Secret Shopper September 2019

July 16th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

Quick Draw: Three Masonite dealers get their phone skills put to the test

Edited by Drew Vass

While web- and mobile-based shopping have taken the retail sector by storm, when it comes to ordering doors and windows, builders still turn to their phones. It seems, though, that the era of email and text messaging has taken its toll on everyone’s communication skills. [DWM] secret-shopped three Masonite dealers by phone to see how quickly they answered and how their customer service skills are holding up.

After tracking down several dealers through Masonite’s website, we began with, “I’d like to talk to someone in order to get a price on a Masonite door.” Then we requested the ‘Plain Jane’ of doors—a solid (no glass), 3-0 by 6-8, six-panel steel, pre-hung entry door, inswing, left-hand, with brick mold. When we called Franklin Building Supply in Twin Falls, Idaho, the phone was answered immediately and we were quickly transferred to Moe Martinez who picked up in just one or two rings.

Martinez quickly took down our information, explained that the door would need to be placed on order, then gave us a price right away. If we ordered that day, he said it would arrive by the following Wednesday. Moe’s tone was swift—just the way a busy builder or contractor would want it—but he made the deal in a warm and professional tone, ending the call without pressure, inviting us to call him back about the order. He also suggested that we have a great rest of our day—a nice touch to end on. The only suggestion, if any, is that he be a little more aggressive at closing the deal (albeit for one door).

Next, we phoned C&O Window & Door Company Inc. in Pueblo, Colo., where the phone was answered immediately and we were transferred to John Paul Gjerde. Gjerde also picked up on the first ring, presenting an extremely friendly and professional tone. When we asked about our Masonite door, he immediately explained that his company’s go-to provider for steel doors was Therma-Tru, then assured us that it would be a near—if not exact—match. He did follow up with a question that we hadn’t heard: What sort of finish did we want on our hinges? We (hypothetically) went with brushed nickel.

“I can certainly get that priced out for you,” Gjerde assured. “Would you like for me to send you an email with our price on it?” Well, that sounded nice. But before we agreed, we had just one question: Was it possible to get the Masonite door we originally requested? “Yeah … we can get Masonite. But typically, we get it from the same manufacturer that we get our Therma-Tru doors from and usually at exactly the same price.” Meanwhile that provider, he said, stocks more Therma-Tru doors than Masonite, so he could get us the Therma-Tru faster. But would it be an exact match to our existing doors? “It should,” he assured, “but I’ll send you a quote, which includes an image of the door. Just let me know if you see any variations and we can look at getting you a Masonite instead.”

Overall, Gjerde’s service and phone skills were outstanding, as he pleasantly steered us to a different brand. He followed all of his questions with “sir” and echoed our answers with things like, “Perfect,” or, “Okay, great. Thank you for that.”

The quote, he said, would arrive in about five to ten minutes by email. And though the delivery wasn’t as immediate as Martinez’s (by phone), in seven minutes we had our price. Gjerde also had our email address for follow up. Smart.

“Thank you for your time on the phone today,” his email began. And while the photo included didn’t provide nearly enough detail to determine a match to Masonite’s, he acknowledged our concern. “If you would like to explore the Masonite option, please let me know.”

Next, it was on to Fayetteville, N.C., where we couldn’t resist throwing one big box retailer of Masonite brand doors into the mix: The Home Depot. This is where our day took a turn for the worse.

For starters, we were greeted by a computerized answering service. It was simple enough to make our way through the prompts to doors and windows, but that led to about eight to ten rings and no answer. Instead, we were automatically transferred. “Please remain on the line and your call will be answered by the next available associate,” we were told, before being placed back on hold. A minute or so later, the same message was back. More holding. This went on for nearly five minutes, before a person answered asking how she could direct our call. “Doors and windows please,” we said, only to be transferred back into the same cue. After 3-½ minutes of the same cycle, finally the person picked up again and abruptly said, “I’m going to page windows and doors for you. Hang on.” Back on hold we went.

Three minutes later, she was back. “You’re still holding for doors and windows, aren’t you? Let me try them one more time for you.” A minute later, she picked up and blurted, “Sir, I’m transferring you to a manager,” automatically removing the onus from us. A gentleman named Bryan picked up immediately, but seemed a little confused by why we were on his line. He was short on apologies and, too, placed us on hold.

A few minutes later, Bryan returned to ask us a lengthy list of questions, after which he finally gave us our price. He then offered to save the order, so we could call back. Overall, the process took nearly 30 minutes (compared to the less than five minutes we spent with the other dealers).

If there’s any redemption for Home Depot, it might be in the option for retrieving your own prices online, via its website. Clearly that’s what the location in Fayetteville, N.C., is expecting us all to do.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

Leave Comment

X
This site uses cookies which allow us to give you the best browsing experience possible. Cookies are files stored in your browser and are used by most websites to help personalize your web experience. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please see our Privacy Policy.