“I bought a shirt on Twitter”

@edwardbotches notes:

I’m standing at the counter in Nordstrom’s when my iPhone beeps. The person ringing (do we even say that anymore) up my purchase says, “Hey, you got an iPhone?  I got an iPhone. What apps do you use?”

Anxious to be on my way and not wanting to get all that conversational I answer, “Mostly just Twitter,” figuring maybe that’ll end the conversation.

Instead he says, “Hey, I’m on Twitter. Ever use TwitPic?”


“Great, if you want, I’ll TwitPic your favorite brand of shirts when they come in and DM them to you so you can get first pick.”

“Really?” (Now I’m less anxious to skedaddle.)

“Sure, follow me.  I’m @NordstromDave.”

We finish up the transaction and I leave figuring the worse that can happen is I get spammed a few times in which case I’ll just block @NordstromDave.  (You know how sales guys can be.)

Anyway, I forget all about @NordstromDave. But a couple of weeks later, as promised, he sends me a DM and a half a dozen pictures of perfectly presented Robert Graham shirts, the cuffs turned up and the collars open to reveal the piping.  One strikes my fancy. I DM back to Dave, confirm my size, along with my Amex number and 24 hours later there’s a box on my back porch – delivered overnight on Nordstroms’ dime I might add – with my new shirt.

Now this is customer service. I didn’t have to drive 20 minutes to the mall, didn’t have to look for a parking space, didn’t have to poke around a department store,

No doubt lots of brands and marketers are harnessing the power of their employees and leveraging the social tools available to us all.  Best Buy and Zappos, in fact, have practically institutionalized it.

But there are still companies asking whether or not to let their employees use social media at all during the workday. Instead they should be asking how to liberate their most socially savvy staff to engage with customers and clients or even leverage their own communities to spread positive news and drive traffic.

@NordstromDave is doing his thing on his own. I got the sense that Nordstrom has no idea he’s even doing it. But if they’re paying attention they’ll take the idea, turn it into a corporate program and free any and all of their sales staff to better serve customers, build up their own personal networks (OK, I admit that this is a potential downside as a sales person could attempt to bring customers with him when he leaves, though a well-thought out policy could prevent that), and be more valuable to the organization.

My guess is that lots of retailers will find the new technologies that automate push messaging that customers can opt in to.

But I think it’s even better the more personal you can actually make service. A socially inclined employee with a smart phone, a Twitter account and willingness to use it intelligently and respectfully is a pretty good place to start.

What’s your company doing to liberate its socially savvy employees?

Apparently I’m not the only one to be impressed by @NordstromDave. None other than David Meerman Scott, best-selling author, speaker, social media advocate, posted a piece on his experience with @NordstromDave just this week. In fact his post inspired me to put this one up once and for all. I’ve used it frequently in presentations but never got around to adding it here.

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