I’m Diggin’ The True Value Experience

TV_zpsbf06d3f8I am a frequent shopper at the large home improvement warehouses and as a home owner have spent quite a bit of time and money with both Lowes and Home Depot over the years.  Since reading Amaze Every Customer Every Time by Shep Hyken, where he raves about Ace Hardware, I had been wanting to experience the small, neighborhood hardware store for myself.

One thing you should know about me and home improvement projects is that I rarely only make one trip to the hardware store to complete a project.  That’s probably indicative of a need to hone my strategic planning skills, but that’s a story for another day.

I was recently replacing a sprinkler valve in my yard.  On my first trip for parts I visited The Home Depot.  This is generally the place I go for my plumbing needs so I’m used to having to hunt and peck for the PVC parts I need much like a five-year-old learning how to type.  After standing there for a while, trying to find the pipes I needed, a friendly employee helped join in the hunt.  The search was made a bit more difficult because I had two little boys with me who happen to LOVE PVC pipe.  I was grateful for the help but the experience was chaotic nonetheless.

After working on my new valves, I inevitably made a mistake that required me to go back to thePVC hardware store for more parts.  This time I headed to my local True Value hardware store which happens be closer to my house.  Upon walking into the store I was greeted with a bag of delicious popcorn.  I think allowing me to eat while I shop may just put me in a better mood.

I headed back to the plumbing section and you will not believe what I found.  They had an ample supply every T and 90 degree angle I could ever need — all logically and neatly organized into their bins.  Someone clearly put a lot of time and energy into making the various PVC pipe easy to find.  The section was a work of art much like the way Steve Jobs viewed the packaging of his products.

This experience was so inspiring that I pledged allegiance to True Value right then and there — and after handing my wife a bag of popcorn when I got home, I told her all about it.  Now I’m telling you about it and have since returned to that store a couple times.  That’s how great customer experience should work isn’t it?

To paraphrase the words of Shep Hyken, keep in mind that after a poor or mediocre experience, an above average customer experience is often enough to wow a customer.  Thanks to True Value for doing just that.  All it took was a little popcorn and some organization!


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  • So glad to hear you discovered our neighborhood True Value. They service is awesome there. I’ve always found someone who was friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable to serve me whenever I went there!

    • Jeremy Watkin

      You really get the credit here Jeff because you told me about True Value. You shared your good experience with me which just further proves the point!

  • Jenny Dempsey

    I can tell you this…I know NOTHING about home improvement stores. When I find myself in a Home Depot or Lowes, even just to get a key copy made, my eyes are spinning trying to figure out where the heck to go. And, don’t even get me started about the NYC Home Depot…it’s THREE stories tall of confusion!

    Anyways, thanks for this post…I will definitely keep True Value in mind for the next random home improvement task I take on!

  • Hurray for the “little guy”…I can’t imagine Ace True Value being the little guy but compared to Home Depot or Lowes you are correct. And what amazes me is that Home Depot and Lowes have plenty of employees and SHOULD be doing exactly what Ace True Value is doing. I am not sure why they can’t understand the simple fact that we all need help and we all need service. But more importantly, we all need a connection. People make connections and without people, we have a store full of junk on a shelf.

    Thanks for the great post again Jeremy. Talk soon.

    • Jeremy Watkin

      Thanks Doug. You are definitely right. Shep Hyken makes an amazing case for ACE in his book. They compete and thrive right next to the big store because of their service. Definitely impressive.

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