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Customer Service=Marketing

A “spray paint emergency”(I suspect a school project) sent Seth to the local Home Depot for a horrible customer service experience. He rightly sees customer service as a marketing function. He found long lines at the registers and two(50%) broken self checkout systems. He says at least 40 people were waiting in line to check out.

The problem is their success. They don't need to fix this customer service problem unless those 40 people vote with their feet and leave the store without their purchases. Angry customers may complain but they will still buy. The customers have to deal with it because Home Depot is, well, Home Depot. Not everyone has a local alternative or if they do, like Seth, it may not be open when they need it.

What happens is that long lines and bad service simply teach people to shop at different times. “Don't shop at HD on Sunday Mornings.” If home improvement stores were as plentiful as grocery stores this could be an issue but with only one or two to a market the customers have to adjust.

Too many businesses are in this position. One day it will bight them.

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September 11, 2005 in Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Brand enhancement, Business newsletter, Web/Tech | Permalink


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Too many big businesses act like they are entitled to our business instead of being truly happy that we are shopping with them.

I agree that one day it will bite them, but until people stop worrying solely about low prices and shift their focus to the full picture, there will always be a place for companies like this.

Posted by: Phil Gerbyshak | Sep 11, 2005 7:43:03 PM

You're absolutely correct.

When a company gets to that level, I think the people can be more at play also to add to this.

If it was a small company with employees that truly cared, you probably wouldn't see that same problem. In companies where employees almost become commodities, it's very difficult to ensure top quality service.

Plus, like you said, it will never change until we, the consumers, give them an incentive to change.

Posted by: Kevin Behringer | Sep 12, 2005 11:09:16 AM

Admitting that a good amount of angry customers will still buy, from a business perspective it would be difficult to track the number of customers that actually do "vote with thier feet".

As pointed out, HD can thrive with or without the long lines, but I would argue that the cost of making the business more effective at the "bottleneck" would more than pay for itself in the future by meeting the immediate need of the customer.

It does teach the customer to shop at a different time, but you risk losing that customer to a competitor in the mean time.

Posted by: Ryan Hutchings | Sep 12, 2005 1:50:00 PM