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I took Kelly shopping for a new purse this week. Kay and I decided to give her a nice reward for a great school year — honor roll, straight A’s on her finals, named co-captain of her fast-pitch softball team…and darn it, a really great kid.

We drove to Macy’s and headed straight to the Coach purse counter, Kelly pointed at the purse she’d already picked out and five minutes later we walked out.

At home later on I read the receipt. Circled at the bottom was this statement:

Outstanding Service is our goal. Please tell Macy’s how our service was today at macys.com.

Hmmmm, has Macy’s ever been known for outstanding service? Are books and speeches filled with examples of stories of incredible service? Let me think about that one a moment. NO.

The department store we all tell stories about is Nordstrom. We all know that. And in the world of department stores Nordstrom has set the benchmark for customer service. Nordstrom owns the phrase outstanding service.

IMHO, Macy’s is making a mistake chasing a benchmark they probably can’t beat. Even if their service is really good, it won’t separate them from Nordstrom. They’re just playing follow-the-leader.

Certainly they want to provide good customer service, but don’t try to build your brand around something owned by another company.

(BTW, I went to the Macy’s link. If all you want to do is leave a comment you are still required to leave your email.)