Walmart’s business achievements cannot be disputed, but if you’re dreaming of comparable success and reputation (even on a much smaller scale), be careful what you wish for. You’re probably remembering the low price, friendly service company that excited you upon their entry into your local market.
Most things in the world of business are ever-changing. In the case of Walmart, its own operations are downward moving targets.
Here’s a recent customer’s experience:
- She ordered a product using their ship-to-store online functionality.
- An email arrived in her inbox, announcing the product had been delivered to the local store.
- She went to the store, only to be told the email is a false alert, because the product still hadn’t been checked in to stock. However, it would be done by the end of the morning.
- She returned to the store at 1:30, only to be told items were still on the truck. She could call back later to check status. While there, she walked to the department to see if another product would work as well, but there were no employees around to ask for help.
- Mid-afternoon, she called the store, waiting a very long time for someone at the Walmart switchboard to answer. Before she got halfway through her sentence about why she was calling, the operator sent her call to the Photo Department (her order was not a photo product), which did not answer the phone at all.
- She called back and asked to speak with the store manager. Apparently, Walmart has store managers, but they only speak to other employees. A “supervisor” got on the phone and promised to call back within 45 minutes with an answer on when the item could be picked up. 45 minutes?!!
- A full hour later, no return call. How bad can this get?
I can personally testify to similar experiences, and I bet someone in your household can do so, too. In fact, I’ve noticed Walmart’s hardware and many other departments are priced much higher than home improvement stores, etc. So much for claims of “the low price leader”.
So, high prices and very poor service. The Walmart reputation is based on a past that doesn’t exist today. My view: Walmart stores have become large warehouses where they focus on keeping shelves stocked with corporate-defined inventory, hiring some very nice people to hide from customers.
Regardless of whether or not you’re a retailer, I caution you to not aspire to levels of companies who are no longer what you think they are. And, if you’ve been the proud brand within your product or service niche, are you sure your team hasn’t back-slid?