Editor’s note: Independent Tribune columnist Larry Cothren wrote an open letter (published May 26) to Lowe’s President and CEO Marvin Ellison expressing concern over customer service and his recent experiences in the home improvement store. This is Ellison’s response.
Dear Mr. Cothren,
Thank you for the time and care you took to detail your recent visits to Lowe’s. I always appreciate hearing directly from our customers, even when (maybe particularly when) they let me know where we need to improve. I share your disappointment in the service you experienced and apologize for each of the four recent visits where we fell short. None of these experiences is acceptable.
We need to do better, and we will.
Since joining Lowe’s, I have spent considerable time visiting our stores across North America and I've seen first-hand that we have a lot of opportunity to improve our service and make every store a great place to shop. I started my career as an hourly retail associate, and I understand the absolute importance of every interaction with every customer.
We are in the beginning phase of a comprehensive effort to transform our company, and we are going back to retail fundamentals to ensure we are meeting the customer on their terms and serving them in the way they wish to be served. In other words, we’re putting the customer at the center of everything we do.
We recently began rolling out new associate training for how to better engage our customers. That includes directly addressing what you experienced. Our entire team knows our first priority is assisting our customers in any and every aisle. These efforts will soon be noticeable in the stores you shop. My executive leadership team and I are leading by example. Each week when we are in Lowe’s stores, we wear our red vests and seek out customers.
Mr. Cothren, we have great men and women working in our stores. My leadership team and I have to do a better job of removing tasks at the store level and providing associates with better tools. This will allow our associates in your stores to have more time to focus on serving you.
I am personally committed to transforming Lowe’s into a great company that will earn your business again and again. On behalf of our entire team, we appreciate the loyalty you've shown and we are thrilled you are willing to continue giving us a try. We greatly value your candid, honest feedback. It will help us provide a better experience for you and all of our customers.
President and CEO
Lowe’s Companies, Inc.