Office Depot: Thank you For Calling Essay Example

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  1. How Office Depot create value for its customers?

Office Depot employs numerous strategies in creating value for its customers. Home-delivery or delivery is one of the options in which a customer can acquire a product and be delivered between three and five days. In fact, Steve thought that the product would be sent through the mail but was surprised when it was delivered at home (Salomonson, Åberg & Allwood, 2012). The fast delivery and home delivery is an added advantage to the customer since the customer will not waste time and money visiting a shop to acquire the product.

The second value is providing customers numerous options to acquire the product. For example, Steve searched the product online and ordered meaning that any customer can acquire the product easily (Ryu, Lee & Gon, 2012). Through the use of the online platform, Office Depot can improve distribution lines. Furthermore, the online system is integrated into nature because it contains the contacts and information of the customer. For example, Iris was able to track the customer through the name, meaning customer management system is effective (Vega-Vazquez et al. 2013). The system ensures the customer receives the services without having the order number or any additional information.

In addition, Office Depot has an effective complaint line even though it has numerous challenges of delay. Even though the lines are “complex,” Steve was able to communicate with the targeted individuals in that registering a complaint is easier (Vega-Vazquez et al. 2013). Furthermore, Steve was able to engage with Iris about the complaint and Iris was able to make notes to assist in addressing the complaint (Salomonson, Åberg & Allwood, 2012). Moreover, the entire processes of contacting Office Depot was through the toll-free system, which means the costs of complaints are met by the organization. Therefore, the effectiveness of the complaint system indicates the company can provide value to its customers.

  1. Identify the four broad target markets that Office Depot serves.

The four broad target markets that Office Depot serves are:

  • Customers who require specific stationeries (professionals)
  • Customers who require home delivery
  • Students and art artists
  • General public customers
    1. Are Steve and Dana Haine the “right” customers for Office Depot? Justify your answer

Steve and Dana are the “right” customers. Steve and Dana are customers of the company because the customer management system has their details (Salomonson, Åberg & Allwood, 2012). The customer management systems stores details meaning they have acquired Steve and Dina details. In addition, Steve and Dana are the “right” customers because Steve was able to register a complaint. Steve waited for a long time and was able to explain the problem to Iris (Ryu, Lee & Gon, 2012). Furthermore, Dina is a right customer because she assisted the driver with boards and phone book to remove the stuck the car. In fact, Dina waited for the driver for more than one hour and even assisted through calling a tow car. All these activities indicate that Steve and Dana are the right customers.

    1. What is THE critical element that went wrong with Steve’s order?

The delivery of the product was the problem. Steve ordered some small products hoping that it would be delivered through mail but a truck. The entire process of delivery including the inconveniences caused meant that the driver and the organization would improve service delivery. For example, the driver had challenges with communication and also the wasting of time was inconvenient.

  1. What customer satisfaction problems do you see in the case in the following situations?
    1. With delivery of the pen

Numerous customer satisfaction problems exist. The following are some of the customer satisfaction problems:

  1. Delivery to the location – the expectation was that the Office Depot would deliver the product to the customer’s door but in the current situation, the product was delivered mid-way. The expectation was that the driver would alight from the truck and hand deliver the product to the door. However, the driver remained in the truck and called Dana to pick the product. It may be argued the strategy is against the wider objectives of Office Depot based on the remarks from Iris that a product should be delivered to the door.
  2. Language/communication – effective communication is important because the speaker and audience can engage easily and address any issue (Ryu, Lee & Gon, 2012). However, the Office Depot driver was unable to neither communicate effectively with Dana nor be able to call the tow truck. The ineffective communication means that a customer may not follow up with the company or the driver can communicate in meeting delivery objectives.
  3. Expectations vs. actual – Steve knew that the delivery would take between 3 and 5 days, and also was expecting mail delivery. The truck was not a problem but the entire expectations. Steve knew the problem of the drive way, and even the driver would have alighted to prevent the truck from being stuck.
  4. Inconveniences caused – Dana was tasked with assisting the driver for more than one hour. The normal expectations of delivery are to reduce any work load on the customer but based on the current experiences; it would have been better for Steve to visit a shop to acquire the product (Heinonen, Strandvik & Voima, 2013). For instance, Steve was forced to make additional compensation for delivery while Dana was tasked with assisting the driver. All these processes can be seen as additional costs and affect the expectations of the customers of quality and reliable services.

Therefore, numerous problems occurred that made the entire experience unsatisfactory.

    1. When Steve tried to report the situation

The following are some of the customer satisfaction problems when reporting:

  1. Waiting time – Steve was kept waiting for long in both situations (Heinonen, Strandvik & Voima, 2013). The first situation was when he used the available contacts, and the representative stated that her role was assisting with order complaints or complications. Steve was then given another number to call the head office, which also kept him waiting (Ryu, Lee & Gon, 2012). Therefore, the waiting time should be shortest, but the experiences were that an individual was required to wait for more than ten minutes before speaking with a representative.
  2. Changes in toll-free numbers – Steve was tasked with using two numbers to relay his message. The first toll-free number was calling the representative, which he waited for more than ten minutes and was forced to endure the repeated messages from the automated system (Zhao et al. 2012). The second is calling the head office, and waiting for the human response. The normal sense would have been for the first representative to connect Steve with other representatives whether head office or other supervision individual rather than giving Steve the number. It means that reporting a complaint is a major issue since an impatient individual may not be able to register a complaint.
  3. Clarification regarding calling – the success of any complaint reporting is effective communication between the complainant and the management. Steve was able to present his views but Iris was not able to ask Steve for suggestions on improving service provision. In communicating, Steve stated he was a marketing professor and Iris would have used such information to seek for additional information from the professor.
  1. If you were in charge of Office Depot’s customer service operation and learned of Steve’s story, what steps would you take:
    1. Assure Steve that his complaint is being dealt with

The following are some of the strategies that Office Depot can implement in improving customer satisfaction and addressing Steve complaint:

      1. Effective communication – effective communication is important in ensuring Steve understands Office Depot has received the message clearly and owned the problem (Ryu, Lee & Gon, 2012). The effective communication with start with effective clarification or repeating through a summary the problem and proposing solutions that the company may implement (Grissemann & Stokburger-Sauer, 2012). The purpose is to ensure Steve contributes towards formulating a strategy or approach that can prevent similar problems occurring in the future.
      2. Follow up during future deliveries – Steve is promised that future deliveries would be monitored, and information collected regarding complaints from the customers (Zhao et al. 2012). Steve would also be given a direct line rather than waiting through the official lines to complain or present satisfactions in the change. The follow up is to ensure more information is gathered to reflect any changes implemented regarding quality assurances.
      3. Improve customer satisfaction – promising and ensuring that customer satisfaction would be improved is crucial (Heinonen, Strandvik & Voima, 2013). Stating some approaches to be implemented are some of the strategies that persuade Steve that the processes would be improved. For example, informing Steve that the future deliveries would be fulfilled by drivers who can communicate effectively is one of the strategies to ensure improved customer satisfaction.

Assurance is important in that a customer feels and understands the action is taken to address any problem or complication. The proposed strategies suffice when implemented in a broader way whereby different stakeholders and players are involved. For example, engaging with Office Depot management can assist in changing strategic policies to improve customer service.

    1. Ensure that Office Depot minimizes the chances of this type of poor service recurring

The following are some of the strategies the Office Depot can implement in minimizing the chances the same problems or challenges may occur:

      1. Training and development – Office Depot have to understand the importance of improving the capacities of its employees (Heinonen, Strandvik & Voima, 2013). An effective training and development program should be in place to ensure the employees are informed of appropriate strategies to fulfill the customers’ requirements (Grissemann & Stokburger-Sauer, 2012). The focus of training and development is to understand the changing requirements of the customers, and implementing measures that can improve customer satisfaction. For example, persons with challenges in communication should be trained on effective communication.
      2. Managing and evaluating processes- problems and shortcomings occur when there is a lack of an effective framework for evaluating the processes. Office Depot should review the evaluation process through ensuring the customer is satisfied rather than focusing on the systems (Ryu, Lee & Gon, 2012). For instance, the system may ensure the delivery is on time but focusing on customer satisfaction on the entire process may be absent (Amin et al. 2013). It means that evaluating the processes with clear documentation and collection of data, analyzing the data, and making decisions based on the data is important (Zhao et al. 2012). It requires a wider perspective of not only focusing on the processes but also collecting views from the customers and market to understand the reception of Office Depot products (Grissemann & Stokburger-Sauer, 2012). Hence, continuous data collection, analyzing the data, and using data to make decisions is crucial to the success of the organization.
      3. Integrating communication systems – another evident problem is the communication channels and challenges. Even though Office Depot has numerous branches, these branches should be interlinked in nature. The interlinking is effective in order delivery because Iris was able to trace the order but when making the calls; Steve was given a number to call the head office (Zhao et al. 2012). The alternative approach of integrating the representative line with the head office or managers would be crucial in that a customer would not be tasked with the task of calling the head office (Heinonen, Strandvik & Voima, 2013). Hence, if the system were integrated, Steve would have been connected with the head office saving both the time and agony of waiting. The solution is linking the different communication channels.
  1. How firms create “value” for customers

The companies that I interact with create value through numerous processes. the expected outcome to the companies with focus on creating value to the customers include large impact on lifetime value, increasing customer retention, and making the business more profitable through balancing different strategic approaches include clarification on objectives and goals. The companies I interact communicate nicely and elaborate on matters, which become easier to understand and appreciate. The companies also ask whether I have understood the objectives of the product/service, and whether there are areas that require clarification. The value proposition is also crucial in that the benefits of product/service are identified and communicated to the customers. Furthermore, understanding the wants and needs of the customers means that the marketers are able to create a long-lasting relationship resulting in loyalty. Moreover, these organizations utilize different approaches including the design of the outlets, employees’ etiquette, and conflict resolution mechanisms. In addition, these companies that I have engaged employ the ideology of marketing mix that includes price, products, and distribution. It means it is easier to access a product at affordable prices. All these fundamentals and approaches result in appreciation of the product and service translating to “value” to the customer.


Amin, M., Yahya, Z., Ismayatim, W. F. A., Nasharuddin, S. Z., & Kassim, E. (2013). Service quality dimension and customer satisfaction: An empirical study in the Malaysian hotel industry. Services Marketing Quarterly, 34(2), 115-125.

Grissemann, U. S., & Stokburger-Sauer, N. E. (2012). Customer co-creation of travel services: The role of company support and customer satisfaction with the co-creation performance. Tourism Management, 33(6), 1483-1492.

Heinonen, K., Strandvik, T., & Voima, P. (2013). Customer dominant value formation in service. European Business Review, 25(2), 104-123.

Ryu, K., Lee, H. R., & Gon Kim, W. (2012). The influence of the quality of the physical environment, food, and service on restaurant image, customer perceived value, customer satisfaction, and behavioral intentions. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 24(2), 200-223.

Salomonson, N., Åberg, A., & Allwood, J. (2012). Communicative skills that support value creation: A study of B2B interactions between customers and customer service representatives. Industrial Marketing Management, 41(1), 145-155.

Vega-Vazquez, M., Ángeles Revilla-Camacho, M., & J. Cossío-Silva, F. (2013). The value co-creation process as a determinant of customer satisfaction. Management Decision, 51(10), 1945-1953.

Zhao, L., Lu, Y., Zhang, L., & Chau, P. Y. (2012). Assessing the effects of service quality and justice on customer satisfaction and the continuance intention of mobile value-added services: An empirical test of a multidimensional model. Decision Support Systems, 52(3), 645-656.