Home Improvement Customer Satisfaction Needs a Remodel

I recently became a customer satisfaction statistic.

Four out of 10 consumers will recommend that others not frequent a business if they’ve had poor customer service
(Dimensional Research).

Or perhaps:

Angry American customers will share their negative experience with about 15 people (American Express).

I had a bad experience with a national home improvement brand and mentioned my lack of customer satisfaction regularly to friends and family. I also posted to social media and warned my online friends and followers not to use the brand. Not that I have thousands of friends and followers, but anyone who chooses to go somewhere else is lost revenue.

And 70% of the customer journey is based on how the customer feels they are being treated (McKinsey).

This was a project where one thing led to another. It became a continual drumbeat of parts that needed to be ordered or arrived damaged and had to be re-ordered. But the worst part was that it seemed like no one at the store cared — or at least not the people who didn’t pick up the phone. And not the people who weren’t much help when I got frustrated and drove to the store. Definitely not the customer service person who actually did call me while we were still waiting for parts to come in — only to tell me that I had a one-year warranty now that my project was complete.

So, being in the business of customer experience, it was easy to identify three simple things this brand could have done better.

1. Make it easy to get answers

The automated attendant at this store can only transfer you to phone extensions and send you back to the operator when no one answers. If a person actually answered, the first thing they asked for was my phone number so they could pull up my order.

This is a perfect situation to upgrade to a call center with artificial intelligence (AI)-powered self-service. A bot would recognize my phone number, pull up my order and provide me with the answer it thinks I’m looking for, based on my information. That would be information like when those missing parts were in.

If that’s not the answer I wanted, it could hand me to someone who actually was available, along with all the order information, my history with the company and prompts and assistance for a successful conversation.

2. Contact me — don’t make me contact you

A little informed proactive outbound communication from the call center would have gone a long way to improve my customer satisfaction. When the installers discovered something wrong or missing, I could have been sent a quick text or voicemail message telling me what was missing. And they could have confirmed that it had been ordered and let me know when it would arrive.

I’d have still been disappointed that it pushed out the timeline. But, because I was kept informed and didn’t have to try and track down the information myself, I’d have thought this was a good customer experience.

3. Understand where I am in my journey

Whatever system triggered the warranty call, it’s clear that customer service team had no visibility into my journey. They couldn’t see that I’d started with research on their website, been into the store six times, talked to someone in the store on the phone once, talked to the installers every couple of weeks and was still waiting for parts the store had ordered.

Without this call center visibility, each contact becomes a one-off — a random act — instead of another step in a connected customer journey. This not only negatively affected my customer satisfaction, but it set this rep up to fail. She thought she was delivering great news to me and received a less-than-delighted response.

As Bill Gates once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” I hope this brand is taking notes.