UPDATE (July 15th): More than a week after my bad experience with Office Depot, there are signs that someone in the company understands the importance of transparent customer relations. I just received the following email, so it seems only fair that I share it, so you can see how it ended.
Here’s what’s right with the email.
- Admitting that I received poor service.
- A sincere apology.
- Reassurance that this is not the norm.
- Transparency in what went wrong and what’s being changed.
- A refund of the purchase–not asked for, but certainly a nice gesture.
- Thanking me for bringing to their attention.
- The big one. She didn’t ask me to update this post, but her email was sufficient that I wanted to.
Like I always say. When you screw up, remember these three words. Sincerity, Transparency, Consistency. I’ll likely order from Office Depot again. When I do, let’s hope this same issue is not repeated.
Dear Mr. Beal:
I have been made aware of your extremely poor experience ordering a Toshiba Hard Drive for delivery from Office Depot. Please accept my sincere apology for the poor service and poor communication that you have received. What you have described does not reflect the way that we intend to do business.
The email response that you received does not reflect the way that we desire to interact with our customers. Our correspondence should have been more personal and should have reflected a much better understanding of the problem that you reported. Our Customer Service manager is reviewing this with the CSR as it is our intention to respond much more effectively when called upon for help.
Additionally, I’m sharing your comments regarding the delivery delays and lack of notification with the appropriate members of the Management Team at our Distribution Center in Charlotte, NC. It is our intention to deliver your order on the date that we say we will, but sometimes a problem can occur despite our best efforts. In those rare cases it is our policy to provide you with immediate notification and to keep you informed of any subsequent developments. I recognize that this is not the level of service that you received and I want to assure you that we are conducting a detailed review of this matter so that we can address the points of failure. We are also working to improve the ability of our customers to obtain enhanced real time tracking of their orders as well as updated status notifications. We intend to deploy these enhancements in the immediate near future.
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts in such a candid way, as it is comments like yours that help us identify where the actual level of service falls short of expectations. I realize that I cannot change what has happened, but I hope to make up for it at least in a small way. In that regard I have issued a full credit for $64.04 so that you may keep the hard drive with our compliments. You should see the credit on one of your next two billing statements.
I hope that my response provides you with the reassurance that customer service is our top priority, and that your concerns were indeed taken seriously once they were fully understood. I do hope that you will allow us another opportunity in the future to earn your business so that we may provide you with the great service that you deserve. Thank you again for being kind enough to allow us to view your comments.
[Name removed by Andy]
Senior Customer Relations Manager
Executive Customer Relations
It is with a heavy heart that I bring news that Office Depot has entered the Reputation Deadpool.
How did it happen? Let’s do a Wayne’s World flashback shall we?
July 7th – The Deal
I saw that Office Depot was offering a Toshiba portable hard drive at a fantastic price. I normally order through Staples but decided to give Office Depot a shot. After all, Office Depot was offering free next day delivery–sweet!
July 7th – 2 minutes later
OK, so Office Depot can’t offer me next day shipping on this product, only 3 day shipping. Keep in mind, this is coming from a local delivery center. Oh well, I can wait 3 days. Ordered.
July 10th – No sign of Office Depot
Not only did I not get my order from Office Depot, but I didn’t hear from anyone either.
July 11th – The Optimistic Call
OK, this is promising. Someone from the local delivery center calls.
They couldn’t deliver my order yesterday, because they were too busy! Yep, apparently the delivery guys had decided that my order was less important than all the others. Huh?
My order will be delivered today.
July 11th – 8pm
You guessed it. No sign of the Office Depot guys. They didn’t call, didn’t write, nothing! I checked my order status online. You’ll never guess what it said. My order was delivered on July 10th! What? Either the delivery guys are trying to avoid letting their boss know that they didn’t deliver ontime, or, worse, they’re currently backing-up their music collection to MY harddrive!
July 11th – 8:05pm
I sent the following email to Office Depot’s customer service:
I received a call this morning saying that my order was not delivered on
July 10th, because they ran out of time. How is that fair on me?
They said it would be delivered today. It is 8pm and it still has not
Tracking shows the order was delivered on the 10th, which is clearly not
Please advise on my order status and explain why I should trust Office
Depot over Staples for future orders?
Surely the mere mention of Staples would be enough to get its attention and a resolution?
July 13th – The Reply
Thank you for contacting Office Depot. We have forwarded a Customer
Resolution Form to your local Distribution Center and you will be
contacted within 24 hours.
Should you require any additional customer service assistance, please
contact our Distribution Center at 1-800-GO-DEPOT (1-800-463-3768).
Thank you for choosing Office Depot!
E – Commerce Technical Support.
- Where’s the apology?
- Where’s the transparency?
- Where’s the responsibility for the snafu?
- Where’s the personalized response?
July 14th – 9:30 am and waiting…
No call (yet) from Office Depot’s “local Distribution Center” and no sign of the delivery truck either.
I’ve not dealt with Office Depot before. Do you think I’m going to order from it again?
The moral of the story?
Customers sometimes get bad experiences–even they understand that. However, when something goes wrong, the company has an opportunity to show that it cares about the customer and wants their repeat business. In our Radically Transparent world, Office Depot should treat situations like this, as if the customer is a popular blogger, with the audience (and Google juice) to hurt its reputation. Making that assumption with ALL customers, would hold Office Depot (and any company) in good stead.
When you fail your customers, treat them the way you’d want to be treated in the situation. Otherwise, the next customer you annoy, might just publish his complaint on the web.
UPDATE: At 10am, the local delivery guy for Office Depot shows up at my door. I didn’t want to grill him–he’s just the van driver–but I did ask, “why the delay?” His response? They were backed up from July 4th.
That was ten days ago! Last time I checked, July 4th was not much of a “buy and send stuff” holiday like Christmas or Valentine’s day. I had ordered only a portable harddrive, what if I had been waiting on office furniture for 20 new employees?