Had several interesting conversations regarding my post about the home depot survey. One of them was a with a regular customer who said that service is hit or miss. He mentioned that there is one employee who is very knowledgeable, the rest aren't that great and one employee is downright rude.
One of the other discussions was about the brand. I was chatting with Fouro, prior to my post, and mentioned that I didn't care for their slogan: "You can do it. We can help" .
If you put those two conversations together, it doesn't add up. They say they are going to help, but they don't. They've lied.
It occurs to me that trust is something that takes a lifetime to build and maintain, but it only takes a second to destroy.
One of the reasons they need a survey? They've lied to too many people. They've forgotten what business they're in.
We've all tackled some type of home improvement project, some more grand than others. If I'm in the middle of installing a new faucet in the kitchen or laying down a linoleum floor in the bathroom, the last thing I want to do is run back out because they didn't tell me I might need a trowel for applying the embossing leveler.... or whatever.
Sure, you could argue that it is the job of the manufacturer to help with that stuff, however, I think that the hardware store (HD or Lowes) ought to "help" make sure that I have everything I need before I leave the store.
Save the money on the survey Home Depot. Send each one of your employees home with a customer and have them watch the customer work on the project they're buying supplies for. Actually, you could skip that altogether if you just hired people who truly loved home improvement projects.
Here are some interview questions:
1.) Which of the following magazines do you subscribe to?
- Better Homes & Gardens
- Architectural Digest
2.) What is your favorite show on HGTV?
3.) What was the name of Bob Villa's assistant on This Old House?
4.) What is the name of the guy who replaced Bob Villa?
5.) What is the difference between treated and untreated lumber?
As much as I hate to use Wal-Mart as an example, their IT deparment does something very cool...
...before Wal-Mart's people actually write and deploy an app, they make the developer work in the job the app is being written to support. If Wal-Mart devises a new point-of-sale system, for example, software team members have to spend time working the cash registers first. Design empathy for software development is, of course, a wonderful thing.
Intuit, the makers of Quicken and Turbo Tax, have a cool program called "Follow me home":
Year after year, Quicken employees learn first hand from customers how to improve the product by visiting them in their homes. Through this "Follow Me Home" program employees learn how people use Quicken, what they like about it, and more importantly what they don't like about it. Wendy Padmos of Calif. was one of dozens of volunteer participants in last year's program.
"When the Quicken team came to my house, I thought they just wanted to find out how they could better advertise to me and people like me, but it wasn't that at all," said Padmos. "It was much more customer-focused. They wanted to know how I used their product, what was important to me, and what was not important to me. I told them I would like the ability to see my current spending against my average spending over the last 12 months, and now it's in the product!"
What do you think? Wouldn't businesses be less likely to need surveys if their employees understood customers better? What ideas do you have to help businesses better understand their customers?