Dear Home Depot


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Greetings.  This is going to sound strange, but I actually had a great customer experience at Home Depot this week.  And because it was such a unique event in my long relationship with this gigantic (or is it “ginormous”) home improvement company, it caused me to send a letter to the CEO.  You see I’ve come to expect a lot of frustration whenever I shop at Home Depot.  Sure I appreciate their low prices and large inventory, but I wouldn’t mind a bit more help on occasion.  Or a bit more knowledge, guidance, interest, and engagement.  After all, isn’t that what their slogan–“You can do it.  We can help.”–is all about?  But instead, I’m often hard-pressed to find anyone wearing a bright orange apron adorned with customer service pins who can answer any of my semi-technical questions.  That’s assuming I can find anyone who is willing to help me.  I know that’s probably a slight exaggeration.  But it’s the image that countless visits to Home Depot has etched into my mind.   

And that brings us to a young man named Roberto (name changed to protect the innocent) who had the audacity, when I seemed a bit confused, to walk over and ask if he could help.  ”I’m trying to build a simple, elegant, solid, and relatively inexpensive place for our new grill,” I replied, as images of beautiful flagstone danced in my head.  ”Let me show you what we have,” he said, “and how you might put it together.”  ‘Really?’ I thought to myself, wondering if I was dreaming.  Then, when we got to the racks with stone he had the nerve to pull out a pad of paper and a pen and help me to think about the best size stones, possible configurations, and the type of base I would need to provide level and reliable support.  Then, he had the gall to climb under the rack to help me find the smoothest ones, carefully moving at least twenty 50-pound stones until we found just the right ones.  But he didn’t stop there.  He also helped me place them on a cart, pick out the gravel I would need for the base, get through checkout, and put them in my car.  Then wished me well and told me he looked forward to my return to the store and to hearing how the project went.

For a few days I pondered whether or not to write this down in a letter of thanks. Maybe the company didn’t want associates to be this helpful and I would only be getting him in trouble.  Maybe the other employees–i.e., the ones who always ignore me–were following specific company policy, and he had somehow veered inappropriately from finely-tuned customer service guidelines.  

But that couldn’t be.  Or could it?  Wouldn’t Home Depot want all of its associates to help the customers and, in the process, pave the way for their enthusiastic return?


We win in business by going above and beyond the call of duty, and by offering answers and a helping hand.  Maybe it’s time for you to anticipate your customers’ needs.  And possibly shock them in the process.

Cheers and have a great week ahead!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Alan Gregerman
Alan Gregerman is an award-winning author, consultant and keynote speaker who has been called "one of the most original thinkers in business today" and "the Robin Williams of business consulting." His work focuses on helping companies and organizations to unlock the genius in all of their people in order to deliver the most compelling value to their customers.


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