The Hardware Store Chainsaw Massacre

A Service Story of the Not so Good Kind

The other week I tried to start my chainsaw to cut down some limbs.  Unfortunately as hard as I tried I could not get the chainsaw started.   Off to the hardware store I went to get it serviced and repaired.   The repair shop in the store was not open at that time, but the employee helping me at the store took the chainsaw and filled out the necessary paperwork.  He told me to expect a call tomorrow to review the paperwork, share any necessary information with me, and to get a clear estimate.  I was also told that I would incur no charges until I approved any work being done to the chainsaw.

Tomorrow came and passed with no phone call—a disappointment.  Service guarantees are rarely held to these days. Now I was going to have to call the hardware store and track down what was happening with my chainsaw.  Sadly the next few days I would not have the time to check on the status of the chainsaw because I was travelling for work.

About four days had passed and I was about to call the hardware store when my phone rang.  It was the repair shop in the store.  They told me they were unable to repair my chainsaw because they did not work on that brand and that I owed them $20.00 because they were charging me a holding fee-another disappointment.  Hidden fees seem to be cropping up all over the place now.  $20.00 is not that much money, but somehow that did not seem fair.  They did not tell me about the fee on the front end, they took my chainsaw even though they did not repair that brand, and the only reason they were holding the chainsaw is because they did not keep their promise to call me. So I did what any reasonable customer would do…I tried to talk with them about it.

The manager of the shop started yelling at me right away, he called me names I won’t repeat in this blog post, and then threatened me.  I was shocked.  All I did was try to discuss the holding fee.  He told me to talk to the manager of the entire store and then said, “Great now you are going over my head.”  Then he told me the store manager could not do anything because his shop was not actually part of the store-which was not true.  All rationality left the discussion.  He talked in circles and did not make sense.  He then made arrangements for me to pick up the chainsaw when he was going to be there.  He wanted to give it to me personally.  I have to tell you at this point I was a bit nervous.  The way he talked to me, I mean yelled, made me feel like he was going to take a swing.

When I went in and introduced myself to the person at the shop he got the manager.  My body tensed up.  I was ready for whatever he was going to send my way.  He stuck his hand out to shake my hand and apologized.  I was surprised.  As it turned out, he had a bad day and I received the brunt of it.  Even with the apology I will have second thoughts about ever returning to that store.  More importantly, I know part of the reason the manager came around was because of his employees.  They were not happy with his customer service.  He lost their respect and part of their commitment that day.  Remember your customers are not the only ones that pay attention to your customer service philosophy.  Your employees do as well.

What service horror stories do you have?

Where won’t you go back to spend your money?

Where would you choose not to work because of the way that company treats its customers?


5 thoughts on “The Hardware Store Chainsaw Massacre

  1. Brad – Somehow I would be nervous as well when you mix chainsaws and yelling. I attended a lunch and learn last week. Part of the discussion was on transparency and trust and the presenter shared a graph from the 2009 Edelman Trust Barometer report on trustworthness as relates to businesses financial success.

    The report directly ties to your story about employee trust as it relates to customer trust in the company.

    Good story!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s