My trustworthy lawn mower was no longer trustworthy.
I cleaned the plugs regularly, checked the engine, took it in for yearly maintenance, and crossed my fingers everytime I used it, hoping it would start.
And every week when I cut the lawn, it was a struggle to get it started.
Some days it would start after three tries, other days it wouldn’t start at all. It might take three days in a row before I could get it to start.
My neighbor across the street kept asking me, “Deborah, when are you going to replace that old mower?”
Late last fall, when the lawnmower wouldn’t start, I ended up borrowing our next-door neighbor’s lawnmower the day before the first snowstorm so I could get the grass cut before winter set in.
When spring weather finally arrived in Michigan last week (after snow showers last Sunday), I knew it was time to replace the lawnmower.
But I wasn’t looking forward to it, thinking I would spend time online researching the lawnmower I wanted, and not being able to find the model at a nearby store to check it out.
You might wonder, what does shopping for a lawnmower have to do with user experience?
It was all the small details that added up to what Jared Spool often talks and writes about: delighting your customers.
If you want the shorter version and don’t want to read the full post, jump to the end for my summary.
Going the Extra Mile
I did my due diligence, researching lawnmowers, and reading the various customer reviews before I narrowed down my choice to one mower at Home Depot.
I visited the page for the mower, but didn’t see anything on the page to show how I could find out if it the model was at my local store.
Hmmm. I didn’t want to make a phone call, and wait on hold while someone in that department searched to see if that model was on the shelves.
Then I noticed Home Depot’s online chat. Hey, that makes it easier!
So I started up chat, glad there was no download like in the old days of chat.
What I quickly noticed were the small details Home Depot added to their chat window:
- Large chat window, easy-to-read labels with good color contrast and large font size. It was easy to enter my name and email address.
- Lots of white space in the chat window. Text wasn’t crammed into a small space.
- A reassurance message at the top: Your email address will not be used for marketing or promotional communication. Great! I hate it when after a live chat with a company I suddenly get marketing messages every week about their products.
- Large orange button labeled “Start Chat”
- A Secure Chat option at the bottom: If you would like to place an order using our secure chat, ask your chat associate for details. I wasn’t going to make a purchase online, but glad to know I have option for secure chat if I wanted it.
Their design team paid attention to small details that made it easy for me to use chat, from assuring me my email address wouldn’t be used for marketing purposes to making it simple for me to enter my details and quickly start the chat.
I added my info to the form and waited, expecting I’d receive a “The next customer support person will be with you in three minutes” message.
Not this time.
I was immediately connected with Arkeedah M, one of Home Depot’s chat associates. After asking my question about the lawn mower, Arkeedah replied:
I would be happy to help you with that. Can you please provide me with the internet/model number for the item you are referring to, as well as your zip code please?
Wow. Fast response with follow-up questions to get the information I needed to track down the model at my local store. Wonderful!
Not So Fast
As it turned out, the mower was only available online.
Not what I expected, since I was planning to mow the lawn over the weekend.
When I commented about that, asking if there was another recommendation, Arkeedah took the extra step to see if the store had the mower in stock. I didn’t call the store, Arkeedah did.
And within a couple of minutes, Arkeedah confirmed the lawnmower was at my local store. And I received a lovely response from Arkeedah M.
It has been my pleasure assisting you today, do you have another project that you are working on that I can help you with?
Not today, thank you Arkeedah M.
Thank you for shopping at Home Depot. Please take a moment to complete a brief 2-question survey after clicking on the End Chat button. If you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to contact us at 1-800-430-3376. Have a great day!
Yes, it was a simple two-question survey. The first question asked me whether the associate was able to answer my needs or solve my problem, with a yes or no option.
The second question asked me if I would recommend Home Depot to a friend or relative, with five options to choose from.
Did I answer the survey? I sure did!
I’m not a fan of multi-screen surveys that many online retailers use.
After the first few screens, I get tired of having to swipe or click-through to the next screen and I don’t complete the survey.
The two-question Home Depot survey was quick to complete. And after my good experience on their live chat, I wanted to tell them how much I liked their online service.
Picking Up the Lawnmower
When I arrived at the store, and walked through the doors, I must have looked like I wasn’t sure where to go. The Home Depot greeter asked me if there was something specific I was looking for.
I told her I was looking for lawnmowers. She pointed me in the direction of the lawnmowers. There were huge sitting lawnmowers and lots of boxes on the shelves.
The lawnmowers were also displayed above the boxes.
And I could easily find the model number because the numbers were displayed on the labels below each lawnmower. The boxes were arranged so the model numbers displayed on the front of the box.
I know, it’s a small detail. But because Home Depot set up their lawn mower boxes in that arrangement, I found my model immediately. I didn’t have to move boxes or place myself to read the model number upside down to confirm I found the lawnmower I wanted.
Now to get the 70-pound box on a cart. I looked around, and immediately a Home Depot employee came up to help me.
He found me a cart and helped me get the big box on the cart. Cool!
And somehow my timing was just right when I got to my vehicle. The fellow parked next to my vehicle offered to help me load the box.
Finding a new lawnmower wasn’t the chore I expected it to be, thanks to Home Depot.
From my online experience to my in-store experience, I give high fives to Home Depot for having:
- Designers who paid attention to the small details for live chat
- Helpful online and in-store staff who listen and go the extra mile for customers
- Short two-question survey that I’ll answer (who wants to have to answer questions on multiple screens?)
- Well-labeled, easy-to-find merchandise
- Store staff to help you get the big box off the shelf
Thank you, Home Depot for making my whole experience delightful!
I have my new lawn mower and it starts! Easily. And cuts the grass quickly.
Taking the time to pay attention to the small details a customer experiences, whether online or in-person, makes a big difference.
Small details go a long way in creating a pleasant, and delightful user experience for customers who will return again.