The headlines in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal read, “Best Buy CEO defies critics.” The article was addressing their weak sales in December of 2011, citing the problem as Best Buy’s inability to compete effectively with price and selection found on-line retailers.
I agree with the article and also have some other bad news for Best Buy. Your sales are weak because you have lousy customer service.
There are a few of us that still like the store experience. You get to feel and touch the product, talk to a representative not in India or get put on hold trying to find the answer to a simple questions. After a recent Best Buy experience, on-line is looking better every day. Here’s my customer service or lack of saga.
I purchased a Verizon Wireless FiveSpot™ from Best Buy last April. The product/service never worked. I spent about 10 hours going to the Best Buy, working with their Geek squad, with no luck. (That is a full work day.) Now here’s the kicker. I receive a letter from Verizon asking for $300 because I broke my contract early. I HAD TO BREAK THE CONTRACT—YOUR PRODUCT DOESN’T WORK. I explain the situation to the Best Buy manager who says, “You know, we just can’t do anything about it. It is a Verizon product.” (This is after I purchased a computer and an IPOD.) The sales manager promised to talk to the Verizon rep and each time I followed-up, I heard an excuse and another promise. Note: The sales manager never proactively called me.
The bottom line is I am paying the $300 because I’m now being threatened with the potential of going to collections. (Verizon is even worse to work with. No time for that in this blog.)
So Best Buy will never get any of my company’s future business in buying phones, computer, IPAD’s, or even paper. Do the math. How many computers does a company buy over the lifetime of the firm? How often do you think organizations upgrade their smart phones?
There are a couple of sales lessons to be learned to avoid Big Box Mentality:
- Don’t say you’re going to do something with no intention of following-up.
- Don’t make your customer follow-up. It’s your job to keep them in the loop.
- Figure out a way to make the customer happy. A credit at Best Buy would have kept me as a customer.
- Don’t make excuses or blame the other company if you represent other product or service lines. If I made the purchase from you, I expect you to take care of it.
- Think lifetime value of a customer versus one transaction. You are not looking at $300. You are looking at $30,000. That’s easy math to figure out how to do the right thing.
- Empower your salespeople to make decisions. Give them parameters and then trust them to do the right thing.