Retrain. Rethink. Retool.

Not to make light of the 151,352 jobs that have been lost in January 2009 alone, but I just found out that people actually work at Home Depot.

This doesn’t pertain the the paint guy, who’s stuck behind the counter mixing pigment all day and couldn’t possibly know the aisle for the hose filter washer I needed last week. But try to get help with cement grout filler or a flush assembly for a commode, and you might see tumbleweeds blowing across the aisle.

I’m not exactly sure why Home Depot had to lay off workers who I’ve never been able to find anyways. After all, they aren’t the “Do it Yourself Store.” That’s where I’d go if I thought I was capable. I go to Home Depot because they swear “You Can Do It. We Can Help.” Well, how are they going to help me now when 7,000 more employees go missing?

“We see the announcements as largely positive,” analyst David Schick said. Really? Because if I couldn’t find anyone to tell me the difference between incandescent, CFL and LED lightbulbs before, now I’m really going to be in the dark.

I can’t help but wonder if Home Depot lost so much money because of poor sales or poor service–or both.

There’s a lesson to be learned here. If you, too, have had to lay employees off, now is the time not only to rejuvinate your remaining staff, but to look closely at what part customer service–or lack of it–played in any losses you may have had.

Quantity? Out. Quality? In. As hard as it is on a personal level, “cleaning house” may be exactly what your business needs to suceed in the future. It’s time to Retrain, Re-think and Retool. Invest your time in employees who truly care about your company’s success and future–as well as their own.  The end result will be a more secure, motivated staff who can best represent your vision, standards and goals. Read: improved sales and more repeat customers.

Home Depot, are you listening?

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