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Best Buy Doesn’t Understand Social Media Or Customer Service

Posted by on Jun 16, 2011
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Best Buy seems to be at it again. Of all things, they seem to have forgotten a big time rule in business; have a sense of humor and roll with the punches. Some folks never learn.


by Lynn Lin

All of this comes on the heels of a post I read by Adam Singer of The Future Buzz titled Best Buy Meets Streisand Effect. In it, Adam explains how Newegg, a technology products company, did a commercial where they poked fun at Best Buy. Best Buy decided to respond with a cease and desist letter, which was pretty ominous stuff. Newegg responded the way most of us would; they popped the letter up on their site. You can see a copy of at the link I provided above.

In many communities these days Best Buy is almost the only game in town. Here in central New York, unless you want to find a small store or an office supply company, you can only pretty much get everything you might possibly get at Best Buy. In my opinion it’s one of the reasons they’re one of the worst companies in the country when it comes to customer service. I don’t say this lightly. I know a little bit about customer service and often I have stood or sat at Best Buy waiting to buy something only to be ignored.

At least I’m not blaming them for being racist by ignoring me since I know they do the same to pretty much everyone. My friend Pat wrote about them, calling them WorstBuy, which is a pretty neat play on words, and of course I’ve had my own issues with Best Buy, once writing about it in a newsletter. I even briefly mentioned it when I was talking about my purchase of Windows 7; waiting around while being ignored seems to be a common complaint about them.

Anyway, what’s happened is there’s been an online backlash against Best Buy for the strong arm tactics. It’s showing up in many places including The Consumerist, Techno Buffalo, 404 Tech Support, WebProNews, Maximum PC and a host of others. I’m wondering if they’ll end up getting a threatening letter for posting it like I did with Finish Line.

Here’s the thing. It seems that the companies that are ready to quickly threaten or sue over stupid stuff like this are the ones that deserve to be outed the most. Best Buy could really care less about most of us, but if they ever do decide to try, customer service needs to be the first thing they work on. Sure, when you’re buying a $2,000 TV or a $2,800 set of LG washing machines they’ll genuflect quite nicely to try to get the sale. But when it comes to almost anything else, the employees don’t care, management doesn’t care, and obviously the administration doesn’t care.

By the way, I’m not giving any link love to Newegg either since they killed their affiliate program through Commission Junction, a company I didn’t talk about in my rant against some CJ affiliates because if an advertiser expires, they take out everyone and not just me. Nothing personal this time around, but hey, they took money out of my pocket as well. lol

Anyway, in the long run, social media will be Best Buy’s Pandora’s Box because once the masses start rising, there will be a competitor, one that learns from the bottom up how to treat customers. That’s what killed Comp USA, and what will eventually get Best Buy.

Of course, if Best Buy is listening and it needs a customer service trainer
 

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26 Comments »

Ya’ll don’t have an HH Gregg? I can’t say that I’ve had any problems with Best Buy. It’s not like I shop there that often. Truth be told, their service is no worse than anyone else in the A.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

DeAnna, never heard of HH Gregg, so I guess that means we don’t have it. lol And thus I don’t have anything to compare them to anymore. Comp USA was the same way as far as customer service went, and to a major degree you’re right. Heck, I’m trying to think of a large department store where customer service is great and I just can’t think of one. But restaurants, I could name a bunch.

June 16th, 2011 | 7:19 PM

I hope that Mitch, social media and user reviews are the thing that people have to look at. Unfortunately not many people have a habit to search for reviews and read what other people think before they consider to buy.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

True Carl, but if enough people make enough noise online companies do start to change some of their habits, the things consumers don’t like. We see it here often enough.

Carl Reply:

I think that’s why there were discussions on Facebook and Twitter regarding “dislike” button. When I participate in this discussion I thought it is better to ignore something that you don’t like, but I didn’t think about bad customer service and complaints.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

I remember reading about those discussions, and in the end I think it was best to leave the dislike button alone.

June 16th, 2011 | 10:21 PM

Wow, I never had a problem with Best Buy unless it was a busy day were there wasn’t enough staff to help everyone. Then again, I am not in Best Buy often. I only go there for laptops and cameras. That’s very rare since I know how to take care of my stuff.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Deneil, it’s not that I go often, but almost every time I’ve gone customer service has been horrible, even in the computer area where I’ve been ignored for long periods of time when I was ready to buy something. The only time someone really engaged my wife and I was about 4 or 5 years ago when we bought a new vacuum cleaner that ran almost $600; even so, that’s less than the computer I bought.

Deneil Merritt Reply:

Maybe it depends on the location and the people working there. Down here we have options so Best Buy has to be on the top of their game.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

It’s possible. We used to have 3 other companies but Best Buy outlasted them all.

June 17th, 2011 | 3:03 AM

I don’t have a problem with Best Buy because I usually buy things personally. And I already researched things about the gadgets that I am going to buy. I just hope that the Best Buy could be able to resolve these things.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Andy, I went into Best Buy the last time knowing exactly what I wanted to buy and still ended up waiting 10 minutes before someone would take care of me. That just shouldn’t happen.

June 17th, 2011 | 8:36 AM

Been there and was shocked to learn that they really didn’t have much knowledge concerning their alternatives to the I-pad.

And you are right- at least the Best Buy in our area has lousy customer service!

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Carolee, it seems to be bad all over, as we got kind of the same treatment in Rochester as well.

June 17th, 2011 | 9:01 AM

We don’t have a Best Buy anywhere around here – that I’m aware of; maybe in Knoxville, but I try to avoid the huge cities – but while on my Annual NASCAR Pilgrimage, We went along with my twin-brother-by-another-mother as he took is wife to Best Buy. She was going through withdrawal; she LIVES in their movies section. While she shopped the movies, Mike and I found ourselves mesmerized by a huge screen 3D television. My wife came and joined in. While the three of us were standing there drinking in this technological magnificence of this device a salesman walked by and TURNED IT OFF. We complained that we were looking at that, and he just gave us a ‘so-what?” kind of look and kept walking. All I can say is that when we decide to step up to 3D TV (in four or five decades) we WON’T buy it from Best Buy.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Allan, that’s a perfect example. It’s like the workers just don’t care, management doesn’t care, and thus administration obviously could care less as well. I have to admit I haven’t seen 3D TV yet, so now I have to go see what it looks like. lol

June 17th, 2011 | 10:21 AM

Have you tried going to a different Best Buy? I can’t imagine a similar experience at other stores. Think about it, any other chain varies chain to chain. Maybe the boss is a jerk, maybe they get paid less maybe their break room smells. Who knows just give it a shot. Worst case scenario you get mediocre service from people that make $10 per hour, surprise!

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

First, I want to let you know that I altered the name you used because it doesn’t follow my comment policy.

Second, I’ve been to multiple Best Buy stores, and have had similar things happen at most of them. I think it’s the culture, and it starts at the top. Often they’re the only game in town other than Walmart, but they don’t seem to worry much about Walmart across the board.

June 17th, 2011 | 11:55 PM
Patricia:

Hi Mitch

Sounds like a global phenomenum…bad customer service! The sad thing is most of us patronise these big stores cos the little stores can’t compete price-wise.

Then when they disappear we complain!!! It is happening here too. But some of us have decided to not go with the crowd and some small stores are getting patronage and also they give great personal service.

Patricia Perth Australia

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Pat, it’s a shame that customer service is something major companies have cut back on. The same happens with big name stores as well; I had it happen to me at a Bloomingdale’s downstate, and that’s a store that sells $500 sweaters!

June 18th, 2011 | 4:30 AM
Jessica Sieghart:

I actually did a 3 year personal protest of Best Buy, but now Circuit City and Comp USA are gone and they’re the only thing left here, so I don’t have much choice except to go in there now when I absolutely have to. I will not make a major purchase from them, though. I picked out the computer (without as much as a hello from anyone), had to chase down someone to buy the thing and then the salesmen started with an extended warranty. I told him I didn’t want it. He insisted I had to buy it. We went back and forth with this until I called a manager over and told him to ring the computer up without the extended warranty. The manager told the clerk to do it, but then they both started in with surge protectors. I told them I already have Panamax surge protectors which was way better than what they were trying to sell me. Then the salesman started in on some Geek Squad program. He said he wasn’t “comfortable” selling me the computer without it. I said ring it up or I’m walking. He said he had to get the manager again. I told him to forget it and left. They are RIDICULOUS! I only go there now as a last resort. If those other stores hadn’t gone away, I’d never go there.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Jessica, I’m so with you, and your experience has been my experience. Once I stood in my area for 25 minutes just to see what would happen. There was a sales associate about 20 feet from me. I finally asked him if he was going to wait on me and he said he couldn’t because it wasn’t his zone. That was it; no calling anyone else, and he was just standing there doing nothing. And sometimes when you do get to talk to someone they think they’re automatically smarter than you; that will really get my goat and I’ll start using words I know they don’t understand just to get the upper hand. My wife says that’s mean of me, but you know how I always talk about consequences? I don’t ever start mess, but I’ll end it. lol

Allan Douglas Reply:

Sounds like a good excuse to do yuor test driving at Best Buy (you know they won’t bother you) then order the one you like from Amazon, New Egg, Microcenter, or whatever you like best. personally I like Amazon. The few times I’ve ever had a problem, they immediately sent me a replacement, told me to package up the old one in the packaging the new one came in, slap the pre-paid return label on and call for a pick-up. All at no cost to me. Now that’s customer service!

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

You know Allan, I might be close to giving up my reservations about buying big ticket items online. For all the mess that Nothing But Software’s put me through in not paying me, the LCD projector is pretty good with no problems. So I just might do that next time.

June 18th, 2011 | 8:04 AM

Businesses need to have excellent customer service so that they will know the customer’s concern. However, the saddest part is that, there are some representatives do not give importance to their valued customers. Good thing if they provide customer’s feedback so that can get back to them if they are not satisfied with the service

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Raverture, I’m someone who believes Best Buy is going to have to start failing before they realize that they haven’t taken care of the “people” part of business, and by that time it might be too late for them. i mean, it doesn’t take almost any effort to be good at customer service; all you have to do is care just a little bit.

July 9th, 2011 | 1:59 AM