Best Buy’s CEO, Brian Dunn, blogged a rebuttal to a critical Forbes article in early January. He took responsibility for a number of screw ups during the holiday season, but pointed out that Best Buy was a strong, profitable retailer and was working hard to create an even “more seamless experience between our stores, web sites, call centers and services teams.”
The real news was the candor of the hundreds of comments that piled on within hours of Dunn’s post, including detailed critiques of operations from employees and former employees and criticism from customers. Here are two examples:
Example of Customer Feedback:
“I should not have to wait 45 minutes, go through 3 associates, and be bombarded by repeated attempts to sell me a credit card, extended warranties, and service protection to buy a laptop … I can’t even walk out of an empty Best Buy store with a video game in 5 minutes. …At a crowded Apple Store, I grab what I want and the employee in that section checks out my order – out in 3 minutes.
As CEO, you can IMMEDIATELY improve the customer experience by not requiring employees to hound customers with warranties, credit cards, protection plans, and etc. If I wanted them, I’d ask. This will seriously fix the majority of negative customer experiences.”
~ Comment by Simon — January 6, 2012 @ 7:13 pm
“The reason everybody… gleefully piles on Best Buy at the first hint of trouble is simple: the store absolutely wreaks of its lack of honest value to the customer. [Customers] go to Best Buy because … they want the stuff in it; Best Buy … adds as much hassle as they can cram into the experience. HEY, BUY THIS SERVICE PLAN! OK, WHAT ABOUT A CREDIT CARD?! NO? DO YOU WANT TO PAY $50 A MONTH FOR MOBILE INTERNET? NO?? HEY, HOW ABOUT YOU PAY US TO MAYBE BUY THIS THING BACK FROM YOU FOR A SMALL AMOUNT OF STORE CREDIT LATER? NO?! ARE YOU SURE?
And all this new training you speak of isn’t actual knowledge that could be of use to the customer. It’s how to smooth-talk the above offers. The actual product training is brief, cursory and incomplete “e-learnings,” while the almost weekly training sessions and videos are all about getting your low-paid, non-commission sales staff to act more like commissioned professionals you’d actually have to pay decent money.
Best Buy is all scheming, no innovation and you’ve only treated your employees worse as your fortunes have slid. It’s no wonder customers hate the place.”
~ Comment by G. Robert Ludden, Store 1158 — January 6, 2012 @ 6:41 pm
What struck me was the number of very explicit employees’ comments interleaved with the customers’ comments. BestBuy’s CEO just received a very valuable and very public gift of constructive feedback. What do you think about the dangers of CEOs blogging? What damage has the public employee and customer criticism done to the brand? And the real question is this: will Dunn take prompt actions to correct these and much of the other dirty laundry that has now been aired in public?