Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bunnings - a tiny problem?

On Thursday evening, steam pouring out of my ears, I sent the following to Bunnings via their web site:

I have just returned from wasting an hour and a half of my life at the Northlands Bunning store: I wanted to buy the timber to build a retaining wall and have it delivered to my house.

The person manning the timber yard avoided me as though I had the plague. When I eventually managed to corner him and explain what I want he told me that I had to go to the special orders desk. Which I did. They told me that they had just closed and I had to go to the customer service desk. Which I did. They then paged "Knave", who duly arrived after a wait of about 10 minutes. He told me that the timber yard were giving me the run around and that I should go back to them. Which I did. Only to find that there was no one there. After wondering around for what seemed like an eternity, I saw the original person - and I managed to corner him. But he explained that he couldn't help me as he now had an urgent staff meeting to attend. And he left.

There was no one else in the timber yard so I went back to the area in which "Knave" worked, and told him that I was rather upset. He replied that there had been a lot of staff meetings this week, some with up to thirty people in them, and that as a result there was nothing he could do to further help me.

I replied that I wouldn't be buying my timber from Bunnings and left. As far as I am concerned Woolworths can't get into this market fast enough. We have been staunch Bunnings
supporters, but will now start to look elsewhere first for our hardware needs.

On Friday I received a call from a manager at Bunnings Northland to apologize. Apparently, recognizing that they have a customer service problem, the staff meetings in fact had been training meetings - teaching the values of customer service!

We had fairly pleasant chat - I told him how wonderful Bunnings New Zealand operations had been when we lived in New Zealand, and how disappointed we had been by the service from the local Northland branch after we moved to Australia. This experience was just the latest in a long line of less than stellar ones. He was sympathetic and claimed that by the time they had finished the customer service training I would find Northland Bunnings a very different place.

But here's the odd thing: he never tried to find out what I was buying, and to close the sale in a way that made me feel good about the Bunnings story. For example, he could have offered to take the order via credit card payment on the phone and to have it delivered. But no, I just got a basic apology, an explanation, and some interesting chat. So I wasted a further ten minutes of my life talking about my experience with Bunnings, and yet still am no closer to buying the stuff that I need!

Will Bunnings will ever be able to ever improve their customer service if the management don't seem to know the basic goal of customer service? I have my doubts.


T said...

Whiteheads Timber Sales have retail yards in Victoria and South Australia and I would hope your problem would not happen because we are small and independent plus direct from sawmill to retail yard. sorry we are not in your area otherwise would give you a call!

richard said...

But bunnings have so much stuff on special - who cares about stupid things like service

Daniel said...

I posted feedback on the Bunnings web site linking to this article and saying that I'd also had trouble getting the attention of staff sometimes. And first thing the next morning I got a call from the manager at our local Bunnings branch who said he is aware of that kind of problem, especially with a particular employee, and offered me a $20 voucher for my troubles. He said he had not yet been able to read your blog because he couldn't get access, but had put in a request to be able to see it. Restrictive huh?