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Archive for October, 2011

I must be slipping…


My THD At-Home Services status shows the installation date

My THD At-Home Services status shows the installation date

…because I just noticed that my installation date appears on the job status page along with “Step 5” (see https://homedepothomeservices.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/its-magic-im-finally-at-step-5-lets-party/). Unclear as to whether it was always there and I was just too excited about finally getting updated to notice it, or if it was added later. The status says:

Projected Installation Date: Nov. 19, 2011

This is an estimated date only and is calculated from our past experience. Your installation date will be confirmed with you by your project coordinator and is subject to change regarding individual job circumstances.

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The Home Depot Sales Manager fibbed about the installation date

The Home Depot Sales Manager fibbed about the installation date

This is the date that Tom the Sales Manager gave me for when my windows would be installed (see https://homedepothomeservices.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/heard-from-a-manager/).  According to him, they would be in my house and functional 4 weeks from the date I signed the contracts, which was back on September 29th. Of course since then I have found out that this was a total fabrication.

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Checked out the contractor

Checked out the contractor

…and from what little I can find, I guess all is well. Joseph’s license checks out with the State of Connecticut, but unfortunately they don’t say how long someone has been licensed, only whether they are currently. His license expires on 11/30/2011.

I also looked at the company he operates under on the Better Business Bureau site, and it has been BBB accredited since 09/21/2010 and got a grade of “A-“. The BBB says that the rating is due to the “Length of time business has been operating.” That makes me a little less comfortable, since the company website (just a single page that doesn’t say much) claims “40 years of experience”. I also wonder about The Home Depot At-Home Service’s claim that all of their contractors have been with them for “a long time”.

In any event, I searched everywhere online for complaints related to either the company or Joseph and was unable to come up with anything, either positive or negative.

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Got the installer’s licence info


The Home depot Grade Goes Up Again!

The Home depot Grade Goes Up Again!

Mike at The Home Depot had them UPS the license information for Joseph the Contractor to me. Good job Mike! Raising the grade again.

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Venting about customer service, unrelated to THD


some general griping...

some general griping...

THIS HAS NOTHING WHAT-SO-EVER TO DO WITH THD AT-HOME SERVICES

Except I may currently be a little more sensitive to customer care issues than usual.

Maybe I annoy too easily. Or I just expect too much from people. Maybe it’s partially my own fault.

I am changing jobs and now need to find my own parking in a reasonably large city. I called around, and most places have long waiting lists.

  • Noon: Found a place with one open space for monthly parking. He says I can email the application, which I did
  • 12:30 PM: Called to see if they got my application. They say the guy isn’t there, and to call back at 2PM
  • 2:00 PM: Called back, they say to call back at 3:00. Yes, I should have left my phone number at that point.
  • 3:00 PM:  Called again, they say to call between 4:30 and 5
  • 3:05PM: Sent another email to see if they got the first one (of course if they didn’t get the first one then they probably won’t get this one either)
  • 4:34: Called back and they say he had been there for about an hour but had left 10 minutes ago.

At least the last guy took my phone number…..

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Suggestions for THD At-Home Services

Suggestions for THD At-Home Services

…for THD At-Home Services when it comes to customer satisfaction.

Looking back on how this project has gone so far, it seems that the 2 areas they should concentrate on are:

  1. Ensuring that accurate information is being given to customers
  2. Ensuring that emails/calls are returned, and returned in a timely fashion

ACCURACY

Regarding accurate information, I was given incorrect estimates on how long it would take to get the windows installed (unless the problem was in fact a delay in ordering my windows), and I was given incorrect information about whether or not the installers are subcontractors. This problem can be easily solved through adequate training.

RETURNING CALLS/EMAILS

As for ensuring that calls/emails are returned, a lot of my frustration stemmed from this:

  • September 23: Called Jim the in-home Sales Dude and left him a message saying that I had some additional questions before signing the deal.
  • September 26: Jim never called back (he later said his phone didn’t actually record the message), so I ended up having to call the main number and have someone else contact him.
  • September 26: Jim the Sales Dude called me back, and said he needed to check his schedule and would call me back “tomorrow” (September 27)
  • September 28, 9:30 AM: Jim never called back (again), so I shot off an email through the online system. Heard back from a bunch of people, & finally got my questions answered and my new appointment.
  • September 29: Had my appointment with Jim, and Tom the Sales Manager said that he would get Joe the Inspector out to my house tomorrow (Friday, September 30)
  • October 3: Despite Tom saying he would expedite things and have the inspector to my house on September 30, I didn’t hear from Joe the Inspector until today, and can’t get an appointment until October 6.
  • October 6: Told Joe to check out the blog and to find out about my status updates. He never did either.
  • October 8: Sent an email about the online status, and got a call from Tom the Sales Manager. He said he would call back in “a day or 2” but never did.
  • October 10: Emailed Tammie the project Coordinator to see if my windows were actually ordered. she said she’d have Joe contact me. He never did.

Seriously guys, is that any way to do business? Any company I’ve ever worked for would fire me for such a lack of response.

If The Home Depot At-Home Services would implement a decent CRM system that included Smart Phone Apps, then all calls and emails could be funneled through the software. As a result, a record of customer inquiries would be kept with a time stamp, and a workflow would be set up to automatically remind THD employees to respond, and would allow customers to view their issue status online. If the response time is exceeded, the automated workflow would escalate the issue to someone else. Having Smart Phone Apps would guarantee that no Home Depot employee would ever tell a customer “I’m not near a computer”.  All employees should also receive training in using the systems to guarantee that they know what to do with them. By funneling all customer inquiries through this type of system would also allow the THD At-Home Services Technical Writer to populate an online Knowledge Base that could provide customers with accurate answers to commonly asked questions.

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Home Depot At-Home Services

Home Depot At-Home Services

This morning I got an email from Mile the Production supervisor at THD At-Home Services, which helped to clarify some of the questions that I had in my previous post (see https://homedepothomeservices.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/so-heres-a-thought/)

In it he said:

The Field Inspector, FI, on duty will stop by in the morning for a job start. His schedule will determine how long he will stay but he will ensure the job proceeds as planned. The FI is a Home Depot employee.

Tammie will get the installer name and license numbers to you before the install. All workers on a crew are background checked and have a pictured badge identifying them as THD subcontractors.

Time to bump the grade up another notch, as the information was provided quickly and was actually useful.

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Will my windows fall out?

Will my windows fall out?

…about the subcontractors. It now makes sense that the sales contract said that the installers are authorized to collect my final payment. It’s because they aren’t THD At-Home Services Employees.

But who the heck checks to see if they actually did the work? And did it correctly? Hey, I’m a home owner, now a home builder. The most I know is that I need to check (once the current casement windows are removed) for rot by jamming an awl into the framing to see if the water that rotted the sills has caused additional damage. And I suppose if I was a contractor I would know to check for other things… like whether or not the windows are about to drop out onto the ground in a stiff breeze…

So will someone authorized by THD At-Home Services actually come by the job site to make sure these folks aren’t complete idiots? I just sent an email to Mike the Production Supervisor to ask him this question…

UPDATE 2011/10/19: Got some answers this morning. Check out my post at https://homedepothomeservices.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/heard-back-from-mike-this-morning/

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Honestly - this is an improvement

Honestly - this is an improvement

I just got a call from Mike the Production Supervisor. He was super friendly and helpful, and managed to leave me feeling infinitely better when I got off the phone. I’m raising the grade quiet a bit, but since it was an “F-“, the grade still isn’t quite where it might be otherwise. I am still proceeding with caution, as I’ve had other folks “jolly me up” with no follow through.

It appears that my blog is proving useful, as Mike provided me with information about issues that I have been posting here – that makes it all worthwhile.

So here’s what I learned:

  • My windows are scheduled to be delivered to the Home depot warehouse on 11/16. Because they are coming on a “common carrier”, that means that they should arrive sometime during that week, but there’s no way to know exactly which day.
  • Mike promised to check the vendor’s site and will get back to me no later than 11/14 to let me know one way or the other if the windows will still be arriving on time. He also said that he’d check in before that.
  • Mike says that he will schedule my installation for Saturday, 11/19. He said that the only thing that would through a monkey wrench into the works would be if there were torrential downpours that day. I guess that I will also hear from Tammie the Project Coordinator somewhere along the line.
  • He also brought up the subject of subcontractors (which I blogged about here https://homedepothomeservices.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/subcontractors-or-direct-employees/ ). Turns out that Joe the Field Inspector did lie to me, and that all of their installers are indeed subcontractors. He says that they do extensive background checks on them, and that they are all licensed and insured. I said that was fine, but does THD At-Home Services check to see if they do decent work? He said that if there are consistent issues that they don’t use them any more. He also said that most of the subcontractors have been with them for “a long time”. I have asked to get their names and license numbers ahead of time (so I can do my own check), and I asked to ensure that all “helpers” are documented to work in the US.
  • He also clarified the whole issue of the job status (your can see my rant on this subject at https://homedepothomeservices.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/its-magic-im-finally-at-step-5-lets-party/). From the sounds of it, they just need to change what the status says so that it makes sense to the customer. According to Mike, you don’t move from Step 4:  “your Field Inspector will perform the Pre-Installation Inspection. This will include: Taking final measurements, Verifying product/installation specifications, Identifying any pre-existing condition” to Step 5Once the project is confirmed by your Field Inspector, materials are ordered. Once materials are received into our warehouse or delivered to the job site, your Project coordinator will call you to schedule the installation” until 1) the order is placed, 2) the vendor acknowledges the order, 3) a delivery date is confirmed

All in all, I’m feeling kind of hopeful now….

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Got my status update - Let's Party!

Got my status update - Let's Party!

So the Home Depot’s Magic software must have finally figured out how to update my status, because as of yesterday, I was still on Step 4.  I didn’t get an email about it, I just stumbled on it by accident. For anyone who may have the slightest interest, here’s the rundown on my online project status.

  • September 15: Got an email reminder about my 1st appointment, and a link to test the project status website
  • September 29: Signed the contracts, ended up on Step 1: Your Sales Consultant has met with you, and by completing all the sales paperwork you have initiated the installation process.
  • September 29: Got an email that says I’m on Step 2:  “the sales paperwork is reviewed to ensure that the materials can be manufactured as specified and the payment terms are approved.”
  • September 30: Git an email that says I’m on Step 3: “you should expect to receive a call from your Project Coordinator to schedule the Pre-Installation Inspection”
  • October 3: Joe the Inspector calls, & makes an appointment for Thursday, October 6
  • October 5: Someone calls to set up my appointment with the inspector, even though he already called on the 3rd
  • October 6: Joes the inspector comes, & I sign all the papers, & tell him my job status is out-of-date
  • October 8: Emailed to ask why my job status still says I’m waiting to make an inspection appointment. Tom the Sales Manager calls & says he’ll check into it & call back in a day or 2 (don’t bother reading ahead about the call – it never came)
  • October 10: Emailed the Project Coordinator Tammie & mentioned the outdated job status. That’s when I found out about the magic software that evidently doesn’t need someone to bother updating it
  • October 13 (afternoon): Heard from Chris in the Social Media group who saw my rants online – I sent him to this blog
  • October 13 (evening): Chris managed to get someone to update my job status, which is now on Step 4:  “your Field Inspector will perform the Pre-Installation Inspection. This will include: Taking final measurements, Verifying product/installation specifications, Identifying any pre-existing condition”. Cool. Except that happened back on October 6th.
  • October 17: Sent Sheronda in Social Media an email about the job status being wrong. She also seems to think that they have magic software, and referred my email to the IT team.
  • October 18: Step 5 “Once the project is confirmed by your Field Inspector, materials are ordered. Once materials are received into our warehouse or delivered to the job site, your Project coordinator will call you to schedule the installation” — FINALLY A STATUS THAT IS CORRECT!!!!

UPDATE: Found out how the project status is supposed to work from Mike the Production Supervisor. Check out what he said about it at https://homedepothomeservices.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/much-happier-just-got-an-eta-on-the-windows/

ANOTHER UPDATE: Many hours later, I finally got the email announcing the status change.

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