Lowes Home Improvement Store was the only store to really follow up and discuss our concerns about their customer service. This speaks very well of Lowes. In April 2007, we wrote a review on Home Depot and Lowes Home Improvement Store. My thoughts were that these stores were not really interested in customers doing just home repair. We shared our article with both Home Depot and Lowes Home Improvement Stores via email. Both stores acknowledged receipt of our email, but only Lowes Home Improvement telephoned followed up. Lowes took the time to call and discuss the article with us. As far as we're concerned, this speaks volumes in how Lowes' values me as a customer and underscores their commitment to serve customers doing home improvement projects. That can not be said for Home Depot. Discussions with Lowes Customer Relations Manager I was contacted by Mr. Marvin Campbell from Lowes' Alexandria, Virginia store. He informed me that he received my email but had not read the web article. After I faxed him a copy, we spent 45 minutes on the phone discussing my concerns. Marvin explained that Lowes was very committed to helping home repair customers with their projects. He mentioned that almost 75 percent of Lowes customers are women and that Lowes stores had wider aisles to make shopping more pleasant. Marvin detailed that Lowes has programs in place to train people in their stores how to assist customers. He definitely understood the need to assist customers with finding items in their large stores. He admitted that some employees really understood this while others did not really get it. Marvin also told me that Lowes hires anonymous shoppers who come into their stores unannounced to shop and interact with Lowes associates. The anonymous shoppers rate the performance of the store in a variety of areas, including customer assistance. Marvin was especially proud of the "how to do it" clinics on weekends for kids and grownups. He explained that customers could learn first hand how to paint or lay ceramic tile. He underscored that every Lowes customer could repeatedly go back and talk to a sales associate about their project. When I mentioned the need for a desk that would assist customers with questions, Marvin said that the Customer Service Desk was designed to do that. He also mentioned that Lowes Stores have printed cards that show where major categories of items are. I told him that I have never seen them and that they needed to be in a conspicuous placed where customers could see them. When I mentioned long cashier lines and waiting at Lowes, Marvin acknowledged that on weekends the long lines were inevitable. He said that usually every cashier is on duty and there was little they could do about that. All too true. He did mention that the Alexandria Virginia Store was going to be installing self service checkout registers which he hoped would expedite checkout. Marvin also mentioned that many people use Lowes' website to help them do home improvement projects. He said that any customer could gain additional assistance just by asking for it at the store. I have to admit that the Lowes website is helpful in this regard, but web users are not told that they can ask for help from a Lowes Store if they need it. Perhaps this is obvious to some people, but it was not to me. Lowes Needs to better Publicize its Customer Assistance Program After discussing my concerns with Marvin, I realized that Lowes did have programs available to customers. However, my concern is, do the customers and especially women know that? Also are they encouraged to ask for help both in Lowes' stores and on their website? We'll see in a moment. Marvin was very personable on the telephone and represented Lowes extremely well. The real challenge for Lowes as far as we're concerned is to better articulate Marvin's responses to its customers both in the stores, on the web, and in television and printed advertisements. Our Recommendations to Customers of Lowes Given what you and I know about the various programs to assist customers at Lowes, we recommend that you take full advantage of them. Follow the recommendations below and contact me with your experience. I will publish them on the website and pass them on to Marvin and Lowes.
- If you can't find something in a Lowes Home Improvement Store, ask an associate to take you to it,
- When you are doing a home improvement project, check Lowes' website first for information on what you need and how to do it (print the pages and take it to the store),
- Use the web printout to shop for any materials and tools you'll need to do the project,
- Direct any questions to a Lowes associate or go to the Customer Service Desk. Ask to speak to someone who is knowledgeable in the subject you are dealing with. Share the printed web pages with them,
- Don't waste time wandering aimlessly around the store (unless you want to), ask an associate, Customer Service for help or a card that maps out where major items are located, and
- If you don't get the help you need, ask to see the Customer Relations Manager at the Lowes Store.