PFB Investigates: Flying The American Flag At Home Depot
by - Posted Tue July 7, 2009 @ 12:00 PM
On Sunday, July 5, a letter was sent through Planetfeedback regarding an American flag in disrepair being flown at a Home Depot.
This letter generated quite a bit of discussion which revolved around several issues about what a business should do in such cases. Part of the conversation concerned Home Depot's policies on flying American flags at their stores.
So I called Home Depot's customer care line to find out.
I had a nice conversation with a CSR who offered to put us in touch with that particular store director to answer our questions. Four hours later, I got a call from the store director. Unfortunately, it was a store director from another Home Depot several states away. The CSR had likely transposed the store numbers when sending the email to the store.
No biggie...I was happy that someone called back so fast and this guy was happy to talk about Home Depot's stance on this situation in general.
Here, then, is some additional information to supplant the ongoing discussion:
1. Home Depot flies the American flag 24/7/365...not just on holidays.
2. He was not aware of a specific policy for monitoring the condition of the flags nor are they replaced on a regular basis. It's up to the individual stores to ensure their flags fly in good condition.
3. Stores do order these particular flags from a supplier and are not allowed to break into retail inventory to replace them.
4. They use a company to actually replace the flag as there are special mounting issues involved. There is no restriction on the store that forces them to fly a flag in disrepair rather than fly no flag at all. I described the situation and he said, yes, the flag(s) should have been removed until new ones arrived.
Here is an interesting side note - the store director I talked to didn't know I was from PFB until we were actually on the phone and I identified myself as such. Before that, all he knew was a customer had called the customer care line and complained about the condition of his flags (even though it turned out not to be his flags at all). Before I told him about my PFB connection, he'd already apologized and assured me that, while he wasn't at the store, he'd already called his assistant manager, had him go and check the flags and he would take action once he got to the store.
In other words, he took this feedback very seriously as he should have. For him, it was not a mountain made out of a molehill nor was it the kind of situation which could only be handled in a "perfect" customer service world.
This is the kind of thing a store director and his management team are paid to not only handle but handle properly. I was truly impressed with this store director's commitment to great customer service - it rang through as true and genuine during every part of our conversation. He understood the validity of this feedback and the need to ensure something was done about it beyond "we ordered the flag already...there's nothing more we can do".
It was my impression he ended up being happy that it wasn't his store, not because he was afraid of getting fired or something but, instead, because he took great pride in managing all areas of his business well and this would have been a sign of a breakdown in his management processes.