“No problem” is a good problem to have

Of all the problems that lead to customer-service problems at home improvement stores, “out of stock” is the most common.

At least that’s the findings from a recent consumer study performed by MarketTools, a global research firm based in San Francisco, which asked 1,000 consumers: “Have you experienced any type of customer service problem with a home improvement retailer in the past 12 months?”

The answer, to the credit of a customer-centric industry, is overwhelmingly “no,” at 93.5%

The breakdown of complaints is shown here (consumers were allowed multiple choices).

Overall however, retailers should be pleasantly surprised that their customer service efforts may be paying off, based on the total numbers, according to Mark Delaney, VP at MarketTools.

“Out-of-stocks are an Achilles’ heel for this industry, perhaps exacerbated by the prevalence of seasonal items,” he said. “Looking at the results more holistically, however, it’s especially telling that 84% of the responses related to employee interaction — whether it be that an associate was not available or that they were unhelpful or even rude. This really makes the argument for investing in your front-line staff.”

Looking at the complaints by category: Product-related issues tallied 51.3%, employee-related problems tallied 84.6%, and operations-related problems tallied 59.0%.