Retailers’ Customer Service Passes the Hurricane Test

Sep 20, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Under normal circumstances, you would be hard-pressed to find many consumers who rave about the customer service they’ve received at a retail outlet.

That’s what makes it all the more extraordinary that DIYers Home Depot and Lowe’s were singled out for praise for their recent performance in the face of the devastating hurricanes
that hit Florida.

A Bradenton Herald article said the retailers provided “a high benchmark” worthy of emulation by other business owners in the state. This included:

  • Mobilizing the supply chain to move critical materials to stores serving customers affected by the storms.

  • Freezing prices on all products sold.

  • Allocating or rationing available goods to reduce profiteering.

  • Creating temporary sales sites for consumers to purchase needed goods when stores were damaged by the storms.

Moderator’s Comment: What is your assessment of how retailers in Florida and elsewhere reacted during the recent
spate of hurricanes? Are there customer service lessons learned during emergencies that should be applied during the normal course of business?

The Bradenton Herald article concluded: “There will be many champions to remember when we finally close the books on this dismal hurricane season.
Undoubtedly, the merchants and business owners, whose superior customer service made our plight more manageable, will be on the list.”

George Anderson – Moderator

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