Unique knowledge adds value

February 1, 2013

elephant1Note to reader: Even I’m tired of reading about Nordstrom’s customer service, but there’s a reason its service is heralded.

I recently stopped by the baby department at Nordstrom to pick up a gift for a colleague whose wife is expecting a baby boy. After considering the selection of newborn pajamas, I chose one, turned toward the salesperson, Chelsea, and asked, “What do you think?”

She smiled and affirmed my choice but, before blindly ringing up the sale, advised, “A newborn size will generally fit a baby up to about eight or nine pounds,” and asked, “Is this what you had in mind?”

After considering her question, it occurred to me that all of my boys were at or above eight pounds at birth. And my colleague, Kevin, isn’t a small guy. Odds are that his baby boy might not be able to wear newborn-sized pajamas much past his hospital stay. So I replaced the newborn size with a 3-month size that I knew would get much more use.

As we approached the register, Chelsea asked, “Would you like to include an accessory, like a rattle or a pacifier?”

Although I had not intended to do so, I stopped and looked at the WubbaNub pacifiers just long enough for Chelsea to share more unique knowledge: “The WubbaNubs are great! Their rubber tips match the pacifiers used in hospital nurseries so babies don’t have to adapt to a different shape once they leave the hospital.”

That’s all I needed to hear before selecting the WubbaNub Elephant and adding it to my order. Later, when I looked at my receipt, I realized that Chelsea’s decisions to express genuine interest in her customer and share her unique knowledge not only guided me to select the proper size jammies, the addition of the pacifier increased her sale by 60 percent!

Imagine if every Nordstrom salesperson increased her sales by 60 percent by sharing unique knowledge about the shoes, clothing, or makeup she sold. Imagine the cumulative effect of your employees choosing to acquire and share unique knowledge with customers. How might this affect your company’s sales?

While customers appreciate nice employees, they value knowledgeable employees. And the more unique knowledge employees possess, the more value they add to the customer experience.

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