Home Depot Makes a Big Impression

Saturday morning I went looking for a new Wet/Dry Vac. I had been looking at the flyers to see what was on sale and was now going to look at the 3 stores that had product advertised at around the same price.

First stop, I saw the unit on sale and it had the key feature I needed -- a convertible leaf blower. But I wasn’t sure how it compared in power and size to the other 2 units advertised. So on to the second store.

At the second store -- Home Depot -- the product on sale was a good value, comparable size and power but didn’t have the key blower feature that I wanted. I mentioned this to the young man who had helped me find the unit and he showed me another unit -- bigger, more powerful, $30.00 more expensive at regular price -- that had the leaf blower conversion.

“Great” I said, “if it was on sale for the same price I would have purchased it.”

“I would be happy to give you the sale price” he said. I thought I was hearing things! But he repeated his offer.

I asked him how he could just make this offer. He said (proudly and pointing to a badge pinned to his apron), “I am empowered to make our customers happy.”

He then carried my new Wet/Dry Vac to the cash register where he told the cashier the new discounted price for the unit and that it should be coded as a customer satisfaction discount. The cashier rang it in without a question. WOW!

Happy? You bet! More loyal than when I arrived? You bet! Telling my friends? You bet!

Home Depot had clearly communicated that building loyal customers is everyone’s job to this young man. He was enthused and empowered to make the sale and a clear process was in place to make it happen easily.

Home Depot had stopped me in my tracks. They had reset a new expectation of improved customer satisfaction and had moved to the top of my list for hardware purchases.

Now clearly he had played the price card. But I never went to the 3rd store and Home Depot will be my first stop next time I am looking for hardware purchases.

What are you doing to empower your employees to build customer loyalty? Do you have guidelines in place that allow them to make decisions on the spot that will build loyalty? If not -- you should.

What kind of guidelines could you put in place to empower your employees to make on-the-spot decisions to build customer loyalty?

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Mark Henson

Love the empowered employee idea. But you said it, he played the price card.

Suggestion for everyone who reads this: REWARD GOOD SERVICE, regardless of price. Think about it. If you cross town to save five bucks, you’ve probably spent more than that in gas.


Glad you had a ‘stopped me in my tracks’ experience with HD, Bill. Unfortunately, for us in Vancouver, and perhaps our team in Toronto as well, service at HD can really be hit or miss. A shame it had to happen at their ‘new’ store as well…

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