It’s not unusual for companies that sell a product to also sell or at least offer, a service element. When someone buys an automobile, the dealership provides a service department for warranty work and repairs; when a consumer buys an appliance, he or she can often also purchase either an extended warranty or a service contract.
Sales and service, then, are joined at the hip. One of the most illustrative examples of this is in the home improvement segment. Whether a consumer buys a new home or a resale, at some point they will want to make improvements. That means a trip to one of the big-box do-it-yourself stores that dot the nation. These giant hardware stores realized early on that not everyone is as adept with wood as a carpenter or as talented with taping drywall as a trained professional.
That’s why they offer in-store demonstrations and short training seminars: quick education on the tricks to framing a wall or tiling a backsplash, what tools to buy and how to use them.
“Just Do It For Me”
However, there are plenty of people for whom it’s all too much. They just don’t want to invest the time or effort and would rather hire a professional to do the job. Home Depot recognized the need to have a running supply of contractors, pre-approved by head office, available to provide support to the stores’ customers.
This concept works well. The stores sell product to their customers and the contractors supply the skill and labor. In short, it’s a winning situation for all concerned.
Problems can arise, though, when the contractor and the customer fail to see eye-to-eye. Whether it’s a case of a customer dissatisfied with the quality of the work or a contractor who can’t or won’t meet the expectations of the customer, the buck will come back to stop with the store.
The largest of the leading big-box DIY stores in North America dealt with this issue as best they could but were frequently in the dark as to how to provide the best solution. Many times, a customer would call or come into the store with a complaint involving the contractor but couldn’t remember the contractor’s name, for example, or no longer have any paperwork to support their case. By the same token, if damage had been done, the store wouldn’t be certain that the same contractor could provide the necessary repairs.
These were the sorts of issues that Home Depot was having to deal with.
Service Cloud Is The Answer
A consultation with Salesforce in 2014 led to Gerent being retained to implement a solution for Home Depot.
Service Cloud would be rolled out, with the aim of achieving several goals:
• Create a database framework to record all projects, including contractor and customer information
• Assign the proper contractor to each project and provide the means to track the progress of the project
• Create a portal so that contractors could easily see what projects had been assigned to them, along with the pertinent details needed.
The company wanted to be able to build and see a complete picture of the contractor, the customer and project and have that information available to all their front-line staff. At the same time, Service Cloud would create a clear means by which customers could lodge an issue; they are now able to do so by email, by completing an online form or by simply calling the store. Whatever communication method they use, their complaint generates a case that can then be tracked to a successful resolution.
The contractors also have the means to communicate to the store via a web-based form to provide details on project resolution so that they can follow up or close out cases, again giving the store a full view of what has transpired.
Gerent designed and completed a successful implementation of Service Cloud which provides for 400 users within Home Depot.
The project’s completion has given the company a vital tool in its ongoing goal to provide the best in customer care while maintaining customer retention.