Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I can't understand how that happened.

Home Depot revenue falls 27%.

Listen - some of this is because of the slowing housing market. But, a lot of it is because customers are just tired of dealing with people who aren't trained correctly. Or simply don't care about customer service. Take this for example.

My ongoing saga with the tile I ordered almost a month ago. Here.

Today, I called the Expo Design center to try once again to track down my tile. You may remember last week I got a call saying they were going to have it delivered to my house on Friday.

When I called Expo, I immediately asked to talk to a manager. Who happened to be the same manager I talked to when I wigged out last time. David Chavez. Yes.. I'm putting his name!

He offered to track down the tile and call me back. This is what he tells me:

Him - Your tile is at the San Leandro warehouse ready to be picked up.

Me - I am not driving to that warehouse again. I was told this would be shipped to my house.

Him - Well, if you want it shipped to your house it is going to take a lot longer.

Me- What is a lot longer?

Him - about a week.

This is where I lost it. Honestly - I started yelling at the guy. Which I rarely do - but, I'm just at my limit with customer service right now

Me - A week! You can get anything shipped anywhere in the states in a week, and you are telling me its going to take a week to have something shipped from an hour and a half away? After my tiles sat in San Diego for a week?

Him - well... they don't use UPS or FedX to ship things.

Me - Look - I spoke directly to you last week about this same issue. I was told these tiles were going to be shipped to Expo initially. Which is what pissed me off the first time. Since I'm unhappy I'm driving all over town to pick up three boxes of tiles, when I'm told the other two were going to be shipped to the store.

I am not going back to that warehouse for two boxes of tiles when I was told they were going to be shipped to the store intially- then to my house. I can't believe Expo inconveniences people to this degree.

Additionally - last week you asked my to give Expo another chance. It's like you don't even remember having a conversation with me last week. (You can read it here)

Your people called me to say these tiles were going to be shipped to me. It makes customers more unhappy than if you would have kept the original schedule - because your staff went out of their way to call me to say they would be in early. I told you I wasn't going to buy from your company again because of the inconvenience of buying tiles from Expo.

I was just pissed and ranty. To be honest.

So, to sum things up. I've had to talk to Expo more than 10 times on this order. Just to try and even find out where my tile is.

To pick them up - I would have to waste between 3-5 hours of time. All for 45 square feet of tile.

The people in all the Home Depot stores are trained equally as horribly. They got rid of all the older people who were probably costing them a lot of money, and replaced them with kids who have never even picked up a hammer. Kids who are apathetic to what real customer service means - or can even retain a thought for a minute or two.

Home Depot needs to get back to its roots and provide customer service for the "do it yourself" set. Isn't that what their whole business model was built on? "You can do it"?

Well - not if you can't buy the items you need - or get anyone in a department to provide simple customer service.


  1. Is this the legacy of Bob Nardelli, who probably didn't buy much tile at Home Depot himself (and who would have been recognized en route a time zone away, with the minions passing warnings along)?

    It was Robert E. Townsend in Up The Organization who urged executives to see what barriers they'd erected between themselves and the public.

    And that was before they had to buy extra commas to put into the compensation packages of CEOs.

  2. Hmmm.. interesting comment.

    I have to admit, much to my embarrassment - I didn't know who Bob Nardelli was. But, as soon as Wikipedia told me who it was, I ran over and did a historical stock quote on HD.

    To check out the "legacy" and all.

    I would say he pretty much poisoned the whole punch bowl. Despite some of the biggest real estate boon years (2000-2005) the stock managed to do nothing.

    The customers (like me) are completely pissed off.

    And honestly - their bread and butter (contractors) talk very negatively about HD.

    I guess talking heads don't understand that doing things that are easier for the company - yet a detriment to the customer base aren't a benefit if it causes your customers to stop shopping at your store.

    P.S. - I would have ordered Up The Organization if it was available on the Kindle. Thanks for the recommended reading though.

    If I remember - I'll try to try and keep checking back. I don't know why Amazon doesn't have a wish list feature for the Kindle yet.

  3. Townsend was CEO of Avis during the original "we try harder" campaign. His 1970 book is a wry classic from the long-ago time before "Management Secrets of Insert Name Here" and all that damned cheese-moving.

    In 2006 Nardelli trying to completely ignore shareholder fury over his mismanagement and excess compensation, ending a shareholder meeting after 30 minutes. The directors who approved the shoveling of more than $120 million in compensation at him, are listed in the dictionary under "coziness."

  4. It sounds like a super interesting read.

    Said like I actually read things. But I do ask sweetly if Mr S. will read me stuff. And he does!

    I swear to you - if Amazon had it.. He would be reading it to me tonight.

  5. Ugh, what a pain in the proverbial! Hope you get it sorted soon.