I live in a small college town on the central coast of California. While it's rich in vineyards, bike trails and surf shops, it only had one department store that went bankrupt earlier this year. Since I don't always trust my online shopping instincts, I journeyed 100 miles to Santa Barbara this past weekend for some serious shopping. With the help of a friendly sales consultant at Nordstrom, I scored not one, but two event-appropriate dresses.

            After returning home, I tried on my purchases for my family, only to discover that the attendant neglected to remove the security sensor from one of the dresses. Since running over to store to get it removed isn't an option, I called Nordstrom's customer service in search of a solution.           

            My call was answered by Larry, who assessed the situation and assured me he would find a solution in time for my travels. At first, he contemplated shipping one of the devices for removing the security sensor, but I was concerned that Iwouldn't remove the sensor properly and risk damaging the dress. At my suggestion,Larry agreed to overnight the identical dress from another store, and have the delivery service pick up my sensor-clad version. Larry even took down my cellphone number, so I didn't have to wait by the door all day long.

            The reason Nordstrom always scores high on customer service is because they empower their people to solve problems without getting approval from multiple layers of management. This allows employees to act decisively and quickly, which keeps Nordstrom customers content and coming back time and again.

            Think about the customer service issues that pop up in your salon and spa. How would your employees respond if you weren't in the salon and couldn't be reached? Have you empowered them to seek resolution, and do they feel confident in doing so? 


Stacey Soble has been involved in the conversation of salon business for 14 years-as a reporter, a consultant and as the editor in chief of SALON TODAY.

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