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Scott McKain

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How a subject line in a marketing email changed my opinion about Nordstrom…and how they saved it on Twitter!

  • First off; an admission:  I use profanity.

When hanging out with my friends — for example, while sipping a bourbon with a friend in private conversation — I may let words fly that I wouldn’t want you to read here, or that I’d use from the platform in a presentation.

  • Another admission; I’m tired of hearing profanity in public.

Yeah, it makes me old school…however, it’s disrespectful to the people around you.  I know some people have a hard time believing it, but I really didn’t go to the restaurant to hear the table next to me dropping f-bombs.

  • I’m not a prude by any stretch; however, I also believe in a degree of propriety and manners.

Yesterday, I was quite a bit surprised to see the subject line in an e-mail marketing blast message from Trunk Club as “No Crackers, No Bull***t.” (Without the asterisks to censor the profanity.)

  • Trunk Club is a great service that delivers a wardrobe selected by a personal stylist directly to their male customers — and, its parent company is Nordstrom!
  • Naturally, my perception of both Trunk Club and Nordstrom was diminished.

Trunk Club — and its parent — have been paragons of extraordinary customer experiences. However, while I don’t necessarily find the language outrageous — and have used the word myself on many occasions — it’s NOT something, in my opinion, that is to be used on mass marketing blasts to customers of varied sensibilities.

After talking about it with a couple of friends — one who said, “No big deal!”…another with exactly the opposite opinion — I posted this simple message on Twitter:

  • “I love the service -& clothes- but @TrunkClub subject line in today’s email not of class & style with which I associate them and @Nordstrom.”

I figured that was it; I’d posted my response…I’m not trying to be a “hater”…it’s just my feedback.

To my astonishment, I received the following Tweet only MOMENTS later:

  • We’re really sorry we offended you. We agree that profanity doesn’t have a place in our emails. We appreciate the feedback and our Trunk Club team will make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future.”

And there, my friends, is why Nordstrom IS Nordstrom.

I go from being disappointed to a fan of theirs once again — in the space of four minutes and forty seconds. They listened, acknowledged my viewpoint (which is important…even if you don’t agree), and told me what they were going to do about it.

That’s the essence of handling a customer complaint.

  • Want to become as distinctive in your marketplace as Nordstrom is in theirs?  

Follow this example of how to handle a disappointed customer.  It’s a great place to start.

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More Stories By Scott McKain

Scott McKain is a business leader, bestselling author, and Hall of Fame professional speaker.
Scott's latest book, "The Collapse of Distinction: Stand Out and Move Up While Your Competition Fails" reached the #1 spot on Amazon.com list of Customer Service Bestsellers! He is the author of two #1 additional business bestsellers (Amazon.com & 800-CEO-READ): "What Customers REALLY Want" (currently available in trade paperback) and "ALL Business is Show Business."
He is the Co-founder and Principal of The Value Added Institute, a think-tank that examines the role of the customer experience in creating significant advances in the level of client loyalty, and has appeared on multiple occasions as a commentator and analyst on FOX News Channel. His platform presentations have run the gamut from the White House lawn with the President in the audience carried live on CNN and NBC's "Today" show...to a remote outpost near the Amazon...all 50 states, seven Canadian provinces...and from Singapore to Sweden...Mexico to Morocco.
An inductee into the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame, he is also a member of "Speakers Roundtable" -- an elite, invitation-only group of twenty of the world's top business speakers.