Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Off The Grid

I've been out of the loop for about a week. We've recently decided to redo our kitchen, and with all the minor problems along the way a four day job quickly turned into an eight day job. Well worth it though.

For all of those who partake in the great Lowe's v. Home Depot debate, I've recently changed sides due to the update of our kitchen. I used to be a diehard Lowe's supporter, but after receiving the absolute worst customer service ever, I've seen the light and I'm now a Home Depot guy.

Here's the quick version.

We bought all our kitchen stuff from Lowe's. Cabinets, counters, appliances, you name it. They should be treating us like kings with the amount we purchased from them. They came to our house, measured things, came up with designs, such and such. No big problem, right?

We got everything in fine, until it was time for the counter. We have a nice "L" shaped cabinet area, so we paid extra for a custom, single piece of counter to cover it. Extra money for it. The Lowe's guy said he cut a little extra off to make it fit. Turns out, it was too big. The Lowe's guy mis-measured our kitchen by half an inch. Whatever, that stuff happens.

The real problem is how they responded. We contacted them all like "WTF? Why doesn't our counter fit? We now have to fight with it for a few hours to get it in." Instead of saying "Sorry, our bad. We'll give you a credit," or something like that, they said "NO YOU'RE WRONG, IT'S RIGHT." So we told them to come over and see how wrong they were and they said they'd call back around 1:00.

3:00 rolls around and we call back. The guy we talked to before just left and didn't talk to anyone about it. I understand some people are scrubs and that doesn't reflect upon the company, so we'll talk to the next guy. Nothing comes of that. Later, we call back when we're having issues with the faucet (turns out it was a terrible model Moen made that about 65% don't work). My wife brings up that the counter still isn't issued, and the guy is giving attitude saying "What do you want us to do about it?" Here's the real kicker - look away if you don't like vulgar language.

He sets down the phone and says "I have no idea what this fucking bitch wants" loud enough for my wife to hear.

I work engineering support/customer service, so there are certain rules you have. Yes there are customers you can't stand, but you help them best that you can and keep a good attitude - you should not have to be taught that. This guy broke every damn rule in the book.

When a customer has an issue, it can look bad on the company. However, it gives you a unique opportunity to make a customer for life. If someone has a shitty situation and you make it as painless as possible for them, they know that the worst that can happen if they go with you is that you'll take care of them. Pride doesn't exist in customer service - your job is to fall on your sword for the customer. Instead, this guy decided to go the other way and get all indignant. Nice try.

We go to replace the faucet and my father-in-law talks to the store manager about the situation. He's absolutely shocked at how she was treated, but he immediately knew who did it. We didn't say we wanted the guy fired. We didn't have to. What he said was simply inexcusable.

Home Depot is closer, and most of the small things we needed for the project we got there. While there are a lot of dumb people there, there were a couple of great experts, on the whole people were helpful, and most of all, they were friendly. You could tell me that you're charging me 300% extra because you don't like the way I smell, but if you said it in a friendly way, I'd probably come back. That is how you maintain customers.

Maybe it wasn't so quick. But I'm a firm believer that if you get bad service, you should tell as many people as possible.

I'll be shopping at Home Depot for all my hardware needs now.

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