Home Depot’s Technology Investments Pay Off: Improving Customer Experience

In a bold move to enhance its workforce’s well-being and elevate customer satisfaction, Home Depot’s CEO, Ted Decker, has reported that the company’s substantial investment of $1 billion in annualized compensation is yielding positive results.
Home Depot store associate
The announcement made earlier this year aimed to not only offer competitive wages and benefits to its employees but also to equip them with tools, training, and development opportunities to create a fulfilling work environment.

This commitment has yielded noticeable reductions in attrition rates, particularly among the more seasoned associates. With a more consistent staffing level, the company has observed marked improvements in customer service, productivity, and safety.

“We recognize the significance of investing in our associates. Simultaneously, we are harnessing technology to simplify both the associate and customer experiences,” commented Ted Decker.

Fahim Siddiqui is executive vice president (EVP) and chief information officer (CIO) of The Home Depot. He is responsible for all aspects of the company’s technology strategy, infrastructure and software development for The Home Depot’s more than 2,300 retail stores, supply chain facilities, store support centers and online systems.

One noteworthy area of focus for Home Depot has been the distinction between unassisted cash-and-carry purchases, which form a majority of in-store sales, and assisted purchases that require customer assistance for product selection, service, or installation.

Home Depot is narrowing the gap between in-stock items as indicated by the system versus items actually available on the shelves for purchase. Ann-Marie Campbell, Executive Vice President of U.S. Stores and International Operations, emphasized the company’s adoption of new technology like computer vision to achieve this. Computer vision technology, capable of replicating tasks previously carried out by human associates, provides precise information about the location of products stored overhead.

By leveraging this technology, associates will capture images of store bays using their HD phones. These images will integrate into the systems, creating a real-time view of inventory that can be seamlessly integrated into applications such as Sidekick. Powered by machine learning, Sidekick will direct associates to bays with low or depleted On-Shelf Availability (OSA), optimizing their tasks and prioritizing customer service.

The machine learning model continuously evolves as more computer vision images are collected and Sidekick tasks are completed, ensuring more accurate and timely assistance.

This technology integration has resulted in improved OSA rates, heightened associate engagement, enhanced productivity, and better customer service scores. For the assisted sales experience, Home Depot has streamlined systems and processes to create a more seamless experience for customers, leading to substantial improvements.

Among the innovations is the introduction of “Order Up,” an enhanced order management system designed for simplicity and ease of use. This tool empowers associates, including new hires, to effectively assist customers across various applications such as order pickup, modification, scheduling services, and installations.

Notably, the improvements have not only streamlined customer interactions but have also reduced the average processing time by over 40 percent, resulting in an upswing in customer service scores.

Despite these transformative initiatives, Home Depot reported a 2 percent decrease in total sales, amounting to $42.9 billion, for the second quarter compared to the previous year. However, the company has successfully capitalized on its digital platforms, experiencing a 1 percent growth in sales leveraging these channels during the same period. This positive trend highlights the success of Home Depot’s efforts to eliminate friction from the customer journey, ultimately increasing customer engagement across its interconnected platforms.

During the second quarter, Home Depot observed Pro sales slightly trailing behind DIY customer sales. Although surveys indicate that Pro backlogs have decreased compared to the previous year, they still remain healthy and elevated in comparison to historical norms.

These strategic initiatives exemplify Home Depot’s commitment to driving positive outcomes for both its customers and associates. With a proactive focus on technological integration, enhanced customer service, and associate engagement, the company continues to evolve its approach to create lasting value.

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