Neal sent a message to Roland C. Smith Chairman and CEO, Office Depot, Inc. – email address that said:
How important are you to your Office Depot or Office Max? How do they handle your concerns? I've shopped at mine for 6 years and you will not believe this!! This letter was sent to Office Depot on April 14, promised answer next business day by automated email, called store, and complained on hot line, all resulting in a promise to hear from “upper management.” Share holders, they must be playing golf or solving global problems because I have received NO contact other than the regular coupons of the week. I am a regular customer at this store, spending @ $70 a month on small print jobs. I emailed the print shop in the store, 6492, I know the time was 8:08 as I missed a call doing so. I waited till Mxxxx acknowledged receipt of email and did some in store shopping. No other person was near the print department. Approximately 15 minutes later I returned to print department and waited while Mxxx finished a print job of one page serving another customer, waiting another 10 minutes,observed him finally opening my email and start my 3 page print job. After ringing me up I noticed two other employees laughing and talking at front register. I queried him about why my job was placed second to the other person. His demeanor didn't change, he just stated that jobs weren't done in order. I asked him if he didn't see a problem with that. He said he “had no problem with that” happening. I stated that I was waiting, and had now waited 20 or so minutes for a 3 page job. Again there wasn't an apology nor any conciliatory statements. Just that print jobs were not done in order received. Confused, I wondered why there was a line system in place. I told him that in the past that I had often filled out the survey and always had very complimentary things to say about employees at 6492, and I had intentions of filling out one this visit reflecting the attitude of (Axxx) considering some jobs more important than others, an observation which was a reflection of my feelings.
He became extremely defensive and angry, raising his voice slightly telling me that when I do the survey to “not put words in my mouth” , and to “ at least tell the truth, and not lie”. Hmm, was that a question of my character and ethics? Numerous times he stated he “had no problem with some jobs waiting” because “if we do them in order” when jobs were tendered, we “would only get 4-5 jobs done a day”. I understand his view if my task required editing or special treatment. But 3 pages and 6 printers behind the counter? Really?
I have held numerous management positions, owned my own businesses, and dealt with customers in many different concerns, and handled problems nationally and internationally. The first step I taught employees was to acknowledge the customers perception of the problem, apologize for the way they thought they were treated, indicate that problem would be looked into (all communication has 2 sides) and ask how we could do better next time. What was said after customer left would and could be angry, defensive, comic, or whatever needed to be, but never in front of a customer. In 40+ years of business I have never, nor would I permit an employee, confront a customer in a defensive posture, raise my voice, or tell a customer to “not lie”, and “at least tell the truth.
Really, if this is the way Office Depot/Max now chooses to treat a customer of 6+ years, I have plenty of other options in the DFW metro-plex. I also have hundreds of business acquaintances I will choose to share this attitude I felt was displayed by the staff. That isn't a threat, that is just how strongly I feel about this insulting, lack of concern, and demeaning treatment I encountered.