Office Depot/Office MaxMarch 6, 2013
As you may recall, one of Renee’s Rules™ is “Two sick companies do not make a healthy one.”
Based on my in-store and on-line customer service experiences with both Office Depot and Office Max, I predict that my rule will prove true for their upcoming merger UNLESS–and this is important–they hire a new, capable CEO for the combined entity. Although it is true that some of their troubles are attributable to the changing environment, the bigger problems is that these two companies simply are not well managed.
I rarely visited the Office Depot store in downtown Portland. Store layout was horrid. It simply took too long to find anything. (Apparently, others felt the same. The store is a ghost of its former self.) The last time I tried to do business with Office Depot, I tried to use a coupon I received in the mail to make an on-line purchase. The website would not recognize the coupon, so I tried calling. When the customer service rep was unable to solve the problem after 15 minutes, I said, “Thank you very much” and have never bought anything from them again. I really do “vote with my feet and/or my fingers.”
Office Max seems slightly better, but when I recently returned home from buying supplies at Office Max, I found a coupon that had started that day. Really?
In the big picture, I am a teeny customer, but the examples above are symptoms of the kinds of problems that affect larger customers, too.
These companies–like too many others (ToysRUs comes to mind.)–simply do not pay adequate attention to operations and to detail. They do not think about what it is like to be their customer. The merger will extend life but is unlikely to produce a healthy entity.