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  • Social Media, Customer Service & Home Depot

    Social media is real, pervasive and it matters. If you don’t believe me, just ask your customers.

    Upstart: Gamechangers

    There are thousands upon thousands of people that still doubt the enormous power of social media and its ability to affect change. In some ways, you can’t blame them.  Everywhere you turn, it is being thrown in your face (your inbox) by the media or some self-proclaimed guru claiming to have mastered the social media universe. I know many people with profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter that claim to have derived little value from them. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was about to experience first-hand the power of this medium.

    Last year, we (my family) purchased carpet from Home Depot for our stairs and hallway. While at the store, we were talked into buying a new blend (fabric) that looked great on the rack. We were assured that it would wear well on the stairs (high traffic areas) etc…  I am sure you can guess where this is going. Approximately 90 days after installation, the carpet looked as if the San Diego Chargers had played their regular season on our stairs and hallway. At this point, my wife is almost in tears as she cannot believe that it looks this bad so quickly. I jump up like a Super Hero (perception vs. reality) and assure her that I will take care of it. I am confident that Home Depot will stand behind their product. It’s Home Depot. I find their mission statement online just to make sure that customer service is indeed still important to the folks in Atlanta.  I am in luck, as they value “excellent customer service,” “doing the right thing” and “building strong relationships”.

    I call the store to report the issue and this is when the story gets real interesting.  I cannot seem to find out who is actually responsible for taking care of situations like mine. Uh-oh! I get transferred several times on my first attempt and finally end up leaving a message for the consolidator. I have no idea what a consolidator does but that is who I am directed to speak with on Monday morning. Consolidator, consolidator, are you there?

    I call the consolidator on Monday morning as directed and I am told that the store is not responsible for this situation but rather the good folks that actually installed the carpet.  Does anyone not outsource anymore? The consolidator insists that this is the process so I ask for the installer’s number and call them. The installer takes the call but it is obvious that they, too, want nothing to do with me and my carpet. Lo and behold, the installer shows up to inspect the carpet. I pick up right away that this is not going anywhere real fast. The installer takes a peek here and there but seems genuinely uninterested in finding out the real issue. I attempt to ask questions for clarity and intent but I get blank looks and lots of mumbled jargon. As I expect, I get a call a few days later from my consolidator explaining that the excessive wear was caused by my family. At this point, not a soul from the store (Home Depot) has offered to come to my house and see it first-hand. What’s next is where I am blown away.

    At wits end, I decide to tweet about my unfortunate experience with Home Depot.  I am not sure what I am expecting but in some ways it feels like a great way to blow off some steam.  Within fifteen minutes, I get a tweet from Tinzley at Home Depot. She is pleasant and seems genuinely interested in finding a resolution.  I explain the who, what, when, where, and why to Tinzley and she goes to work in tracking down the appropriate people for me to speak with. As you might have guessed by now, this story has a happy ending as our new carpet looks great.

    I am not sure how many other Tinzley’s are out there right now listening and monitoring every Tweet, Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube post but I saw firsthand the power of the phenomenon we call social media.

    Take-away: Social media is real, pervasive and it matters. If you don’t believe me, just ask your customers. I think you might be surprised just how many are using social media. On a side note, I still have no idea what a consolidator does which still bothers me.

    On another side note, Tinzley, wherever you are, Thank you!

    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals

    Filed Under: Gamechangers

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    About the Author: Devin Hughes is a former college basketball player, sales and marketing aficionado, keynote speaker, part-time academic and frequent eclectic thinker. He draws on a variety of ideas, disciplines and trends to inspire “Big Thoughts” and facilitate conversations. He is an avid storyteller who has the unique ability to connect with audiences by inspiring them to be the change they wish to see in the world. A graduate of Colgate University, he lives Carlsbad, CA with his wife and four daughters. You may contact him via e-mail at devin@devinchughes.com. His website is: http://www.devinchughes.com/

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