Best Buy’s “Unique Shopping Experience”

Did you catch my Customer Experience of the Month for December featuring Best Buy?  Over the holidays I lost track of how many Best Buy blunders stories I heard.  It all started when my friend Craig Gibbs, posted this message to his facebook status…

“The customer experience at Best Buy: The salesperson treats you like a thief, the cashier treat you like an idiot. How delightful.”  He later added a comment “Best Buy competes only on price and absolutely, positively do not care about individual customers.”

So I gave Best Buy the benefit of doubt and assumed this is not their intended customer experience, according to their website “Best Buy offers consumers a unique shopping experience with the latest technology and entertainment products, at the right price, with a no-pressure (non-commissioned) sales environment.”  It’s hard to deduct what their intended customer experience is from this statement, I get that it is intended to be “unique”, although what about it is unique?  They do carry the latest technology and entertainment products at a good price, but perhaps they have missed the mark on their intentions of with a no-pressure sales environment.  This explains why I have such a hard time finding a sales person to help me when I go to Best Buy.  Like most things in life, having a balance is key, while we don’t want a high-pressure sales environment, we do want effective sales support that are inspired by their leadership to reflect their intended brand experience.

Then I reflected that companies who rely solely on pricing may have notable fiscal success, as is the case with Best Buy, but good prices are easy to replicate, good customer experiences is more of an art, one that would expand their fiscal potentiality and minimize competitive risks.  While Best Buy is #45 on the 2010 Fortune 100 List their stock price was recently hammered by more than 15% due to erosion of market share making the competitive risks very real for Best Buy.  At a time when technology gadgets are at an all time high, Best Buy should be thriving! I then urged Best Buy Chief Executive Brian Dunn to give me a call, with the right customer and employee experience strategy they can reclaim their market share and harness the full their potentiality.

More recently, another friend of mine,  Laura Daub, posted this on facebook…

“I don’t care how busy you are Best Buy… Not answering your phone for 2 days in a row is absolutely UNACCEPTABLE!!!”

To which her facebook friend, Larry White, commented…

“Welcome to the world of ‘you are easily replaced by other lemmings who will fill the void’.”

Then a few days later Laura added this update…

“My Best Buy update: they didn’t answer their phone for 3 days, the Canon Rebel we bought for our daughter was faulty, so my husband just took it back and got the one Henry’s put on hold for us (for 2 days) and they even threw in a flash card for free! So, ptttcht Best Buy big box store that only cares about their sales… I suppose you don’t really care, but you should.”

Fact of the matter is there are countless stories like this.  If you go on YouTube and search for “Best Buy sucks” you end up with an unbelievable amount of frustrated customer rants.  This was my favourite…

Bottom line, Best Buy’s erosion in market is the beginning of a very bad ending, they have a narrow window of opportunity to shift this momentum but it will take a radical change in their Customer Experience Management strategy.  In 2008, Best Buy was applauded for their creative pricing strategies, however the most brilliant pricing strategy will not sustain without a mindful Customer and Employee experience strategy.

How do you we get through to Brian Dunn and his team before it’s too late?