Lowe’s, trying to play catch up to Home Depot:

Lowe’s Cos. is enhancing its website and equipping store employees with iPhones as the second-largest U.S. home-improvement retailer seeks to catch up to Home Depot Inc. and boost sales from its existing locations.

This is an absolute classic case of not really solving the problem at hand. Lowe’s problem is that they feel they are trailing Home Depot because their customer service isn’t as good as Home Depot, and rightfully so.

My wife and I purchased our first home earlier this year, and as such, I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time at both Home Depot and Lowe’s1. What I’ve found is that every time I’ve gone to Home Depot, I’m blown away by their service – at Lowe’s, I’m overwhelmed every time.

The thing is, I haven’t seen a single digital handheld device at Home Depot. Their strength comes from the people who work there that have actually done what they’re selling. Just a few weekends ago I was looking for something to kill some ants in a tree. The man in the department didn’t quite know what was best to use, so he went and found another employee who was about 70 and in an electric scooter, but absolutely knew lawns & bugs. He dug up this ugly bottle in the back of the lowest shelf. It worked perfectly.

I have dozens of stories like this: the paint department woman telling me how to pick out a grill brush while I waited for some paint, the carpet guy who used to work for a contractor, and more. Everyone there knows their stuff, while Lowe’s feels like some high school kids working a summer job.

Great customer service and beating your competitors starts with getting the right people on the bus.

Technology can’t fix that for Lowe’s.

via Shawn Blanc.

  1. There’s a cashier at Home Depot who knows my wife and I by name []