. McCarthy of Seattle is one of the top- performing salesman in Nordstrom, where he has worked for more than 20 years. For 15 consecutive years, from 1977 through 1991, McCarthy was the number one salesperson among Nordstrom's 35,000 employees. In 1992, 1993 and 1994, he was runner-up. His journey to financial rewards and job satisfaction serves as an inspiration for every frontline employee in virtually any business.
Reviewed by Azlan Adnan, Managing Partner of Azlan & Koh Knowledge and Professional Management Group.
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