Shame on You Home Depot!

Posted on by in Branding/Differentiation, Customer Service, Leadership, Managing Talent, Marketing, Remarkability

Now, before I explain the title of this post, let me give you some background. Unlike a lot of people, I’m not a home fix-it kind of guy. My father, who was a college professor, earned his way through college as a carpenter and is incredibly skilled in carpentry and home repair. My brother is a programmer who’s picked up our father’s skill set at starting (and occasionally completing :-) home projects. And even my wife, who’s a nurse, has become a home fix-it kind of person. In fact, my father finally gave up a few years ago trying to give me tools for Christmas–and now gives them to my wife. So, my confession, up front, is that I’m not a Home Depot kind of guy.

That said, last Thursday, my father sent me a list of things he needed from Home Depot to complete the installation of a new sliding glass door at my home. Not necessarily excited by the task, I got in my car and drove over to the local Home Depot, with my list in tow, and entered “The Unfamiliar Zone.”

I call it that because it’s all out of my comfort zone. And in my previous journeys to Home Depot, I’ve rarely met anyone who’s been exceptionally helpful. Despite advertising to the contrary, most of the time I ask a question of someone at Home Depot, they point down the concrete pathway and says, “I think that’s on aisle … about halfway down on your right.” Thanks!

However, last Thursday, that all changed. As I walked into Home Depot (at the lumber entrance), a Home Depot employee was walking towards me and, probably noticing my pained look, asked, “Can I help you?” To which I quickly replied, “Absolutely!”

He asked, “What do you need help with?” I pulled out the list my father had sent me by email and said, “My father sent me a list of items he needs to complete the installation of our new sliding glass door.”

He (his name is Shadi–picture below) said, “Can I see the list?” “Absolutely!” As soon as he saw what I needed (chair rail, floor base and trim) he took hold of my cart (one of the lumber ones) and started walking me toward the correct area of the store. As we were walking Shadi asked, “Do you know the sizes of each of these? And what kind of trim or chair rail you need?” Etc.

Fortunately, I had taken measurements and photos with my iPhone so I could show someone what I needed (since I knew I didn’t have the right vocabulary). He said, “Perfect. I know exactly what you need.”

And then Shadi did something wonderful, he literally walked me to each of the three places where I needed to get what was on the list, pulled out what I needed out, cut the wood into the exact lengths I needed, and even helped me save some money. It was truly wonderful. In fact, I even said, “This is like having a personal shopper!”

So, why did I title this post, “Shame on You Home Depot!”?

Because when we were done and I had shared with Shadi how much I really appreciated everything he had done for me (and he did it rather quickly, by the way), I asked, “So, Shadi, do you have a comment card I can fill out on you about how terrific your service was?” He could only reply, “No!”

I continued, “Well, is there a manager I can talk with?” He politely said, “Don’t worry, it’s nothing. It was my pleasure.” As I walked to the front of the store, I kept looking for a manager to share my story with–and couldn’t find one. I asked the cashier, “Do you have any comment cards I can fill out?” She said, “No!” I said, ‘Really?“ And she said, “The only thing we have is a computer way down at the other end that you can log onto and fill something out.” End of story. Fortunately, Shadi had walked to the front of the store by then so I could grab a photo of him with my iPhone (which you can see below).

But shame on Home Depot for not making it easy for someone like me to brag on one of their employees! They should be collecting these stories and sharing them in every location all the time. Great customer service doesn’t just happen. You have to cast vision about it. And nothing speaks louder than a compliment from a customer about a great service experience.

So, how about you? Do you have a system in place that makes it easy to capture customer testimonies? Do you use multiple capture methods? Do you have some Shadi’s that you need to lift up? Do you regularly cast vision about great customer service? Etc.

At the end of the day, you and I don’t know Home Depot by their executive team. We know Home Depot (and every other business) based on the Shadi’s of the world–the people we actually interact with. And the same goes for you and your company. So who are the “Shadi’s” of your company? And how are you going to make heroes out of them today?

To your accelerated success!

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10 Responses to “Shame on You Home Depot!”

  1. Stephanie, Home Depot Customer Care 2 June 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    Hi this is Stephanie, Social Media Specialist at Home Depot. Glad to hear you had a good experience in the store. We are making a lot of improvements; it’s nice to see that it’s taking effect at your store and Shadi was such a great help to you.

    We actually have a few ways you can express your comments about a store experience. One, your receipt has a web address ( leads you to our online survey. Two, you may call Customer Care at 800-466-3337 and share your experience with a Resolution Expediter who will in turn share with the store management. Three, you may reach us on any of our social media pages (Twitter,Facebook,& YouTube)
    Thank you again for sharing your feedback.

    Stephanie, Social Media Specialist

  2. Bruce Johnson 2 June 2010 at 1:15 pm #

    Stephanie, thanks for chiming in. My only recommendation would be to think like a customer. What’s the easiest way to make a comment? If you don’t add the option of getting it right then and there, in the moment, you’re going to lose most of the positive comments. People who are ticked off will go online. But happy people, for the most part, won’t take the time.

  3. Ben Landers 5 June 2010 at 4:06 pm #

    It’s amazing that Stephanie tracked you down! Your posts must really be getting out there or does Home Depot have a fancy tracking software that alerts them any time someone types their name on the web!? ;)

  4. Bruce Johnson 5 June 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    Ben, it is! You can contact Stephanie, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this just came up in Google Alerts. But as a “Social Media Specialist,” I’m guessing that this is her job. The world sure has changed!

  5. SPS Chauhan 13 June 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    I also agree Bruce. You should have some simpler and faster way to share the recognition for Shadi. Later on with time constraints it really misses you mind.

  6. Mat Heating 19 August 2010 at 9:16 pm #

    It’s great to know that there are people like Shadi out there when i have a list of thingamajigs and whatchamacallits to purchase at Home Depot. I think we’ve all spent a fair amount of time wandering around looking for products we weren’t quite familiar with!

  7. Sears jobs 6 September 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    I really enjoy the way this blog is laid out. I think it is good. If you dont care me asking, what template is the blog? Thanks.

  8. Bruce Johnson 6 September 2010 at 1:50 pm #

    And thanks for asking. My blog/site is currently using a template from called Flexx (and the child theme is Candy Apple). From there, I just played with the stylesheet until I got what I wanted. Hope that helps!

  9. Winona Monohan 2 June 2011 at 10:13 am #

    Awesome post, keep it up :)

  10. Apeira Designs 25 September 2011 at 5:10 pm #

    You have to cast vision about it. And nothing speaks louder than a compliment from a customer about a great service experience. And the same goes for you and your company. Glad to hear you had a good experience in the store. My only recommendation would be to think like a customer. People who are ticked off will go online. You should have some simpler and faster way to share the recognition for Shadi. Later on with time constraints it really misses you mind.

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