Customer Disservice

20 Sep

I hate businesses anymore. Yeah, I said that. I hate them. For the most part they could care less about their customers. They believe keeping prices low is enough to keep us satisfied. But to me it’s not. It’s about the little things. Like that overused business saying “Going the Extra Mile” or to “WOW” the customer. Yeah, that’s a bunch of lies. No business goes the extra mile anymore. And rarely do they try to WOW me. These tactics aren’t even for retaining customers anyways. It’s to make new ones. Hey, NEWS FLASH!….it’s harder to make new customers than it is to keep the ones you have.

I’m sure you’re wondering what I’m getting at, and let me start with an example of a store that I deal with fairly regular. Fact is for the longest time I loved this store and was dying for them to come to my local area. They finally did, and as I became a frequenter of the business I realized how awful they are at customer service. When you walk in to the store you are hardly ever greeted, you can wonder through an entire area of the store for an hour plus without a single employee asking for help, and don’t call the store…they won’t answer it because they have one phone for everyone to reach. That’s not even the worst part. They offer In-Store Pickup for online orders, but good luck with that. Most of the time they don’t have your product ready when you get there, so they have to go search for it. What is the point of ordering it online to not deal with the hassle of the store if you aren’t going to have my product ready? I could have walked in the store, grabbed what I wanted, and checked out in the time it took me to do a store pickup. You offer in-store pickup to save time, so don’t waste my time not having my stuff ready. And I know it’s not the store managers fault, I’ve read plenty of articles and blogs referring to this store’s awful in-store pickup options. It’s awful, and half the time they won’t even let you ship it to your own store to pick it up, they force you to go way out of your way to get something.  Why can’t I ship it from the other store? Isn’t a part of business to find a buyer for a good. If you can’t sell it at Store A, then why not ship it to Store B to sell the product? Not to mention you get free shipping between stores, so it cost the individual stores nothing to get rid of a product. Your online portion of your business sucks. Please rethink what you do.

Who Dunnit? 

So what is this store I’m talking about? It’s not Walmart if you’re thinking that. Quite frankly Walmart is a fairly good model of customer service. It isn’t great, but it’s better than half of the other stores. Walmart won’t bother asking you a million questions about if you want things you don’t want. They’ll just help you, but as of late, they’ve put those damn DirectTV sales reps in the electronics to annoy the crap out of me. Which leads me back to my main complaint, the store in question is Best Buy. The same store where those annoying DirectTV in-store sales reps started to become popular.

Best Buy is my go-to electronic store, it has been for a long time. I’ve bought my TV and computer from their, and I buy most of my video games there. It’s usually because they have the better deals, and are a little better about matching deals. But lately, I’d rather spend more money just to go somewhere that I feel like I matter. I know business is all about making the bottom line and increasing revenue. But you can’t do either if you’re unable to satisfy your more regular shoppers.

I recently was in the process of purchasing The Muppets on Blu-Ray when I noticed they had extra Steelbook cases sitting on the shelf. The steelbook collectors case were a preorder promotion. You put $7.50 down, get the fancy case and when the movie comes out they deduct $7.50 from your total. So, I figured I’d grab it, what’s the worse that could happen they tell me I can’t have it? Yeah, that wouldn’t have been as bad as what they wanted me to do. They wanted me to buy it. Yeah, buy it outright as an additional purchase to the movie. So the now $19.99 Blu-Ray plus the case was $30 after taxes. When you force me to buy a preorder promo after release of a movie just because you want to make extra money you’re on crack. I refused to buy it, and I walked out of the store without it. I’d rather have been told it wasn’t available and that it was misplaced on the shelf than be forced to purchase it if I wanted it. It was a preorder special for Christ sake. You don’t make any money off of the thing in the first place. It was a promotional product. Talk about a greed driven move. Mind you those cases have been on the shelf since March, the 6 that have been there since the movie release are still there today. I know this because I’ve counted them every time I go in there. Not because I’m weird, but to prove a point. No one in the right mind will buy your promotional case. So suck on that Best Buy.

My Suggestions

It’s time for customers to be appreciated again. I remember in years past major stores doing customer appreciation sales. I don’t hear that term thrown around much. It’s always Back-to-School Sales, or Black Friday, or some other holiday or seasonal sale. Isn’t it time to throw one in there to tell the customers thanks? If I were Best Buy I’d worry about streamlining their stores. Combine their online and brick and mortar stores. There’s too many inconsistencies and issues between the two stores. I understand you separated them in case your brick and mortar sales bankrupt you. Then you’ll still have the online to fall back on. You don’t want to turn into Circuit City right? Then why did you buy all of their assets? Yeah, that’s true. Even Best Buy’s Credit Card is a product of Circuit City. The Circuit City Credit Card turned into Best Buy’s.

Secondly, stop trying to make every penny you possibly can. If you can take care of customers, you’ll make everything you need. Stop buying into this ridiculous promotions to bring new customers in. You don’t need exclusive cases or DLC for games either. Just stop. Stop trying to compete with Gamestop. Stop trying to outdo Walmart and just do you. You aren’t a game store, nor are you a department or superstore. You’re an electronics store. I shouldn’t see checkout lanes that you don’t use full of candy and beverages. That’s just a waste of money. Redesign your stores too. They are boring, they aren’t catchy and the important stuff is too far away. Every Best Buy I’ve ever been in is similar. The appliances like Washers, Dryers, and such are at the front somewhere. Then they have TV’s near the back or off to the side. Movies are smack dab in the middle as are CD’s. Games are off on the side or in the corner.

Start by dwindling down your in store products. Put most of it online and allow the consumer to order what they want. More people shop online now. And for people Like me it’s a 30 minute drive to go to the store. This will allow you to downsize the stores, eliminating expenses and shipping cost to the stores. You don’t need 500+ movies in store. You won’t sale them, they’ll sit there forever. Put them online and make it so that I can look for what I want and ship it to any store I desire.  Move your used games section away from the New Games Section. Make your TV section smaller. Most people don’t buy a lot of TV’s. You know they buy Cellphones, PC’s and tablets, and Games. Those sell a lot. Those are your biggest products. Make them your highlights.

Also start placing dedicated staff in each section. Stop making TV’s and gaming share staff, and stop leaving your staff so small that the customers outnumber staff 10-1 at times. You won’t make sells if customers can’t find what they want. This also goes with my downsize and shrink store sizes. I tend to buy more from stores that carry less product. Why? Because what I want is easier to find. I don’t need an employee to find it for me, I can see it plain as day. I also spend less time digging and more time looking at other buys.

Departmentalize better. Your stores are crowded, the traffic flow is awful and it’s easy to get disoriented. Make signage that better labels store areas.  Designate employees by areas as well. Don’t hire people for the whole store, people want to work at Best Buy for a general reason. Give them the chance to do what they are good at. I was stuck with a girl once who didn’t wan’t to learn anything about the area she was in, but that’s where they put her. She was awful, and didn’t help anyone. If you put employees in things they enjoy they’ll be better at what they do and your customers will be much more satisfied.

Lastly streamline your website. Put the major categories on the top bar. Let me choose Movies, Music, Games, or Accessories. Don’t make me choose drop down menus to get where I want. Combine your in-store supply with your .com store. Let me ship between stores, because if I’m a buyer of a product you can’t sell somewhere else, then give it to me. If it’s about making money you’re doing it wrong. If it’s just to be lazy, you’re doing wonderful. I hear that you are streamlining your site, or at least overhauling it come holiday season, but your old site was better than your current site so where you’re going doesn’t look good.

Also, every person involved with the company needs to be familiar with the Forbes.com article that led me to begin noticing more issues at Best Buy. They were spot on. The store is massively beginning to fail, and if you don’t start doing better at your customer service, you won’t have anything left. You’ll be another dinosaur.

And to the other stores out there I didn’t talk about, start worrying about your customers. Do things to please them, don’t worry about the money. If customers are happy they’ll be buying from you, and you can find great success. Also start trying to master one product. Be a specialty store, and master it. If you’re an electronics store, be great at it and don’t try selling food. If you’re a clothing store, don’t sell electronics. If you master your service, your customers will reward you.

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