Client experience

What do I remember from my trip today to HomeDepot? Waiting. A lot of waiting. At the return section, even though there were three cashiers around the corner waiting for clients. At the tiling department, only to hear that the tiles to be picked up had to be collected at the special services. At special services, as the warehouse must be a long walk for the person who’s job it is to get ordered packages for clients. In tool more than 30 minutes of waiting, just to pick some items.

Is “waiting” what HomeDepot wants me to remember from this experience or to think about when I hear “HomeDepot”? It didn’t make me buy more stuff, and it surely doesn’t want me to go back for a future purchase.

I am probably not the average customer HomeDepot is aiming for, and perhaps I am one of the few people noticing “idle” staff within 5 meters of wanting customers. It makes me think of one of the Charlie Chaplin movies where he just turns a bolt, blind to anything happening around him. And of Seth Godin’s “it’s not my job” rule for bad design.

All I have left to do is taking a positive spin: a lot of work for user experience design out there, and a topic to write about. Oh, and putting my new tiles on our new fireplace. But that can wait a bit.

Something broken is not the issue, how you deal with it is.

Monday evening I had the unpleasant experience of losing my phone and internet connection. As it was below -30 C it wasn’t a complete shock that things that are outside could break. My issue was not that my phone and internet service was broken, but the fact I could not find any information regarding this outage. My best luck was by phoning the Support line (using my cell), where I was greeted with a ” your estimated waiting time is 15-24 minutes”. When you get a fairly accurate estimate you get your hopes up, right? One hour and 15 minutes later (that’s 75 minutes) I was greeted by a support person whose responded to my “outage report” with the heart warming and comforting word “yes”. Or it may actually have been more like “aha”. No apologies. No information on what was going on other that “there is an issue in your area”.

It is not my intend to trash the lady I was talking to. She did not break the system and she did not know what was going on. It is Shaw I am trashing for not letting their employees and customers know what was going on. Is it that hard to put a note on your website stating that a specific area is currently experiencing issues and being serviced, or have some sort of message at the beginning of the support line’s automated system? Good communication can be easy and goes a long way with positive experience with a brand.

Again, with the weather circumstances, and just in general, I fully understand things break. But how you deal with and communicate about this outage as a service provider is how customers experience it. Big fail for Shaw in this case. I just hope it is due to their inexperience with outages.