Great, Not Just Good, Customer Service is Essential

Providing great, not just good, customer service is an essential aspect of marketing for any kind of business. However, it's something that many businesses overlook. It’s also a topic I’ve blogged about a number of times providing examples of some of the locally-owned businesses in my city that I patronize in part because they go the extra mile for their clients.

Right or wrong, I tend to associate exemplary service with smaller local businesses or larger businesses that cater to more affluent audiences; but recently, I had a surprisingly positive experience with a national Big Box store – Home Depot. Now, let me be clear, the experience did not begin well at all due to an initial lack of service; but it ended exceedingly well and highlighted the fact that even a large national chain can empower its employees to put customers first.

Here is my story. Recently, I ordered some patio furniture on Home Depot’s web site for a rental property my husband and I own. The furniture was to be shipped to the Home Depot store located about 15 minutes from our home.

Once I was notified that the furniture had arrived, my husband and I went to pick it up. We expected that the pick-up process would be swift, but in fact we waited 45 long minutes before a store employee finally brought us our purchase. Needless to say, we were not pleased with the long wait and the fact that no one apologized for it. Bad service all around! We were even less pleased however, after we drove to the rental property, opened the box we had picked up, and discovered that it contained only two of the three pieces we had ordered.

I called the Home Depot store once we returned home to let the customer service desk know what had happened and to find out what we would have to do to get the rest of our order. I was told to return to the store with our order paper work and that someone would locate the missing item for us. My husband and I envisioned another 45-minute wait. Grr!

Just minutes after my conversation with the store ended however, my phone rang. It was someone calling to let us know that that the customer service manager would have someone deliver the missing item to our home right away. Not only did the news surprise and thrill us, but it also transformed us from disgruntled Home Depot customers to happy ones who felt valued. As a result, we remain loyal to Home Depot although that would probably not be the case if the store manager had not recognized the value of exemplary service and had the power to deliver it.

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