Home Depot Steps Up, Again: unexpected lessons in great customer service

A few months ago, I posted an encouraging story about Home Depot and the great service it provided to a friend of mine. Following is another Home Depot service story relayed to me by that same friend.

Real World Story: Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I talked with my mom about the great Black Friday sale Helpful Home Depot Employeehappening at Home Depot. She said she knew about the sale. In fact, she had already purchased five new kitchen appliances the week before on a new credit account she had just opened. And she believed she was given the Black Friday discounts.

Skeptical that my mother had received these discounts, we arrived at Home Depot on Saturday and saw that the store was buzzing with customers. I didn’t expect we would actually get to talk with any service reps. But as soon as we started to look for the appliances my mother had already bought, a rep came over and asked if she could help. Not wanting to add to the chaos of the Black Friday sales crowds, we kindly declined her offer to help. Surprisingly, she went ahead and helped us anyway. “It’s no trouble at all,” she said. “I am pleased to help you.” She eventually was able to verify that my mother had indeed received all the advertised discounts.

After I joked about buying a matching microwave oven that matched the other five appliances, the service rep said she would be happy to give us a new quote for a total of six appliances, which would then qualify my mother for an additional $200 discount. She also said it would take some time because she had to create a new quote. Unfortunately, because my mother’s account was newly opened, our service rep ran into problems that only the IT department could fix. But because of the wait time needed, she gave my mother an additional 10% discount on her new total purchase. On top of that, she gave my father, who had found a grass edger he couldn’t live without, a $30 discount on his purchase. WOW! Now those were two nice surprises. All the while, the service agent remained patient, friendly, informative and extremely helpful.

Strategies that Turn it Around:

  1. Be professional. Even in the face of an onslaught of customers, always remain positive, friendly and patient. Staying calm, collected and present in difficult situations speaks volumes about your professionalism.
  2. When faced with a lengthy process, explain to customers what you are going to do and how long it will take. Explaining goes a long way to meeting customer expectations.
  3. Be flexible. Transactions don’t always go as expected. If you remain flexible during a difficult transaction, your customers will appreciate your dedication to creating a great service experience they will remember for a long time.
  4. Over-deliver. Nothing pleasantly surprises customers more than having their expectations exceeded. Whenever possible, give customers the gift of an unexpected surprise. Not much else can guarantee customers for life.

Remember: A little patience and kindness goes a long way in creating loyal customers who will talk to others about the great service you offer. And that’s something to be thankful about!

What do YOU do to ensure you deliver consistently great customer service? Please share your comments and stories.