Reputations…Made or Lost! My Saga of Lowe’s, Customer Service, Twitter & Facebook!

Education & Training with Advantage Solutions Group

After it was all said and done, my plumber, Norm from Mister B’s said it really scared him what happened…..He said he realized that even if he had done a great job for someone and they thought he charged too much, they could post something negative and it could impact his reputation! By the way, if you need a plumber in Tucson-call Norm!

Social Media makes reputation management more important than it has ever been. Situations can occur quickly and get out of hand if not monitored and addressed swiftly.

A prime example of how Cosmic Shift Happens™ *


My Saga of Lowe’s, Customer Service, Twitter & Facebook!

My husband and I are in the middle of remodeling our bathroom. We have lived in this house since 1982 and the fixtures were original from 1952! So, it’s about time, I’d say! My sweet, retired husband, Bub, wanted to take on managing the project and his pace is quite a bit different than mine (to say the least!). This has meant it is a two month job instead of a 1 week job. That’s ok…I can be patient! I am so excited we’ll finally be replacing the 48 year old fixtures with new!

Back in July, we shopped at several stores looking at fixtures and new sinks, 

and we settled on a great looking pedestal sink at Lowes. They had this sink on the floor as a model and we were told not in stock. So we ordered it and waited a couple of weeks for it to come in from American Standard. It sat in the box on the back porch until last week, when Norm, our plumber was finally scheduled to take out the 50 year old pipes and put new in. (Halleluja!) When Bub unpacked the sink, he saw it was not white…..but a kinda cream color-the box named it “linen” (which I thought was a fabric not a color). So Bub boxed it up to go exchange it…

Lowe’s is a friend to Realtors®! I love and recommend in my classes the program they have created for REALTORS® to use with their clients. In my experience over the past few years, the coupons, information, emails have all been evidence that they understand the needs of consumers and want to demonstrate their value. We’ve been loyal to Lowe’s. We hadn’t had any need to exchange or return anything.

So, it was a shock last week when we experienced a serious customer service issue. When Bub took it back, they refused to exchange it because it had been a “special order”. No one made us aware when we ordered it was a “special” order; only that it was not in stock. The salesman said the policy is no exchanges for special orders. Bub talked to the manager who backed the salesman’s statement and pretty much said they couldn’t/wouldn’t do anything. Bub came home upset. I was upset. He decided he’d go back and order a white sink and we’d just pay for another sink.

I don’t get upset often. I always believe there’s got to be a way to make something work, even if everyone says it is impossible. So, I put on my thinking cap and TWITTERED!









Two friends jumped in and also posted on Twitter  Thank you friends! There was also a discussion that ensued on Facebook with more comments. I checked out Lowe's Facebook page and there were complaints with no responses. Doesn't look like they do much monitoring there, but they do monitor Twitter!





Four hours after the first posting, I get a @LowesCares tweets back:

Interesting Twitter handle! Lowes doesn’t seem to follow the Facebook postings like it does the Twitter ones.

I followed directions, filled out the form and shortly after lunch, the following day, Bub receives a call from the corporate office. They say they will “eat it” and he can return the sink to our local store. Which he does. He says they are VERY nice to him. Helpful…even though said sink now is not being made any more and it looks like we are going to have to buy something different. But wait…right there on the floor is a white sink that looks just like the linen one! For some reason it isn’t in their computer! And though out it all, the sales associate was patient and kind and helpful. So helpful that it turns out when they id’ed the sink there- it was only $99 instead of the special order $250! So Bub was given a gift card for the difference and the white sink! He came home a happy man.

Thank you Lowes! And my Twitter thank you to Lowes:








So, the tile guy is coming tomorrow! And then Norm comes back to hook everything up and I should have a new shower by next week! And a new sink that looks GREAT!

As a business coach…I am always looking at questions with my clients after the fact that could make the next situation turn out better:

• Was this good customer service?

• Or poor customer service?

• Did the fact I was a Realtor® have anything to do with it?

• Was the fact I have a fairly high profile in CyberSpace a consideration?

Don’t get me wrong….I am a happy camper, but I wonder if the situation helped Lowe’s learn something and improve? 

Perhaps the moral of the story is that the consumer is empowered these days by the ability to use social media. Smart businesses are monitoring and responding swiftly. Reputations are being made and lost through Social Media. Cosmic Shift Happens™ !!!

*My friend, Carra Riley and I are co-authoring and crowd sourcing an eBook called Cosmic Shift Happens™ about how to navigate the cosmic universe without negativity. If this appeals to you, get the info here, we’d love to hear your stories and thoughts!

Like my plumber, Norm, said....Social Media is effecting people and businesses reputations.....


What do you think?

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Comments (12)

Lizette Fitzpatrick
Lizette Realty - Richmond KY - Lexington, KY
Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes

That was an eye-opener. I have always been careful not to mention companies that I am arguing with. You never know where a lawsuit will come from. Glad it turned out fine for you.

Aug 25, 2010 02:40 AM
Brian Rugg
Rugg Realty LLC Sun City Texas 512-818-6700 - Georgetown, TX
Sun City TX Real Estate - Georgetown, TX Real Est

Hello Joeann:

Considering the nightmare that many experience with remodeling jobs, I would say this was a very small problem that had a very easy solution. So all is well that ends well. You probably could have achieved the same result without the social media angle, but the story wouldn't have been as interesting. As far a Lowe's goes, why put you through the hassle?  I don't get that.


Aug 25, 2010 02:56 AM
Joeann Fossland
Advantage Solutions Group - Tucson, AZ
Master Certified Coach to Motivated Agents

Lizette Thanks! Hadn't thought about a lawsuit.

Rugg Realty  Lowe's wasn't budging about the no return until I Twittered

Aug 25, 2010 03:03 AM
Pam Dent
Gayle Harvey Real Estate, Inc. - Charlottesville, VA
REALTOR® - Charlottesville Virginia Homes / Horse

Joeann - This is a tutorial on the power of social media.  Lowes should have exchanged the sink in the first place with a smile.  In the long run it would have brought them a lot more good will and resulting business.

Aug 25, 2010 03:14 AM
Pam Dent
Gayle Harvey Real Estate, Inc. - Charlottesville, VA
REALTOR® - Charlottesville Virginia Homes / Horse

Joeann - This is a tutorial on the power of social media.  Lowes should have exchanged the sink in the first place with a smile.  In the long run it would have brought them a lot more good will and resulting business.

Aug 25, 2010 03:15 AM
Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon
Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd - Westminster, CO
Helping people Transition at all ages!

Joeann~  What a great example of how social media is working!  An important message!

Aug 25, 2010 03:48 AM
John Grasty
for real estate results in the Tri-Cities. - Port Moody, BC
Your Tri-cities REALTOR, neighbour and volunteer.

A BIG welcome to the "World of Mouth" Lowe's.

It's amazing how quick the new media can get a response.

Aug 25, 2010 06:59 AM
Christine Pappas - REALTOR®
eXp Realty - Willoughby, OH
eXp Realty - Because Experience Matters

Great post!  I've been talking with my kids about this too.  One is heading off to college the other is a senior in high school and I've been stressing the importance of what they are putting out there.  Schools, employers and people in general are creeping to check on who and what you are all about.  Social media gives new meaning to word of mouth!

Aug 25, 2010 08:36 AM
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

[Was the fact I have a fairly high profile in CyberSpace a consideration?]

I suspect, and with good reason. . .

I once was accidentally privy to an email from a home warranty company regional to her local reps, in response to my email to her ranting about a 'situation'. 

She must have Googled me and found I participated in some online forums.

She told them "Listen, this bad press will be all over the forums--we have to get it taken care of NOW!"

She didn't mean to CC me . . . hehehe

That BTW was in 2003 . . . pre 'SM revolution' we now know . . .


Aug 25, 2010 01:47 PM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

I am thinking it is the power of Twitter. One dissatisfied customer is nothing to Lowe's but one on Twitter, wow! I did the same thing with a cable attention in a hurry!

Aug 29, 2010 12:23 AM
Keller Williams Select Realtors-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC - Bowie, MD
I don't make promises.I deliver results.SOLD HOMES

Got a problem with a company and they are not trying to help me with my situation-I am taking my problem online. Thanks Joseland. By the way,Carra Riley re-blogged this which was how I found out about this. Great post.

Sep 01, 2010 03:37 AM
Joeann Fossland
Advantage Solutions Group - Tucson, AZ
Master Certified Coach to Motivated Agents

Lanre Thanks for finding me via Carra! Hope that taking it online will get you taken care of! it is a poerful medium!

Gary  Smart man! You are so right about the power of Twitter. And smart companies and real estate agents must be monitoring social media for items that will harm their reputations! We all should have google alerts set up!

Candice Great story and a reminder of how careful we need to be in our cc'ing and responding to all in email, huh? I've blown it myself!

Christine Smart Mom! Kids REALLY need to understand how they can hurt their future reputations by doing stupid things publicly without thinking it through.

Port, Pam & Carra You are all soooo right! Thanks for reading and commenting and, Carra, thanks for reblogging (who would have thought that was a word? LOL)

Sep 01, 2010 05:02 AM