Case exercise: Build-it home improvement stores, Sweden** *
Bert Nystrom was the managing director of Build-It AB, a chain ofdo-it-yourself (DIY) stores across Sweden. The Build-It concept wasmodelled on the same lines as the American company, Home Depot, but didn’tseem to enjoy the same level of success. This was frustrating given thathome improvement is the number one use of disposable income. That said, itis clear that customers are expecting a great deal from their homeimprovement stores, not least because DIY is so important in their lives.Bert observed customers leaving his stores and, although they were spendingmoney, they didn’t seem to be delighted with the service or with theirpurchases. Routine customer satisfaction surveys didn’t really give muchinsight, suggesting customers were satisfied, but not delighted, withBuild-It. However, there was no consistent message as to what Build-Itshould do to improve the satisfaction scores.He decided to talk to some of the customers in the store to try tounderstand what they were really looking for and to get some clues as towhether Build-It was delivering what they wanted.Jenny Soderstrom said:*It’s OK here, but I feel intimidated by the store – there’s so much stuff,I don’t know what I need and haven’t a clue about how to use it. Everyoneelse looks so competent, able to explain exactly what they need, that Ifeel a bit pathetic in asking for help about how to mend a leaking tap!More often than not, I give up and leave the store without buying anything,feeling pretty bad, and reluctantly deciding to pay someone else to do thisfor me. This isn’t what I want, but it seems to be the only thing I can do.*Marcus Wallenberg added:*My wife and I have invested a great many krona in improving our home. Wespent years creating our perfect home. Every time we go to Build-It we setoff with a picture of what we’re trying to achieve in our minds. It’s notjust the end result that’s important, but knowing that we’ve been a part ofits creation gives us such a buzz, so going to Build-It is part of this.It’s a real mixture of experiences for us. Sometimes we’re delighted withthe service we receive, we get exactly what we need to complete our latestproject and we know what we need to do to make it happen.Unfortunately, not every visit to Build-It is this good. Sometimes we wouldlike to take time to discuss different options with someone who knows whatcan be done. Unfortunately, some employees are neither competent nor at allinterested in our projects. It feels like they want to take our money andget rid of us as quickly as possible.*Frederik Åberg commented:*I’m a self-employed craftsman. I’ve been building house extensions andcarrying out small building work for 20 years. I know what I want when I goto Build-It and I need to get in, get served, and get back to work. I needbigger quantities than the general public, slicker service, and I don’twant to have to have to wait to be served because employees are discussingsimple projects with people who simply don’t know what they’re doing.*Bert Nystrom was beginning to realise that Build-It was a long way frommatching the promise of Home Depot, which seems to be able to deliver ontheir advertising line of ‘You can do it – we can help.’ Home Depot seemedto be so much more than simply a DIY store where customers went to buywood, nails, paint and tools. Another of Home Depot’s customer objectivesis to ‘teach the skills to build your dreams and your dream home’. Bert waspondering how to turn these nice advertising slogans into something thatcould be delivered in his Build-It stores.*
1* Identify and develop the service concepts that Bert Nystrom shoulddeliver in Build-It stores.*
**2* What operational challenges does he face in delivering these services?