Note on Service Excellence

19 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by Alexander Horniman

Alexander Horniman

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business


This note illustrates and illuminates key concepts in service excellence. It summarizes and highlights key thinking and action in the service industry. It is designed to be used with "Manor" (UVA-OM-0751).




“Service excellence” is an intangible and expansive concept. It undoubtedly means many different things to many different people. This note represents an effort not only to illustrate the multifaceted nature of service excellence, but also to highlight at least a sampling of the numerous components which go into providing excellent service. Listed below are a few examples of organizations, across a wide array of industries, which are widely known and celebrated for the cultures of service they have built up, and for the unique levels of service they provide. These world-renowned companies have achieved resounding financial success as a direct result of their service excellence strategies.

1. Nordstrom's

Nordstrom's, known for its exceptional customer service, is a nationally renowned chain of department stores originating in Seattle in the early 1900s. Resembling other retail chains such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdales, Nordstrom's was recently ranked among the top 10 worldwide role models of service excellence in a study called “Service in America,” undertaken jointly by several leading universities.

Central to the Nordstrom's philosophy is a strong belief in an individualized approach to customer service. Certainly, salespeople at Nordstrom's provide highly customized, personalized sales service. All sales associates keep detailed notes on their customers' sizes and preferences and are quick to let their customers know, by letter or by telephone, when something that may be of interest arrives in the store.

. . .

Keywords: communication process, communication strategy

Suggested Citation

Horniman, Alexander, Note on Service Excellence. Darden Case No. UVA-OM-0895, Available at SSRN:

Alexander Horniman (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States


Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics