When I took various marketing classes in my life during my undergrad and MBA, the theory always said “Bad experience/VOC is usually spread 8 times more than good experience/VOC” – stressing the importance of keeping customers happy. Here is my version of 8 times VOC blast for home improvement store experience – Lowe’s.
When it comes to home improvement/home appliance, I have always went to Lowe’s if possible – usually have more selections, more staffs in stores than Home Depot – every time I learn from store when I need to explore/fix something, and for appliances I do remember they had next day delivery, and I also thought Lowe’s has better deal vs. “incumbent” Home Depot.
Last week, our beloved 2nd refrigerator finally died quietly in our garage- making me rushing to store to purchase replacing refrigerator in ASAP since 2nd one was always used more like “longer term storage” of food.
Here are the series of journey I had to go through..
* Next Day delivery: Impossible – because I was late – I was at the store at 6:30 PM -not happy to get rejected but acceptable any how..this became next-next day delivery
* At the day after, I got a call that the product they had in store was defective- offered me to take floor sample with discount. The only thing I asked back is “Can it be still be delivered tomorrow?”, “It is working unit – correct?” and the answer was all yes.
* It got delivered but it took a while to start after plugging in electricity – something was weird, but the manual said it requires 24 hours of operation to fully function. So I put all the food we previously triaged in the newly arrived refrigerator.
* Next day, after 24 hour has passed – I found out all the food were melting with horrible smell in refrigerator. IT NEVER COOLED ANYTHING FROM BEGINNING. Then I called to the store. They said to me to call to service. Called to Service they said call to Care. And finally called to Care. All in all, series of waste of time – explaining what happened 3 times & everyone was saying calling to store for replacement is the best option. All food I put were tossed away to garbage – my precious foods!!
* Next day, they called me up and said I need to wait 3 more days for new unit. – asked whether they can dispatch any from their neighbor stores – refused again – fine.
* At the day of delivery, no confirmation at all – so I called them up – and they said the driver talked with me on delivery time (Who?) and driver is 2 min away from me – waited for 20 min – called them back – said my refrigerator is at their store so delivery have to be delayed. What?! and heard series of reasons why it was missed in delivery truck. (it arrived at the store in that morning just before the truck was loading the delivery items – well I don’t care!) Nicely, I got my work schedule screwed up. – I was feeling just glad that I have a generous boss.
* So I left my unhappy “series of bumps” in their website and asked them to reach out to me via email if they want to. Yesterday, the customer service emailed me that store will reach out to me in next 24 hours. Today, Saturday night, I got a cold call from the store, saying how it is working – it is working fine. No word of apologies on product failure and delivery failure. Felt like he is calling me because I left the feedback on their store on website -but was totally waste of time for me to be on a phone with store manager who was never apologetic to me.
Conclusion & Direction from now: Whenever I am buying something, I am going to Home Depot directly or Costco. BTW, I found the pricing for the same one was exactly same in Home Depot.
Also a good reminder for me – on importance of alwaying thinking “in the shoe of customer” – solving the problem form customer’s perspective – I never cared how their internal process is. Also, sometimes, all it matter is just apologizing – I had no intention of asking anything back on my losses and issues I had to go though. All I just want to hear is any sincere apologies..
This was the follow up email I kindly wrote back to customer service again. Good Bye!