Among electronics retailers, Best Buy (BBY) is one of the top brands because of its reputation for service, and they’re often able to command a premium because of it.
I’ve written previously of their customer-centricity efforts and use of personas to improve the Best Buy experience. How’s that working out for them? Here’s a quick story…
My mother wanted to upgrade her bedroom TV. Mom’s a widow now, and she knew with our crazy schedules, it might be hard count on my brother Jeffrey and me to help with the installation of the new 40″ LCD television she was buying. She was excited and couldn’t wait to get her new TV, so the plan was to pay someone to do it all for her — rather than waiting for her sons to come through.
On Sunday, Jeffrey came over and helped her take down the old TV from the shelf on the wall; she was told the installers couldn’t do it. I’d found a great deal on a new Logitech Harmony remote on Amazon (AMZN) and she ordered it right away. She was going to upgrade her cable box to HD-DVR. She was all ready for the delivery of her order on Monday, and for the installers on Tuesday, but that’s when the fun and excitement ended.
This is the email she was about to send to customer service before sharing it with me last night:
I was at the Best Buy (BBY) store on Bay Parkway (Brooklyn) and a nice young man helped me decide on the 40 inch LCD TV I wanted. We went for a Samsung that was on special that week. I could not buy it at that moment because the salesman told me that I have to have the old television removed before the new one was delivered and I had to go home and find out how I could do it. He gave me the model number, the price, the amount it was going to cost me to have it installed on my wall, the price of the wall mount in the back of his card and he told me the offer would probably last one more week.
I was not able to go back to the store so I decided that I would place the order with Best Buy online. I wanted to make sure that when they installed the TV I had all the correct wires, plugs, etc. that I could possibly need to have a successful event. I then called the number on the website so I could set up the installation and finalize the purchase.
I spoke to Joyce. She was very pleasant and she told me that the installation I needed was going to be $150.00 and not the $400.00 – $100.00 discount = $300.00 that Aram, the salesman, quoted me. She told me that the one she recommended was the one I needed. I asked if there was anything else I needed so everything went smoothly and she said that if I needed any wires the Magnolia (the ones who do the installations for Best Buy) people would have it in their truck. She also told me to get the free home theater that went with the television set I choose and I went for it. So my order was complete with a TV, a wall bracket, a home theater and an installation package. I was all set.
I received the delivery on Monday and the guy asked me where the television was going to be installed and I told him it was going to be in my upstairs bedroom. He left it in the downstairs living room. He even called someone and I had to verify to the lady that he did leave it in the living room. Why did he even ask? I asked him if the installer would bring it upstairs and he said that they would and that they would also bring the wall bracket and the home theater as they did not have it in their delivery truck. He did not give me any shipping confirmation papers and then left.
The first thing I was told when they installation guy came in was, “Sorry, I cannot and would not bring anything upstairs.” For 2 days I didn’t have a TV in my bedroom, I was ready to cry because he told me he couldn’t do it then and he was telling me I would need to reschedule. I was not informed that the piece to be installed had to be in the same room where the installation was. The delivery guy had to know about this, why did he leave the TV downstairs in another room? Aren’t they all part of the same company? I just wanted a hassle free experience.
The installer then when outside and came back and said that OK, he would bring the TV upstairs and he proceeded to set it up on top of the dresser. I told him that I purchased a wall bracket. He made me read the description of what he was sent and I had already paid for and nothing about setting up the TV on the wall. Why would I order a wall bracket and installation together if I wasn’t going to have it installed on the wall? If I needed to buy something else should I not have been offered it. Then I started to feel the extortion pressure. He told me if I didn’t pay $250.00 plus tax additional to hang the TV and set up the home theater I couldn’t get it the way I expected.
I felt like I had no choice now. He would not start doing any work unless I gave him the check, so I did. “Could this have been because I was a women alone in the house?” I wondered. I did not get the $100.00 discount and it ended up costing me $400 for the installation. I did buy everything together. Why would I buy it if not to have it set up properly as well?
In fact, they were supposed to setup any components I had as well. Well, they didn’t have the wires in their truck to install my DVD player. They told me if someone else hooked it up and not them that it would “null and void” the guarantee of their installation. I had to run to the local Radio Shack and pick up the wires for them. Only after I told him that he promised that if I had the wires before 4pm and I called him he would come back later and install it but only until 5pm today. I called and he did in fact return to install the DVD.
I reviewed the contract and it says, “Ensure that all wires and cables are neatly dressed using wire ties.” They left the wires hanging loosely and the wires in the back all bunched up. They considered the home theater installed because the wires were connected, to the TV and the speakers were attached to the back of the main unit. They left the Home theater on top of my dresser without unwinding the wires, the speakers sitting around it. Would you consider that an “expert” home theater installation? It seemed they could not wait to get out even without “providing instruction to familiarize the customer with the basic use of their system.”
This has been a nightmare for me.
I’ll have to waste even more time, on top of the money, getting it installed properly and fighting with customer service. Best Buy has become the “Worst Buy” for me.
The money being spent for the proper installation was not the issue. A salesperson’s job is to help the person buy what they want. My mom is a very detailed oriented person. I’m sure she explained exactly what she was looking for to both Aram and Joyce, the Best Buy salespeople, and even still the whole experience left her with a bad a taste in her mouth.
How will Best Buy, recently ranked #1 in customer experience online, measure the success or failure of this type of experience? Should they keep relying on these panel surveys or look elsewhere? In this case, the online store — together with the Best Buy’s brand reputation and some assistance from a call center — converted the visit to a purchase. But where should the online experience end?
Best Buy has had numerous issues as of late. Just this past week, they fired a Geek Squad crew for ripping pictures (including porn) from their customers’ computers. Are these the things Best Buy counts as part of its “customer-centricity” strategy and great experience?
Seems like the strategy and tactics are way off.
UPDATE: Here’s the customer service response email. I’m not sure what’s worse; the experience, or the customer disservice email:
I am Paul with Best Buy Customer Care.
I apologize for any inconvenience you have experienced related to your
Best Buy strives to make each experience you have with us positive and
as fun as possible, and we are disappointed if we don’t live up to that
expectation. Best Buy relies on feedback, both positive and negative,
to help us find areas for improvement.
Please do not hesitate to contact usfor any questions or concerns. We
look forward to your next visit to one of our stores or to