Face to Face or Social Space: Where Is The Customer Best Served?

By Clay Darrohn The weekend before Memorial Day, I was feeling good. It was early spring and all I can think about is my Tiki Bar and inviting friends to my house for a party. You see, I have two young children, so the days of partying outside the confines of my home are over! But...that's a completely different blog. Anyway, it’s time to get the yard in order, spread the mulch, weed, lay down some red stone, etc. So, I bought a ton of product from Lowes (to be shipped to my home) and hired some contractors (I know I should do it myself, remember, I have two young children). All seems to be in order and I can hear Bob Marley playing in the back of my head and almost taste my first Mojito of the season.

It’s Sunday morning....GO TIME! Product will be shipped to my house at 9am and contractors will arrive by 9:30am. Tools are out and I'm waiting. I wait till 10am before I make the first call. The local Lowes says it's on its way. Contractors are at my home with nothing to do. This routine continues until 1pm. By this time, I have zero credible information from Lowes, my contractors are offering to wash my car and I'm losing money faster than if I were in Vegas...not really. I go to the store. I see the assistant store manager. His job is to only assist in the incompetence. They can't find the delivery company (which was apparently sub-contracted by Lowes). By the time I leave the store it's 2pm and the driver finally calls to say they will be at the house by 3pm, which works out great for me because my contractors have to leave 4pm. Bottom-line....I'm out $680, a half a day’s work, and the contractors have to come back Monday to finish. But at least my car is the cleanest it's ever been. I have heard nothing back from Lowes in how they are going to make this better.

They assume that I'll go away. I don't. I wasn't getting anything from going into the actual store and breathing fire, plus I've worked in social media long enough to have seen some amazing turn-arounds when the issue is brought online. I go to their Facebook Page. I let loose. I mean...I was hot like the fire from seven suns. Twenty minutes go by....I get a message saying to "e-mail them all the details and they'll look into the situation".

Two days later I get a call from the store manager. Finally, a bright light- she apologizes and wires $760 into my bank account to compensate me. I went immediately back to their Facebook page to thank them for solving my problem expeditiously. Really? It's that easy? I'm here telling all of you it is.

My Key Takeaways are:

1. Retail locations are too chaotic to handle these issues and fail to see the big picture. They lack vision.

2. In my e-mail to corporate, I was extremely detailed. I had names, dates and times.

3. I also had an ex-Lowes employee (who read my post) help me tailor my e-mail to mention corporate big wigs. My Facebook post activated an internal coach for me. Unbelievable!!!

4. I also knew what it would take to make me happy. I gave them an exact dollar amount. Never leave it open-ended.

I'm a stickler when it comes to customer service. It can really build or destroy a company. We all work very hard for the money we spend. We deserve top notch experiences when we spend it.

Please feel free to share your customer service wins through social media. We can all use a few tips in navigating this "Big Box" retail environment. Share below in the comments!