I spend a lot of time and money in The Home Depot. They always make me feel welcome. I frequent two different Home Depot stores in my home state of Texas, and I have the same experience in either store. I’ve come to expect them to know my name, and they do. I’ve come to expect them to ask about the last project we discussed, as well as the next one coming, and they do.
They even take the time to listen to my project plans in detail and have, on occasion, steered me away from disaster by kindly suggesting a different approach. They have never been wrong with these suggestions, and they have saved me from messing things up on more than one occasion. In short, I am always happy with the in-store experience at The Home Depot. They work hard to make their store feel like home, and they do a good job of it.
It occurs to me that this is not the experience I have in most major chain retail stores. Most everywhere else I go, I walk in and I recognize them, but they don’t recognize me. It doesn’t feel good. This is a missed opportunity, and The Home Depot does a great job of differentiating itself by capitalizing on this.
But The Home Depot doesn’t stop with building a great in-store rapport with their customers. They also manage to surprise and delight with the little things.
A perfect example of this is what happened just a few weeks ago. I was shopping at The Home Depot in Dripping Springs, TX. I was picking up some hardware to hang up a large piece of wall art, and as I was checking out, an employee approached me and asked, “Do you like it when it’s cold outside?”
Since it was a balmy November afternoon, this was kind of an odd question, but I decided to play along. “No,” I said, “but considering it’s 75 degrees outside right now, I think I’m safe.”
To this he responded, “Well, when we get our two weeks of winter this year, try these out. They’re on us!” Then he slapped down some glove warmers on the counter. I won’t need them, but I have a son-in-law who is going to just love them next time he’s sitting in the cold during a football game.
Not every company is going to be The Home Depot, but every company, particularly retail brands, would do well to watch and learn something from how The Home Depot treats their customers. From their warm in-store experience to the little moments of surprise and delight, The Home Depot talks the talk and walks the walk of a company that understands the value of relationships.
And the result, at least for this customer, is a high level of loyalty and an ever growing share of my wallet. It all starts with caring about their customers and then finding ways to show they care.