Lowe’s: A Case Study in Bad Customer Service

We recently moved and our closest hardware juggernaut went from Home Depot to Lowe’s.

While shopping at Lowe’s for a garden hose a month back, I’d seen some patio furniture I liked, photographed it, showed it to my wife, and this month we decided to buy it. I took my sons and we found the furniture on display, looked at the tags for where to find it… and couldn’t find it. However, we saw the boxes for some chairs similar to those we wanted and the boxes were very large. I realized that even if I found the chairs, we weren’t fitting six of them and a table in the back of my CR-V.

I went on the Lowe’s web site, saw they could be ordered online for delivery, composed an order of the 6 chairs, the table, and some cushions, and placed it for truck delivery from my closest store.

A few hours later the store called to arrange delivery. I was told they’d had a couple of drivers quit and a couple more were hurt, so though all the items were in stock, it would be 3.5 weeks before they could deliver my order. I asked if the order could be switched to another nearby Lowe’s that might have more drivers on staff and be able to deliver it sooner. I was told that to do that, I’d have to cancel my order, compose it again, place it with one of those other stores, and wait to find out if the items were in stock and deliverable any sooner.

Because of some obligations that meant I wasn’t able to make myself available for a 4-hour window in the middle of a work day when they finally had an opening (their **evening** window starts at 4 p.m.), I had to actually take a delivery date about 4 weeks out.

I have used their customer service form to express what a terrible experience this was and called them out on Twitter. We’ll see if they respond in a timely fashion and exactly how they intend to make this right. I don’t know if their corporate culture is so bad that the store manager was afraid to reach out to other nearby stores to help take up some of their delivery slack. I don’t know if their retail systems are really so back-assward that they truly can’t check stock and delivery status for another store and transfer my order. All I know is that this is a huge customer service and customer experience fail.

If I wasn’t curious about what they’ll do in response to the complaint, I’d have cancelled the order already. I’ll post an update with the final resolution.

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