Home Depot CEO "Li'l Franky" Apologizes For Wasting Your Time

Ok, we know we said we liked those mea culpas, but we’re starting to regret it. Now new CEO of Home Depot Frank “Li’l Franky” Blake is getting in on the act. He’s apologized to Home Depot’s customers after a column on Home Depot’s faults ran in papers across the nation. (We covered it in our Everyone Hates Home Depot Roundup…)

The CEO’s apology inside…

Li’l Franky writes:

I’m Frank Blake, the new CEO for The Home Depot. I’ve read a number of the postings on the MSN message board (unfortunately, there were a lot of them), and we’ve dispatched a dedicated task force — working directly with me — that is ready and willing to address each and every issue raised on this board. Please give us the chance.

There’s no way I can express how sorry I am for all of the stories you shared. I recognize that many of you were loyal and dedicated shoppers of The Home Depot . . . and we let you down. That’s unacceptable. Customers are our company’s lifeblood – and the sole reason we have been able to build such a successful company is because of your support. The only way we’re going to continue to be successful is by regaining your trust and confidence . . . and we will do that.

We’ve already taken steps to cure many of the ills discussed on this message board:

* We will be and already are increasing our staffing in the stores.

* We’re also in the early stages of launching a nationwide program to recruit and hire skilled master tradespeople to staff our stores so that our customers receive the kind of service and expertise that made The Home Depot great.

* We’re investing significantly in the appearance of our stores to make them an easier and more fun place to shop.

* And we’re making it clear to all our associates that nothing is more important than you, the customer. Every associate knows that his or her number one job is to make you smile and to help you solve your home improvement problem … no matter how big or how small.

But the real judge of all of these changes we’re making is you. All I ask is that you please give us the opportunity to win you back. When you enter our stores, you should receive a personal greeting. After that, you should encounter a helpful associate who will walk you to find the tools, material or service you need. If you don’t, please let us know . . . just like Scott Burns did.

I’d like to thank Scott — his column about our company was insightful and revealing. You can easily tell that it struck a nerve with me. Scott, we’ll do all in our power to again make The Home Depot the store you and your wife, Carolyn, once referred to as “our store.” I’d also like to give my thanks to the many people who posted comments on this board. We want them. We need them . . . to enable us to keep getting better. We’re committed to being the company that helped set the standard for customer service excellence in home improvement. Please continue to hold us accountable.

Finally, message boards of this type do not allow us to respond directly to each poster, so please give us the chance to fix the many issues discussed on this board by writing to wehearyou@homedepot.com. You have my personal assurance that every effort will be made to address your concerns.

The Home Depot was built on great customer service, and we hope to rebuild your trust on that same tradition — just give us the chance!

We suggest our readers take Li’l Franky’s advice. Send you complaints to wehearyou@homedepot.com, and feel free to send any response you get from Home Depot to tips [at] consumerist [dot] com.

Here are some posts to help your think of ideas. We know Li’l Franky would love to hear about:
Home Depot’s Contractors Instructed to Intentionally Inflate Estimates, Charge For Items Not Installed

Why Home Depot Has Sucked For You, And Will Probably Continue To

Home Depot Calls Customer A “Stupid Cunt”

Home Depot Improvement Scams Father Of 2 Premature Babies

Home Depot Touts Crappy GE SmartWater Boiler As “High Efficiency”

And heck, why not ask them about Can Andrew Dan-Jumbo Save Home Depot? We can’t wait to hear the response. —MEGHANN MARCO

Home Depot CEO: Sorry we let you down

(Photo: Sleestak66)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Coder4Life says:

    Wow, that is amazing. The CEO actually gives a crap and is reading this stuff.

    I think all upper management should be reading blogs online, because most peopel come to them when they are so fed up that its the last resort.

    Its also a good way to get free feedback by reading a blog someone else spends money on, and you get the true down right feeling of the customer about your store.

    You can’t fix all of their problems, but you can pick out a few issues and fix them. Resulting in better customer service, higher profits, and more loyalty towards your company.

  2. MeOhMy says:

    Talk is cheap. Until I see actual improvement, it’s just talk.

  3. mantari says:

    This sounds like another case of working so hard to keep the shareholders happy (by keeping costs down), that you end up pissing off the customers, and then it ends up turning bad for the shareholders.

    I’ve seen this time and time again. When a company is working very hard on its internal financials and cutting costs in the name of the shareholder, they seem to start on a downward spiral.

  4. TPK says:

    Funny, at least three out of those four wonderful new ideas were standard operating procedure prior to the retirement of the founders from the daily operation of the company. What brilliance we are seeing.

  5. Art Vandelay says:

    This statement sheds new light on the deluge of Home Depot ads I’ve seen on TV this past week. There has been at least one a commercial break, and quite frankly, they’re really annoying ads.

    As stated above, we’ll see if the changes are actually made.

  6. Chairman-Meow says:

    They’ll still need to pry me out of Lowes. That or a personal foot massage by Mr. CEO himself..

  7. JShore says:

    As an employee for Home Depot, I am glad to see our new CEO taking on some of the major issues of our company. However, I agree with the other posts – I’ll believe it when I see it. And from an insider, I should be the first to notice.

  8. silverlining says:

    I know it’s just talk until we see results. Still, I’m struck by the vast difference of tone in this CEO’s tone as compared to the GeekSquad CEO’s post a while back. GeekSquad denied problems; Home Depot acknowledged and committing to fixing them.

    Why doesn’t Geek Squad do something like this, instead of spending its time ignoring customers and refuting a former employee’s more plausible allegations?

  9. Kornkob says:

    Because this CEO can tell the board that it isn’t his fault. Geek Squad’s CEO would have to apologize to us and then explain to the board why he f-ed it up.

    Remember: Often (dare I say usually?) CEOs don’t care about the customer because the customer isn’t their boss. They answer to the Board of Directors and, thus, care first and foremost about whatever the Board wants them to care about.

    I’m no different. My boss sets expectations. I try to help frame those expections such that they are congruent with production of the best product but at the end of the day, I’m best compensated if I make my boss happy.

    Now if a CEO can make customer focused goals part of the expectations that the Board has for him, all the better for me. But I am unsurprised when a CEO isn’t focused on his customers.

  10. nemesis2007 says:

    My experiences in Home Depot today March 16 was wonderful. Funny that I should come home and see this blog to realize that it might be something that is happening nationwide. I was looking for a rust cleaner and being in Home Depot looking for something like that was certainly daunting. However, just as I was starting to go in circles, this kind associate helped me out. He did not know what to do so he “WALKED” me to the correct aisle and he personally made sure I found the item. When he was unable to find it, he asked his co-workers who not only helped us both to find it, she also recommended to me an effective manner to clean the area first before applying the paint.

    If this continues, I will say it will become a better place to shop. I am looking forward to oberserving future visits to Home Depot.

  11. Jason-Ryan-Isaksen says:

    Yeah I can spot spin when I see it. This guy is in damage control mode like Scotty was during Star Trek 2 Wrath of Khan. Getting all obsequious and folksey-folk isn’t the answer. He should have waited until changes were made and then posted a list of things that have been done already.

    Just the mention of “task force” means it’s probably lip service. A solid list of things that are going to be done by when would be a lot more credible than stating the obvious that their business depends on customers. Promising to hire “master tradespoeple”, sorry but a $50 an hour carpenter or cabinetmaker isn’t going to apply…nah!

    For real credibility, they should tie a CEO’s pay to performance. There’s no other way to recover from that fiasco than for a CEO to step up, say I’ll make a salary based on the company profits and shareholder earnings, it will be reflected by those two numbers. If that was done, then I’d believe anything the guy said, since he’s really throwing his own fortune in with the company.

    Also a clearly stated plan for raises to be modified for all employees and management if the company and shareholders do well. The person on the floor is going to be a lot more likely to take a personal interest in making sure that person staring at a water heater gets rung up, or the manager sees they need another custom window rep to talk to the people waiting around that area.

    Until then, I will keep dreaming my little dreamy dreams about corporate America and CEO’s doing things the way they should be done.

    Jason Isaksen