There are two market forces at work. One is that many a homeowner
prefers the convenience of going to one store to find what they need
for their household projects as opposed to going to three, four, five
different places. Two is a large-scale retailer is often positioned to
undercut the prices of smaller, locally-owned stores - e.g., Wal-Mart
killing the small businesses across America.
This trend towards fewer employees as a way of saving the company
money is nothing new: Macy's was doing in back in the early 1990s when
I was a manager there. The belief is the customer doesn't want
employee help and the staff is the easiest place to cut overhead
costs. I know a salesperson who, when Macy's converted their employees
from commission to hourly pay went from making an equivalet of $13/
hour commission to an hourly rate of $8.25/hour. He left pretty
quickly, as did most other competent salespeople.
What HD, Macy's and myriad other large retailers fail to understand is
many customers will not even notice slightly higher-than-average
prices if they get exceptional customer service from well-trained,
knowledgable staff. It's what keeps places like Nordstrom and the
Men's Warehouse and other clothing retailers in business. And it's
what will set apart local hardware stores from the big box places.
Put my vote for the store doing it right.
Their only reason for existence in this world is to turn a profit.
There is little profit in a box store hiring employees to answer dumb
consumer questions. Let the consumer hire a professional to train
I'm on home depots side in this battle.
On 9 Mar 2007 11:08:37 -0800, "Stephen Blackpool"
Heh. Well some people do expect a free consultation with
half a dozen different professionals -- architect, plumber,
electrician, tiler etc.
I don't expect that from HD or Lowes but I do get mightily
pissed when I can't find anyone in the store who can tell
me where they've hidden the XYZ widgets. And if I have to
wait 15 mins in line at the checkout.
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
Dumb questions? How about a young person who needs to know how to hang a
painting on a masonry wall, and nobody at HD has a clue? These are basic
things their employees should know. What's the customer supposed to do? Hire
a mason to answer his/her question about the appropriate hardware?
On 12 Mar 2007 18:27:40 -0700, "Stephen Blackpool"
I'm sure that there is some happy medium that would maximize profit
and long term growth. In other words, keep a few- but not too many.
Good luck with your new boss.
Hint: For all big box stores, Kiosk? with location info need to be
installed for the idiot customers who are too lazy to look around for
I used to like the Home Depot stores also, but after I started going
down to the stores looking for sale items from the weekly flyer and
finding that they would have to raincheck or special order almost
everything that I was looking for I just started going down to Lowe's
with the home depot flyer for a price match because they actually had
the items in stock.
I expect with the housing slowdown Home Depot will start to feel the
pinch and eventually go the route of the old HQ Wearhouse chain. Some
people will say no way but when you see them starting to scale back on
employees then it won't be long before they start shutting down less
productive stores but they won't call it that they will call it
consolidation of market area.
I'm quite happy with the service I get at my Lowe's store people are
always asking me if I need help and assisting me with my purchase.
Lowe's seems to have their act togeather by actually providing what
you want when you need it. Home Depot just puts out commercials.
The man's got class.
I'm Frank Blake, the new CEO for The Home Depot. I've read a number of
the postings on the MSN message board (unfortunately, there were a lot
of them), and we've dispatched a dedicated task force - working
directly with me - that is ready and willing to address each and every
issue raised on this board. Please give us the chance.
There's no way I can express how sorry I am for all of the stories you
shared. I recognize that many of you were loyal and dedicated shoppers
of The Home Depot ... and we let you down. That's unacceptable.
Customers are our company's lifeblood - and the sole reason we have
been able to build such a successful company is because of your
support. The only way we're going to continue to be successful is by
regaining your trust and confidence ... and we will do that.
We've already taken steps to cure many of the ills discussed on this
* We will be and already are increasing our staffing in the stores.
* We're also in the early stages of launching a nationwide program
to recruit and hire skilled master tradespeople to staff our stores so
that our customers receive the kind of service and expertise that made
The Home Depot great.
* We're investing significantly in the appearance of our stores to
make them an easier and more fun place to shop.
* And we're making it clear to all our associates that nothing is
more important than you, the customer. Every associate knows that his
or her number one job is to make you smile and to help you solve your
home improvement problem ... no matter how big or how small.
But the real judge of all of these changes we're making is you. All I
ask is that you please give us the opportunity to win you back. When
you enter our stores, you should receive a personal greeting. After
that, you should encounter a helpful associate who will walk you to
find the tools, material or service you need. If you don't, please let
us know ... just like Scott Burns did.
I'd like to thank Scott - his column about our company was insightful
and revealing. You can easily tell that it struck a nerve with me.
Scott, we'll do all in our power to again make The Home Depot the
store you and your wife, Carolyn, once referred to as "our store." I'd
also like to give my thanks to the many people who posted comments on
this board. We want them. We need them ... to enable us to keep
getting better. We're committed to being the company that helped set
the standard for customer service excellence in home improvement.
Please continue to hold us accountable.
Finally, message boards of this type do not allow us to respond
directly to each poster, so please give us the chance to fix the many
issues discussed on this board by writing to
firstname.lastname@example.org. You have my personal assurance that every
effort will be made to address your concerns.
The Home Depot was built on great customer service, and we will
rebuild on that tradition - just give us the chance!
Huh? Saying, "I'm sorry you got screwed, but things are different now!
From now on, we will use condoms and KY Jelly!"
They blew it big time, and I hope they go down the tube.
I need stuff, and tomorrow, I'm going to Lowe's. Now I don't even consider
Home Depot. Hell, Ace is better than Home Depot, and Ace is getting bad,
Stop by for a beer sometime.
I was suggesting that a kiosk(sp?) be installed in every store that
lists the parts and where or what aisle and section the part is
You should be able to do it once and be essentially the same for
every store for 95% of the parts.
And if it works, you could sell a little advertising space on it to
pay for it.
On 15 Mar 2007 20:50:26 -0700, "Stephen Blackpool"
Mr Blake might want to try listening to his employees - and not just
managers. My son worked in a HD in NJ years ago. He and all the
regulars saw what was going on and predict the decline. Many also left
for Lowes. Perhaps giving every employee a book or two - Like Good to
Great might help.
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