Recently we had a new water softener and heater installed. And though I enjoy the good feeling I get from improving our home, I loathe the process.
I feel this way because too many retailers and contractors have made it a horrible experience for customers. From “bait and switch” advertisements to aggressive up-selling to the cliched service scheduler who proudly announces their installers will be there between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. Ugh!
But some big box stores have changed the rules.
Best Buy is one example. We’ve bought our last two sets of washers and dryers there. Every time they’ve made it fast, easy and affordable. And their installers are on time, professional and neat. Both times the experience was positive and seamless. Not a “wow!” but rather an “I didn’t know it could be this easy.” And that’s how it should be.
Lowes is another company that has made appliance purchasing a relatively painless experience.
Every employee we talked to was polite and helpful. If they didn’t have answers on the spot, they found them. While my wife was tending to paperwork details I watched another employee who was at the end of his shift. Several times customers crossed his path and he helped them as if he had nothing else in the world going on. They were his #1 focus and he let them know it, even though his shift had ended (and it was 8:00 on a Friday evening).
My big concern when buying appliances is the installation. When I buy a big-ticket item I want the same people who sold it to me to install it. That prevents finger pointing and accountability gaps.
While Home Depot told us they had nothing to do with installation, Lowes built it right into the purchase. They have their own installers. It’s a seamless experience. All we had to do is pick the appliance and pay for it. They handled everything else.
A while ago I wrote about an amazing Lowes customer service experience. And this recent experience simply affirms that belief. Even though there were bumps along the way, Lowes and their installer did a wonderful job.
Here are a few things they did that made this a positive customer service experience:
1. The installation company called to let me know they were on the way. (30 minutes later our appliances arrived.)
2. When he arrived, the installer looked me in the eye, introduced himself and shook my hand. (And he did it naturally, not like a robot.)
3. He explained what needed to be done for the best installation and he took his time to make sure I understood.
4. He was knowledgeable about our local code and water conditions.
5. When there were problem he handled them calmly and quickly. He never complained or made negative comments about anyone (no matter how justified such comments might have been.)
6. He cleaned up after his work so there was no mess. Just two spiffy new appliances.
7. He kept me informed as to the status of his work throughout the process.
8. When he was done he gave me some usage tips on how to maintain the two new appliances.
9. He didn’t come in our house smelling like smoke.
10. He acted like a regular guy who enjoyed his work.
Oh and one last thing. He played with our dog Maggie. (She loves that.)
Bottom line: Even though things went wrong during, the primary customer facing employee (the installer) did an Amazing job. He was friendly, professional and positive. He delivered a lasting and favorable impression for Lowes that will earn them more business from us.