Customer service is a key issue of concerns especially among companies. A company’s customer policies and the general way in which its employees treat customers highly influence the consumer preference. This determines the amount of sales made by the company consequently determining profits.
Many corporations spend a lot of resources on policies that promote consumer satisfaction as well as extensive education and promotion of customer care values among the employees. Excellent customer care practices are essential for a business to survive in its industry as the modern market is characterized by competition and differentiated products which provide the consumer with a wide variety to choose from.
The Home Depot is an American retail company for home appliances established in 1978 by Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank. Over the years, the company has transformed consumer’s perspectives on home improvement and designing and it is presently the world’s leading home improvement specialty retailer with over two thousand retail outlets spread across the United states, Canada, Mexico and China (Home Depot, 2010).
One of the major concerns of the company is maintaining the existing customers as well as acquiring new customers. This calls for the need to promote effective customer service in the company.
Customer service is a tough standard in most organizations but in Home Depot, the founders of the company ensured that they lived up to it (Roush, 1999). Marcus and Arthur sought grass root opinions on the effectiveness of the services provided by the company.
Their commitment to effective customer service is demonstrated as they enquire from associates and customers on the company’s weak and strong points as well as recommendations to the problems. In fact, one of the founders noted how customer service greatly impact on the products that the company sells and highlighted the very important part of their policy which is allowing the customer to provide a yellow brick to success of the company (Roush, 2009).
The company ensures that they respond to the customer’s needs and improve the stores as deemed appropriate. However, it is difficult to convince some of the employees to uphold customer service as they are the most crucial determinants for the success of the business. This is because when a customer leaves a store in dissatisfaction, the store will not only lose a customer, but the customer may spread negative information to other customers leading to reduction of sales in that store and the entire company at large.
The company’s founders Marcus and Blank invested countless hours in training sessions throughout the outlets emphasizing on customer care as well as employees knowledge of products being sold. (Roush, 2009) Marcus, a founder acknowledged that the customer is the source of everything that he has and attributed his life to the customers. He further urged the Home Depot employees to embrace the same attitude (Roush, 2009).
Even before the company commenced its operations, its founders considered customer service to be the company’s focal point strategy aiming at eight million annual sales for each store which was double the industry’s output (Roush, 2009). By the end of 1983, the company registered more than a quarter billion in sales and made a profit of ten million.
This growth can be attributed to the strategy of low pricing which was enabled by purchasing goods directly from manufacturers and provision of wide selection of goods. This helped the company to overcome competitions from other companies (Roush, 2009). Increased volumes of customers led to crowding and long queues which called for the need for establishment of new stores. Currently, the company operates an online shopping site where consumers can order products right from their homes.
However, a lot of complaints are recently being raised regarding the customer service in some of Home depot stores. Customer complaints range from bad credit facilities to lack of attention from the employees. This is likely to negatively impact on the performance of company especially because of the prevailing economic conditions in US where the highest percentage of stores is situated.
The graphical representation displays the downward trend of consumer confidence index in the United States which consequently affects the amount of sales resulting from consumer’s reluctance from making purchases.
Home Depot is a service industry and its overall performance is rated according to the amount of sales made over time. The customer is the major determinant of the amount of sales achieved by the company. It is therefore important for the company to ensure that its customer service is maintained at the highest standards in order to realize high profit margins.
This is primarily due to the fact that consumers respond actively to the services they obtain in the Home depot stores which impact either negatively or positively on the company’s returns depending on the level of consumer satisfaction.
Due to technological advancements in the modern society, the company should continually promote its e retail trading. The company should also extensively educate the employees on customer values service and take disciplinary action against employees who do not uphold these values. The company should also have an established customer care department to regulate customer service.
Home Depot, official website (2010). Our history. Retrieved October 21, 2010 from http://corporate.homedepot.com/wps/portal/!ut/p/c1/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gDdwNHH0sfE3M3AzMPJ8OAACdDAwgAykdiypsaG8Dk8ev288jPTdUvyI0oBwDH_94N/dl2/d1/L2dJQSEvUUt3QS9ZQnB3LzZfMEcwQUw5TDQ3RjA2SEIxUEY5MDAwMDAwMDA!/
Roush, C. (1999). Inside home depot: how one company revolutionized an industry through the relentless pursuit of growth. New York: McGraw-Hill Professionals.