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For awhile, I thought that life might have actually improved. Now, curb side pick up had expanded to so many stores. It kept up social distances, saved time, and even saved money on last minute and unplanned purchases. For several orders, Home Depot did a phenomenal job. Within about two hours of an order, it was ready for pick up. That was a huge time savings and made me think about more things I could now order from Home Depot instead of Amazon.

Then the stores re-opened to the public.

My expectations remained the same in terms of pick up timeframes. Except for a small yellow banner with the general statement that due to COVID-19, things were a bit delayed, nothing was extraordinary. I didn’t think the order was going to be so different then the others.

However, two hours passed and there was no “Your order is ready for pickup” email. Not by the end of the day. Not the next day. Or the next. Or the next. Or the next. Checking the status online, the order was stuck in the same spot.

Five days later, and fortunately with nothing urgent to pick up, I decided to DM Home Depot on twitter. No response an hour later. Not 24 hours. Not two days.

Six days after the order, I had the brief free moment to call Home Depot. After a long message, the line said that agents were at capacity and that I should try back another time. I guess I appreciate that honesty and not bothering to waste my time than keep me on hold for hours without the chance to talk. “I just can’t” is the message they sent but I could even anthropomorphize the corporation a bit and apply some compassion towards them.

Then, seven days after the order, I get a call from the store. An associate left a message that it will still take a few days for the pick up to be ready and whether I wanted to cancel the order. I called them back and within 5 minutes was connected with them and was able to remove items for what will eventually be a pick up… in a few days.

In all this craziness, what could Home Depot have done differently? Communicate. Really, anything could do. Even tweeting about what’s going on could work. Here’s an example…

“Because our stores have re-opened, our associates who normally fulfilled pick up orders quickly in empty stores now have to navigate in-store customers or work on other tasks. This has drastically slowed down our normal fulfillment and it means that it may take longer than a week to get pick up orders ready. We realize this is not what you expected when placing your orders with us and this will likely cause you a lot of frustration. We’re sorry about this. If you’d like to cancel your order, calling the store you ordered your pick up from will help resolve your order quickly. Regardless of whether you cancel your order or continue to wait, we’ll be emailing you over the next three days a coupon for 20% off your next online or in-store order.”

We’re all human. This is a crazy time. We can be patient but when things don’t go right, just let us know.

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Independent daily thoughts on all things future, voice technologies and AI. More at http://linkedin.com/in/grebler

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