Nordstrom sets the standard for customer experience. Again and again.

Nordstrom has long been recognized for its customer service. Building that legacy and brand association over decades is an impressive feat — but what stands out even more is how the company continues to not just set the standard for experience but raise it again and again in an industry that is constantly being disrupted.

Earlier this year at NRF 2019: Retail’s Big Show, Shea Jensen, senior vice president of customer experience for Nordstrom and honored as a “Disruptor” on The List of People Shaping Retail’s Future 2019, sat down with the Retail Gets Real team to share how Nordstrom approaches innovation around the customer experience.

While Nordstrom may be known traditionally for its stores, today that national store infrastructure — and its associates — represent an incredibly valuable advantage that can be leveraged to serve customers however and whenever they like. “I think what we hear from our customers is there is not a channel-based customer. There are just customers. And so that is really our approach. We don’t have a channel-based approach. We just have a customer approach,” Jensen says. “We’re focused on serving customers, not as a store, not as a website, but as a retailer in the local market that they’re living.”

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Wowing customers with exceptional service today takes constant innovation. The new Nordstrom Men’s store in New York City focuses on the needs of the busy New Yorker, with new offerings around returns, tailoring and cross-channel shopping designed to enhance speed and convenience. Nordstrom continuously evaluates feedback from each product or feature launch, which Jensen says is the key to staying on top. “Testing and learning is really critical today. And we’ve learned that as important as delivering a great experience is delivering an experience that your customers want fast. The balance of speed versus perfection becomes important as you’re testing and learning.”

Jensen says another key to the Nordstrom formula is a constant focus on the customer. “The number one thing is customer centricity. All too often, folks in business today get focused on an outcome. I think, at Nordstrom, we really take all things back to the customer.” That focus helps leaders avoid simply chasing the latest technology or retail trend.

Listen to the full episode to learn more about Jensen’s take on the role of the store in retail today, balancing speed and convenience and focusing in a disruptive world.

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