Simple ways to improve your customers’ experience

The Home Depot
Great customer experiences pay.

So I went to The Home Depot on Saturday.

(Why it’s not “Home Depot”, mind you, but THE Home Depot is a post for another day.)

I needed three items: 1) Air filters for my home. 2) Drywall adhesive tape. 3) Whatever those straps are called that hold furniture in place in case of an earthquake.

I’ll assume you’ve been in Home Depot before. It’s massive enough that it deserves its own Starbucks — although maybe that’s not saying much. While all of the rows are arranged sensibly and with straightforward signage, it’s much faster to ask someone where you need to go to get what you need efficiently.

So I did that for items #1 and 2. Carlos was very helpful, pointing me right to aisle 10 and the last aisle. We didn’t ask about item #3 at that moment, because it escaped my brain momentarily, but after collecting those first two items, my wife remembered that third item…and we went about looking for it.

With no luck. I mean, again, what do you call those things?

So, we asked the nearest employee. He was of no use, frankly. Either too busy, or disinterested, or both, he sent us “maybe somewhere on aisle X” with a question mark after it.

After looking down that aisle, and another one, we gave up, wanting to get back home. But whom should we run into as we angled towards the cash registers? Yep, Carlos.

He asked if we found the items he sent us after. First of all, we barely recognized that he was the guy who helped us originally – we just weren’t paying that much attention – but HE obviously recognized US. Good on him.

We said yes, but we couldn’t find one other item. This time, rather than point us in the right direction, he walked us right to the item. After answering a couple final questions, we took the item with us and headed out. That was $10 we spent at Home Depot that we had given up expectations to spend – if it hadn’t been for an alert, thorough employee.

He turned a simple transaction into an experience.

Take that one experience with just one employee throughout the workday, times the 2,000 or so stores Home Depot has, times 360 retail days per year, and you’ve got over $7 million in sales (Google calculated that for me, so I know it’s true). Again, that’s just one employee going one step further to make my customer experience “complete”.

I spent more and couldn’t have been happier doing it (for this kind of trip, anyway). Now, lest you think this was just some sort of veiled advertisement for Home Depot, let me turn it into a teaching moment for both of us:

Do you consciously provide these types of experiences in your industries? Because, you know, you control that.

And here’s another thing to think about: Do you fully appreciate how encouraging customers to spend more is not a bad thing and can enhance a customer’s experience?

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