Best Buy’s Disconnect With Customers

Tsk, tsk, tsk.  Best Buy has rated yet another story in the blogosphere, this time from one of the most influential blogs around – GrokDotCom.  In Best Buy, Worst Buy, Bryan Eisenberg has written about his own mother’s recent experience in trying to have a flat screen TV installed in her home.

This one’s a doozy, and leaves you shaking your head.  We’ve put men on the Moon and rovers on Mars… do ya think planet Earth will ever get the customer service experience right?  No wonder Best Buy stock is on the decline…

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7 Responses to “Best Buy’s Disconnect With Customers”

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  1. Lip-Sticking says:

    Best Buy Gets a Black Eye

    Thanks to a post Michele Miller wrote over at WonderBranding, I discovered this appalling story about Best Buy, an electronics store that I thought was a great place for women to shop. Not anymore! The story Michele refers to and which Bryan Eisenberg …

  2. Wild Bill says:

    If you want to put a man on the moon the pay what it costs to put a man on the moon. If you want to get a flat screen TV (and a free home theater system, are you kidding me? Nothing is free!) then pay what it is worth. If you want a discount then expect a discounted experience.
    Bryan’s mom’s experience had nothing, NOTHING to do with her being a woman. It had everything to do with not taking the advice of the first sales person she spoke to and going online to find someone that was willing to lie to her to get a discount deal.

  3. Mary Hunt says:

    You missed the point, Wild Bill. First, his Mother (a woman) wrote the very long letter and second, in that letter was not one little snafu, but many. That’s the frustration. No, it didn’t have anything with her being a woman, but it did have everything with Best Buy trying to become a more women-friendly store and missing its mark.
    I had my own snafu buying a laptop in March. I won’t recap it here, but it was DAYS of frustration and poor customer service. Everyone did their job to the max of their job description, but they left me to pull the parts of the screw up together and then tell the story over and over and over to each new person. By the time I told the frustration story the sixth time, it’s pretty well driven into my soul that this was not a happy day at Best Buy.
    Best Buy’s store to store sales have gone up with higher percentages of women on the floor helping people. That said, after my experience, I decided that you couldn’t throw enough women at the problem to fix it. I even sold my stock after that.
    It’s not the people, it’s the system. There is no ownership to helping a customer resolve their issues, only hand-offs to the next person in line. If I had told my story ONCE and that person helped me resolve everything to the end, I would have been happy.
    Best Buy also represents mass consumption which is falling out of vogue with the emerging Sustainable movement. That probably has more to do with why its stock is sinking.

  4. Wild Bill says:

    I mostly agree with your reply to my comment Mary. I worked at smaller mom and pop stores in the beginning of my career as an installer and the customer service and entire experience was better. Then America got it in their heads that they can get the same product at a chain store (BestBuy)and before you know it the mom and pop store could not compete and I found myself working for BestBuy, Circuit City, and Ultimate Electronics.
    There are so many people in the chain at these big stores that have no idea what they are doing that by the time I made it to a house I was in damage control mode getting paid half of what I should have for 4 times the work. The starting point in the chain reaction of screw ups almost (99%) of the time starts with a customer trying to get something for nothing.
    I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, however 75% of the time the messed up sales and installs were as a result of female employees (this is the fact of my 12 year experience as a consumer electronics salesman and installer.) I have only worked with one female installer in my history in the industry. There are many more female installers around the country and I have traveled the entire United States working in the industry, but I have personally only worked with one female installer. Sales people that have never installed have no idea how to sell, quote, and do the work involved in a successful install. In my opinion this is why 85% of female consumer electronics sales people are not qualified to sell a toaster.
    I know his mother wrote the letter, I know there was more than one little snafu, but all the snafus started with the first snafu, trying to find a better deal then expecting the same level of quality at a lower price.
    Sorry you had a bad experience with your laptop purchase at Best But. I know I do not know all the details, however I bought this laptop I am using now from Best Buy and have not had one single problem. BestBuy is a place to buy consumer electronics at a cheap price then walk out of the store and expect to get out of the product what you paid for it. If you want good customer service, that is not what BestBuy is about, (its called BestBuy not BestServiceExperiance.)
    Unfortunately there are very few people left that are willing to pay for the level of service they expect. I got out of the business for this reason. When every radio I installed became a free install and every DirecTV install I did was added onto the sale as a free install, I could tell that most American no longer valued what I did as an installation professional. I now find it laughable that people whine about their crappy customer service experiences when their own everything for free attitude created the problem in the first place.
    I know it doesn’t seem like it but I did enjoy your post and I think you have a great blog here and I will be back. Hopefully I will find more to agree with you about when I come back. Don’t change one bit. Thanks

  5. Wild Bill says:

    Also I wanted to add one more thing. Bryan’s mom mentioned Magnolia in here letter. Magnolia was one of the best customer service and installation companies in the consumer electronics industry (I know because I helped build many of their stores.) Just like most other smaller companies in the consumer electronics industry, customers started going to BestBuy and Magnolia’s sales dropped. Before BestBuy completely put Magnolia out of business they sold their company to BestBuy.
    BestBuy bought Magnolia because of their great installation team and customer service, thinking that they could just buy the could name and somehow it would rub off on BestBuy. I was offered a job at Magnolia and was about to take the job when the inside information started coming in that Magnolia was being bought by BestBuy. I did not take the job. Ironically I ended up having to take a job at a BestBuy for a while, finally I realized that the industry that I had spent my entire life in no longer valued their installers and decided to become a stay-at-home father and raise my children instead of accepting much lower pay for a job they thought a monkey could do.
    I am now a full time blogger and could not be happier. Bad customer service will continue as long as people do not value (and pay for the value) of good customer service. Customers have created this monster, BestBuy is just giving people what they asked for.

  6. Michele says:

    I love your conversation about this, Bill and Mary. The funny thing is, when I posted about this story, I wasn’t even thinking in the “marketing to women” mode! My husband has also had plenty of bad service experiences – I think we’re all just weary of being conditioned to “someone’s gonna screw-up.” And when they don’t, we’re delighted!
    When it comes to gender, I think both sides suffer and both sides are to blame. Poor training, weak systems, etc. are all the culprits. Evidenced by Best Buy’s “form letter” reply to Bryan’s mom (in case you haven’t seen that yet… Bryan has updated his blog post).
    Keep up the good comments, and keep on bloggin’ Bill!

  7. Wild Bill says:

    Thanks Michele, I was trying real hard not to come off as a jerk which is sometime very hard to do when you are as passionate as me, hehe.
    I read that the form letter reply to Bryan’s mom. I love the internet but really loved the days when we spoke to people face to face. I’m very selective in what I buy online, if I even suspect I will need real world service I don’t even think about buying online.
    I agree with your points about poor training, weak systems, etc being a problem I just really believe companies try to give people what the want and what more and more people seem to want these days in a discounted life.

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