Did you know that Home Depot allows sales employees and floor associates to give up to a $50 discount to customers without approval from their supervisors?
Kudos to the hardware store chain for an amazing customer service policy. We think more businesses should find unique ways to keep customers coming back.
So what’s the logic behind the Home Depot policy? The retail giant believes employees should do whatever it takes to keep checkout lines moving and customers happy. Discounts are intended to prevent customers from going to a competitor and help cashiers close sales that would otherwise not happen.
“I was there just a couple of weeks ago and the cashier was having trouble getting a price check on a planter,” explains a Reddit user back in August 2015. “When I told her it was $40 she said that we could just have it for free because of that policy.”
The policy even extends to supervisors, assistant managers and store managers with each level up the totem pole allowed to offer increasingly higher discounts, respectively $100, $500 and $1000.
Customers that are looking to take advantage of this policy might want to hold off on causing a stink just to get a discount. Employees are trained to use discretion when offering a discount and won’t grant you one unless there is a legitimate reason.
While implementing a policy like Home Depot’s at a small or medium sized business might strike fear into the hearts of owners — the assumption being that too much money will be lost — it’s important to keep in mind the financial rewards for retaining a customer. Statistics show that once you lose a customer, the cost of acquiring a new one is anywhere from four to nine times more. Customer service policies that help keep angry customers calm and ensure they return are worth their weight in gold.
Plus, imagine for a moment the budget you might spend on marketing campaigns for direct mail, email or online paid advertising. It’s important to compare those costs against the costs of a policy that allows employees to freely offer discounts. How many customer will you retain with the customer service policy vs. how many customer will you gain by a marketing campaign? There is also a productivity loss that occurs every time an employee has to track down a manager to get approval for a discount.
All these factors should be considered when determining what customer service policies your business offers. The bottom line is that whatever policy you choose, it should be strategic and based on data, not your hunches.