When the stock market opened this morning, Best Buy stocks were tumbling between 30-40%, based upon how quickly the news was reported. After agreeing to price match and aggressive retail pricing for the holiday season, analysts were stunned to learn that final earnings were down for the big box chain. Judging by the “sky is falling” stock sell off, something went very wrong. That something was simple: customer service.
For years, all across America, we watched as Best Buy bullied the local retailers out of business by aggressively pricing a few items to lure customers in the door and lauding their superior service. Based on volume, local retailers simply couldn’t compete and closed their doors. With each local closing, Best Buy did what most bullies do: they got even cockier. They not only overpriced accessories and limited in-store items, but their customer service became virtually non-existent. Fast forward 5 years and that same scenario hit Best Buy right between the eyes. This time, it was Amazon doing the punching.
Offering lower prices and two day shipping, Amazon quickly trumped Best Buy on price point and service. Basically, Best Buy stores became known as “Amazon Showrooms.” Most consumers, including myself, went to Best Buy, scoped out an item and went home to order it from Amazon. There was no urgency for Best Buy to snag me as a customer, as evidenced by the fact that I was rarely even acknowledged by a store associate.
Just this last week, I went to my local Best Buy to purchase an iMac. After not being greeted upon entering the store. I went straight to the iMac counter, where I stood for 30 minutes with no assistance. Three different times, I tried to get the assistance of a salesperson. Three times I was ignored. (This was a random Thursday morning with 5 sales associates & 2 customers in electronics.) I checked in on Foursquare & mentioned the lack of help. Quickly, Marti from Best Buy Support tweeted me: “Well did you ask for help?” With my blood pressure already skyrocketing, I responded, “No. I just stood here, looking helpless. Of course I asked for help.” He then tweeted, “Well try asking again.” My head exploded! I blasted good ol’ Marti & said, “I absolutely should not have to. The first rule of customer service is that you acknowledge the customer before they have to approach you.” Marti, being the peach that he was, then tweeted, “Well, I was just trying to help. Too bad.” TOO BAD?!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME, JACKASS?!? Not only was I already upset by having to wait and being ignored, but then the customer service guy came in and blamed ME for Best Buy’s lack of service. Yeah, that was exactly what NOT to do with an upset customer. Then, I asked to speak to a manager. After an eye roll when he was paged, he greeted me with a mouth full of food and said, “Did you pay for that item?”
Yeah, Best Buy, you suck…