Remember the rant I went on about Home Depot? Well, with the great encouragement of you fantabulous readers and the awesome email address provided by the wonderful Heather, I went ahead and wrote Mr. Frank Blake, the CEO of Home Depot an email. Heather had said that they responded quickly, so I was curious to see what would happen.
I wrote my email that next Friday morning, March 2nd. I was polite, but explained the very poor customer service and unintelligent manager at our store (and I listed the store #). I didn't really know what would happen. I figured someone might send me an email back, but I thought it would be a computer generated one: "we're sorry you had a bad experience at [insert store # here], it is our goal..." So imagine my surprise when I picked up my ringing phone on Tuesday afternoon (a mere 4 days later) and found the head manager of the store it happened at on the phone apologizing for our poor experience and telling me about all the projects, plans and training he's been trying to implement since recently becoming head manager. It was a very nice phone call, he was incredibly polite and apologetic. I gave him the name of the woman we had the poor experience with and he said he would retrain his staff on returns because that was unacceptable. In total, I spent about 15-20 minutes on the phone with him. He said he had posters up in the store with his personal cell phone number on them (and I've seen them) and he encourages customers to call him and let him know of any problems they have. At the end of the phone call he again encouraged me to call anytime if we ever had another problem and also said he'd love to meet me and Chris and apologize in person. Dude, good job! I said we came in a lot on the weekends and if he was there on Saturday we could come say hi.
About 3 minutes after I hung up the phone, it rang again. It was an area code I didn't recognize and so I curiously picked up. It was someone from the Home Depot headquarter's office. Double good job! I spent another 10 or so minutes on the phone with him and told him I really appreciated that they took my complaint seriously and that I had just had a very respectful and great conversation with the manager of the store and that it was really wonderful of them to reach out to customers like that. He also ended the phone call by giving me his number and extension should I have any problems in the future.
They were two great phone calls and I was very appreciative and surprised that such a large company actually listened to customer complaints and acted on them (you were right on Heather!) And you want to know what I realized in the 2nd phone call? I hadn't given them my phone number in the email and I was wondering how the hell they were able to call me. When I made some comment about it he told me that they looked up my customer information in their system based on the store I said it happened at and got my information in order to give me a call. Good job guys!
Saturday Chris and I drove down to Home Depot to meet the head manager I had spoken with on the phone. He was incredibly polite and again apologized and thanked us for coming back and shopping there. We thanked him again for reaching out to us and thought it spoke well of the company and told him that gestures like that go a long way. And you wanna know what he did right after that? He gave us a 50% discount on the entire purchase we were making that day! Icing on the cake! I was totally thrilled with the idea that they contacted us to apologize, but getting a 50% discount on our $100 purchase made me and Chris' jaws drop. And we were definitely thankful. Good job Home Depot!
All in all, there are still some factors about Home Depot that make me frustrated: many of their on the floor employees aren't very knowledgeable (as one of you readers also shared) and some employees have poor work ethics and attitudes. When we have questions about how we need to build something or what specific materials we need to use, we usually go to a different, specialty store - a plumbing warehouse, a tile shop, a lumber yard, a hardware store down the street that's been in business for 85 years...but the downside with those places is that I sometimes find that they can actually be a bit pretentious and make me feel bad for asking questions. I understand that they usually deal with people in the trades and so homeowners are generally a lot less knowledgeable, but I'm trying to learn and give you business, so rolling your eyes at me is pretty rude and annoying.
I guess the conclusion is two fold: Home Depot did a wonderful thing to reach out to us and apologize and take our complaint serious. And while they might not have the most well-informed staff to answer our home building questions, the stores that do can be dicks too. So it's best to try our best, give constructive feedback to companies, and hope for the best.