The Pacific Northwest Way of Business – Customer Service Done Right


Businesses like Nordstrom, Costco, REI, Jansport and Filson all are well known for their focus on customers and quality and are all from the Pacific Northwest. Epoch Design, while maybe not as well known as those companies, also has built our brand on those key beliefs. What is it about the upper left USA that equates to lifetime guarantees on the highest quality goods at affordable prices? Is it the fresh air? The mountains? The rain? Whatever the reason, it is clear that businesses around here focus on getting things right.

The customer service at Nordstrom is so highly regarded that there is even a book on the subject. While I don’t doubt that the book is a good read, I think that the “Nordstrom Way” can probably be boiled down into a sentence; “Always help the customers to have the best experience possible.” This mantra is held by many of the amazing businesses around here and elsewhere too. Nordstom has such a long and dignified history of quality and service.

Costco has had many words written about their customer first policy. Famously, the Costco CEO has a modest salary and the business’s profits are less important than providing lower prices to the customer and still provide livable wages to its employees. We've been priviledged to have a great partnership with Costco and to do our part to further their reputation for excellence.

When people think of a backpack brand Jansport is usually the one that comes to mind. Started in Seattle in 1967, Jansport has built a name for themselves based on their lifetime guarantee. This article here illustrates that Jansport fully backs their lifetime warranty. Jansport, like the other companies mentioned, strive to take at least one less worry out of the shopping process. You know, once you make the purchase, that you have a quality good that will last you a very long time. 

REI, or Recreation Equipment Inc, has been a Seattle institution since 1938. One of the most trusted brands in Seattle and in the country, REI is a store that will not only outfit you for adventure but help you find the adventure that is waiting out there for you. Their customer service revolves around extensive knowledge of the trails and national parks in your area, specialized knowledge of different types of outdoor activities, and knowledge about all the gear you'll need for any adventure.

Despite being around since 1897, Filson has only recently gained more notoriety outside of the rugged outdoorsman community. Suddenly cool, Filson still focuses on providing the same level of very high quality goods and also providing exemplary customer service. Rip a hole in your pants while hunting? They'll likely give you a brand new pair.

So what is the secret to amazing customer service? How have so many of these businesses built a reputation on quality and care? Epoch Design believes, just as Nordstrom, Costco, and the rest of our Pacific Northwest brethren do, that people should receive a high quality product and love it. We believe that the customer experience is important and that the relationship formed is just as valuable as any sale. It isn't a complicated concept – it's really just like the golden rule that we all learn as children – but we believe it and we try our best to make you happy. There isn't any secret and yet it is something that is becoming harder to find.

We'll leave you with a recent customer email we received:

Dear [Epoch Design],

Just a note to thank you for your kind and courteous manner in handling my request for a broken part.  You were so polite on the phone, and then, we were very surprised when the parts arrived so promptly—and with a personal note from you!  These seem to be virtues of "days gone by", so we were especially pleased with your courtesy and attention to detail.

Thank you again.

laura weaver

Posted by laura weaver

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