Best Buy To Employees: Survive The Meltdown By Making Customer Service A Priority

Today Best Buy announced that it was officially freaking out about the current financial meltdown: “In 42 years of retailing, we’ve never seen such difficult times for the consumer,” Brian Dunn, president and chief operating officer of Best Buy, said in a statement. “People are making dramatic changes in how much they spend, and we’re not immune from those forces.” A Best Buy employee forwarded us an email that went out to all associates this morning — stressing that a renewed commitment to customer service was the way forward during these troubled times.

Best Buy says:

A Message from Brad Anderson, Brian Dunn and Bob Willett
To all employees:

This morning, we announced that we’ve seen a sudden change in consumer spending, in our comparable store sales, and in our expectations for this year’s earnings. We’d like to provide more context around these changes and their impact on our business.

The year started off well, with total company comparable store sales (sales at stores open more than 14 months) growing 4 percent for the first half of our fiscal year, a period that runs March through August. Our results were fairly consistent until September, when our comparable store sales turned negative, declining by 1 percent. Then our comparable store sales softened further in October, declining by nearly 8 percent, amid unprecedented changes in the financial markets, a deteriorating economy and weakening consumer sentiment. From where we stand today, we could see total company comparable store sales for the rest of the fiscal year decline by 5 percent to 15 percent.

Revenue gains are important to our business model because the majority of our costs ? such as rent and store operating costs ? are fixed. Typically, when comparable store sales increase by 3 percent or better, revenue growth outstrips expense growth (including merit increases, rising health care costs and the like), and our earnings rise. Currently, due to comparable store sales declines as well as spending increases, we have expenses rising faster than revenue. That’s why we’re now anticipating an earnings decrease for the year.

Specifically, today we also announced a new range for our earnings expectations: $2.30 to $2.90 per diluted share. The midpoint of our range is a 17-percent earnings decline compared with the $3.12 per share we earned last fiscal year.

Let us be very clear. These reduced earnings expectations reflect the unprecedented tumult in the financial services industry, which has reduced consumer spending across the board in retail. The outstanding work of our 165,000 employees doesn’t make us immune to our environment. We can’t change the overall level of consumer spending, but we can focus on deepening our relationships with customers wherever we interact with them: in our stores, on our Web sites and through our call centers.

While our comps have been negative, we gained market share in September and October. So we’re getting a bigger piece of a business that is currently shrinking. Customer satisfaction remains at all-time highs. Employee turnover is at historic lows. We firmly believe that our strategy of customer centricity is of great value in driving our performance versus the industry, and that’s the strategy we plan to pursue to continue to strengthen our position in the marketplace.

We must find ways to win with the customers who are coming to us today. Serving our customers better than anyone else is the best way to create value for customers, employees and shareholders alike. We need every employee engaged in serving customers better, and more efficiently. We want your unique perspective on what we should do differently in this market, based on what you see and touch, and using the talents you have.

We could let today’s turmoil distract us from serving customers. Other retailers might do that. But we will not. Instead, we will use these circumstances to redouble our efforts and deepen our commitment to each other, to our company, to our strategy and to the customers we serve. In so doing, we will strengthen and fortify ourselves as a team. A winning team. That’s who we are, and that’s Best Buy.

Brad Anderson, vice chairman and chief executive officer
Brian Dunn, president and chief operating officer
Bob Willett, chief executive officer of International and chief information officer

Comments

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  1. Tyr_Anasazi says:

    Translated–sell those extended warranties!

  2. SkokieGuy says:

    Translated – no Christmas bonuses

    Tranlated – let’s all try to suck less

    Tranlated – Don’t even think about a raise

  3. SkokieGuy says:

    Tranlated = Translated, but in these tough economic times, we must cut letters where we can.

  4. BoomerFive says:

    Wow, that is the most lovingly crafted pile of dogshit I have ever read. Well done!

  5. Geekybiker says:

    work harder for less money or face getting cut!

  6. gatewaytoheaven says:

    So it’s going to take an act of God or an economic catastrophe for Best Buy to provide good ol’ customer service to customers.

    Nice.

  7. tmed says:

    I am not amongst the consumerist haters of Best Buy, but I have never met a floor worker there who presents him or herself as a person who could understand that email.

    • NYYSI says:

      @tmed:

      couldn’t have said it better myself!

    • rubberpants says:

      @tmed: I’m an college graduate and I couldn’t understand that email.

    • Lcstyle says:

      @tmed:
      Agreed….

      @rubberpants: it says a lot about your college if your a graduate and couldn’t understand that Email.

      By the way, its “I’m a college graduate” (not an).

      sheesh…..

    • xamarshahx says:

      @tmed: i used to work there, and this is so true for most of the people who work there.

    • Con Seannery says:

      @tmed: I have no deep hatreds for Best Buy, either, other than Geek Squad, but you are correct, many of the employees will think something along the lines of What does fiscal mean?

      • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

        @Con Seannery: Fiscal was a popular tune by Olivia (Fig) Newton-John back in 1981.
        Although most of your BB employees were probably not even born yet.

    • Anonymous says:

      @undefined: I tried to go in 2 weeks ago to buy both a gas stove and a fridge. I walked up to the closest service rep in appliances, and said “I have $1200 to spend. I want to give you money.” He promptly gave me 2 choices, neither of which would be in stock for at least 2 more weeks.

      I went to Lowes, said the same thing. The sales rep there said “How about you give me $1000 instead. I’ll have everything delivered to you for tomorrow AM”. Done deal.

      I don’t know if it was the inventory problem, the sales rep who didn’t care, or the fact I saved a couple hundred bucks at Lowes and didn’t have to dispose of the old appliances, but I don’t think I’ll venture into BB too soon for much of anything again.

    • nursetim says:

      @tmed:
      It’s like someone used a random business platitude generator to create that email.

  8. gopher646 says:

    I work part-time at a regional chain here in NYC and we had a staff meeting last week — they told us the same thing.

    The economy sucks. If things keep up at this rate we can’t survive. We need to emphasize excellent customer service to set ourselves apart. Blah blah blah.

    Retail is tanking. Big time. Luckily, I work at that store only on the weekends to pay off student loan debt — I feel sorry for my co-workers who don’t have the luxury of a 2nd job to fall back on.

    • pgh9fan says:

      @gopher646: Interesting how many companies are saying that they need great customer service to survive in these tough times. I would think they’d want great customer service all the time.

  9. Snarkysnake says:

    Memo sent , problem solved…

    Look,”Mister ” ” Anderson”, There is no shortcut to great customer service , and your little memo is not going to rally the troops if this is just another “taking it seriously ” exercise in corporate bullshit. Talk is cheap. Are YOU taking care of the employees ? Are they in for a piece of the action ? Or does credit flow up and blame flow down in your company. Do you even visit your stores ? I don’t mean some pre arranged ,ass kissers on duty , store is cleaner than ever walk through. I mean do you get in your car and go to your stores unannounced ?

    Better yet , do you ever interact with real customers ? I don’t mean a bunch of pre screened dimwits that will tell you what the marketing director wants you to hear. Real feedback,unfiltered. Do you read blogs like this one ? If you do,and you pay attention,you can learn some important things about the customer experience.Some people are just whining idiots,sure. But there is some real knowledge to be gained here (and other online forums).

    Finally,Stop worrying about the fucking stock price. Keep your eye on the business,not Wall Street. This gives the employees the impression that you don’t give a flying shit about anything but your outsize bonus.

  10. cotr says:

    i tried to get them to price match to Amazon and they said that amazon sells crap thats refurbished without warranty. so i showed him the printout that said its new, sold by amazon directly, and that its free shipping.

    he said its all a lie.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @cotr: I think the lesson here is denial, denial, denial. And that lying only proves idiocy.

    • FDCPAGuy says:

      @cotr:
      The associate should have just explained that they do not match online vendors nor non-local competitors. They spell it out right here: [www.bestbuy.com]

      Also you do realize this is the way most retail operations have their price match set up. You cannot expect them to match a price from a non-brick and mortar store.

    • JMB says:

      @cotr: Wait, why are you trying to get them to price match? Just order the damn thing from Amazon.

      @FDCPAGuy: Absolutely. Totally different cost structures, in terms of employees and buildings and stuff like that.

      • WhiteTrashLegend says:

        @JMB: Exactly. Just order from Amazon and not only get free shipping, but no sales tax (unless you live in NY).

      • theblackdog says:

        @JMB: Perhaps it’s because the commenter wants to get it now rather than wait 10 days with Amazon’s super saver shipping.

    • Anonymous says:

      @cotr: I work part time at best buy and whenever someone asks me about an online price match, I’ll do it w/o an ad as long as it isn’t like 50% off. You’re “customer service specialist” I think was just being a douche.

  11. nycaviation says:

    He should have closed with:

    “On the bright side, our only remaining brick and mortar competition is…Walmart. LOL!”

    • BrianDaBrain says:

      @nycaviation: Well, technically CC is still in business, but that’s only as a technicality. There are 3 CC locations in my city, one of which is closing. I browsed their liquidation sale for a few minutes, looking for deals, but as Consumerist posted earlier, there were none to be found. Anyway, the other two, which are remaining open, don’t have full stock. Hard to make money selling products you don’t have.

      • Jordan Lund says:

        @BrianDaBrain:

        Agreed. I went to my local CC figuring to throw them a bone in tough economic times.

        Hellboy II – new release DVD/Blu-Ray – Not in stock.

        Gears of War II – new release Xbox 360 game, sold 2.1 million copies on Friday, not in stock.

        Dead Space DVD – in stock.

        So I spent $20 when I could have spent $110. DOH!

    • RanChan03 says:

      @nycaviation: I will still shop at fry’s. It’s soo much better than BB

  12. MrsLopsided says:

    To be fair my local Best Buys have always been better than Circuit City in customer service… with a greeter at the front door, more (but still not enough) staff on the floor, manned cash registers that don’t require me to seek out a cashier, and managers that break up any smurf huddles.

  13. Saboth says:

    “Other companies might get away with merely snubbing or ignoring customers. NOT US. Let us continue to royally screw customers in the manner that has made us the Gold Standard for providing poor service. Let us double, nay, TRIPLE our customer screwination. These are sad times, but we must not lose what has made Best Buy the top mediocre electronics retailer that it is today…high prices, poor support, astronomically overpriced services and warranties. Follow these principals my friends, and we WILL come out on top (and by we, I mean the executives and upper management, not you guys). Carry on.”

  14. shepd says:

    Demon customers. Need I say more?

  15. AbsoluteIrrelevance says:

    Customer service? Is that a joke? Sorry guys, you’re going to have to try a lot harder for my money than that. Since Best Buy often isn’t the best price, customer service and product expertise is supposed to make up for where you lack, and you guys have neither.

    So why am I still going into your store? 1. I’m bored. 2. To see a TV in person that I will later buy online 3. To occasionally buy video games and components that are the same price everywhere. And I feel dirty for all the above reasons.

  16. rubberpants says:

    He forgot to call for increased frisking of customers before they leave the store. That always makes me feel valued.

  17. Acolyte says:

    It’s amazing how someone can say so little in soooooooooo many words!

  18. kathyl says:

    How sad that customer service only becomes a “priority” when the company’s expenses are outstripping earnings.

    To borrow from SkokieGuy’s effective wording:

    Translation: While everyone’s broke, we’ll pretend we care about them while trying to push the extended warranty and telling them that products have features they don’t really have. When people are flush again, we’ll go back to just bullying them instead.

    • Treefingers says:

      @kathyl: “How sad that customer service only becomes a “priority” when the company’s expenses are outstripping earnings.”

      Because only now have people stopped buying stuff they dont need… they need to push you back into buying stuff you dont need

  19. Outrun1986 says:

    Sounds like the devil customers are getting the best of best buy!

    Meanwhile that means as a best buy employee you should try 100x as hard for the upsell and tell even more lies about what the extended warranty covers all while trying to sell an overpriced monster cable to anyone buying anything.

    Also, I didn’t understand a thing that letter said, it all sounded like corporate spouting to me!

    • Acolyte says:

      @Outrun1986:
      If there is something in this world I hate, it’s an upsell! Whenever someone does it, it makes my blood boil!

    • rtipping says:

      @Outrun1986: Try this out “young man before I retired i used to teach guys just like your self the importance of the up sell know I knew it was bullshit when i was teaching it and you know its bullshit when your selling it so why don’t we keep our shoes clean and bid each other good day.”

  20. rubberpants says:

    These are hard times. But, I assure you that my golden parachute is ready and waiting. So when the company tanks and you’re all standing in a bread line, I’ll still be using caviar as shampoo.

  21. rubberpants says:

    Why won’t the government pass a bailout to help the executives of troubled retailers too? I mean, could our economy really survive without Best Buy?

  22. rubberpants says:

    “Customer satisfaction remains at all-time highs.”

    Yes, it’s holding steady at the highs of “moderately disgruntled” and “somewhat peeved.”

  23. Anonymous says:

    I think BB has great customer service. I just returned a defective Xbox360 that I bought last year. I’m so glad I bought their Product replacement plan, instead of waiting several weeks for Microsoft to mail me another used system. I got a new system the same day and they even pro-rated my PRP so I got half of its price back (without even expecting it). I’M A VERY HAPPY CUSTOMER!!!!! There a reason why BB is surviving this economic crysis, and CC is going bankrupt.
    RE: AbsoluteIrrelevance, You should feel dirty you leech, I’d love to see the diry, wet stinking warehouse where you online tv purchase is coming from. Hope you don’t have a problem cuz I’m sure customer service will be beyond poor, if it’s even in English!!!

    • Shaggy says:

      @KirbyAlcyone: Ding ding ding! And we’ve now found the BB plant in this thread. Thanks for playing!

    • adven2rous says:

      @KirbyAlcyone: I always buy from places like newegg and tigerdirect. I have NEVER had a problem with customer service and the prices are significantly lower than BB. Oh, and BTW, next time you corporate a$$e$ try to plant a comment in a thread, do a better job of disguising it.

  24. motojen says:

    I set foot in a Best Buy for the first time in years this Sunday because my friend wanted to look at desktops. Despite the horror stories I read here I was intrigued by a video camera and actually considered purchasing it. Most of that 8 paragraphs is worthless IMO but if by “redouble our efforts” the 3 B’s (Brad Brian and Bob) mean 9 different employees asking if you’re finding everything okay in less than 5 minutes, then they’re doing a bang up job. I spent so much time saying “Yes,thank you” that I couldn’t even finish reading the little spec sheet. When all was said and done we both left empty handed which is probably a good thing.

  25. chrisjames says:

    Yeah, Best Buy customer service is pretty top notch. Though, top notch is considered enthusiastic young men feigning humorous British accents to drum up familiarity at my local Best Buy. I don’t need a repeat of that, or any of the half dozen encounters per visit where they are falling over each other to help me–or presumably tell me what I really want to buy.

    For God’s sake, everyone can tell what your employees look like. Since they’re already swarming all over the stores, why not just order them to stand ready at the ends of every aisle so we can go to them. Then they can upsell like crazy.

    Want to get more business Best Buy? Offer some goddamn special prices on your DVDs, like Walmart does. That MSRP thing is a big turn-off nowadays.

  26. snowburnt says:

    I’ve been in best buy a few time in the past month and I’ve noticed that the staffers are a lot chattier than normal with me. It’s somewhat informed chatter, also pretty asinine chatter, but chatter nonetheless. They also guided me to ways where I could save money, like coupons at the front, pointing out sales, and recommending me away from higher priced items (I didn’t really need the advice, but it shows that they’ve been trained to help out the customers more.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Rediculous. I ordered an item for pick up at a Best Buy last weekend. What a joke that process was. The clerk couldn’t locate the item where it was supposed to have been set aside. Then she went on the Best Buy website to see what it should look like and couldn’t find it. Then, she finally wrangled another employee to go get one off the shelf. She was surly the entire time during the transation. I was probably in the store 30 minutes. I would have been better off not setting it up for in store pick up. Had I just walked in, picked it up off the shelf and paid for it I would have been out of there in 5 minutes. I was gratified that Best Buy sent me a survey afterwards to rate my experience. You can bet I didn’t give it very high marks. Maybe they’ll actually read the survey results and talk to the store manager and employees, though I have no illusion that that fantasy will come true.

  28. CaptainConsumer says:

    Translated: You saw what happened to your slacker friends at Circuit City didn’t you? Well………

  29. lightaugust says:

    Hmmm… short on specifics. But I guess I’ll go devil’s advocate and say, what if they FINALLY get it and Mr. Anderson understands that that’s the reason everyone on consumerist hates BB, and the reason that Circuit City is now worth less than say, a pencil? I mean, is there any room for redemption here, or is bb just too far beyond help… (I’ve stopped shopping there about three years ago, on principal, so I’m no friend of bb, by the way).

  30. acasto says:

    I have to admit, my wife and I just recent purchased a ton of crap from BestBuy, including a Wii, LCD television, dvd player, speakers, and an Asus EEE PC…. and I have to admit our experience at both of our local BestBuy stores was quite nice. They mentioned the extended warranties but didn’t press the issue at all. I even had to return two items and neither store questioned anything. I was pleasantly surprised.

  31. milty45654 says:

    HAHHAHAHAHA..Best Buy concentrating on customer service ROFL….OMFG…how do you do that when you build ripping off the customer into your business model.

    Here’s a great idea Best Buy…concentrating on educating the customer to make the choices they want and not selling them crap they don’t need….

    I for one have a permanent ban on Best Buy..with all of the stories on this site, I refuse to give them my money.

    If you concentrate on educating the customer and not selling them crap they don’t need you will get return sales for everything else you sell….creating growth and sales….it’s not rocket science…be good to your customers…they come back….rip them off….they go elsewhere.

  32. axiomatic says:

    Please everyone, don’t get sucked in to those extended warranties this x-mas. They are junk.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @axiomatic: My friend actually got a benefit from one because she was told in 2 years she could drive over her laptop and come get a new one.

  33. rbb says:

    Whatever will we do without Best Buy? Where else can we go to see a product before buying it for less at newegg.com?

  34. wellfleet says:

    Wow. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t.
    For a company than employs more than 100,000 people, I have never felt more taken care of. Yes, they could have eliminated our manager bonus last quarter, they didn’t. They could have eliminated yearly profit sharing with line-level employees, they didn’t. They could have cut their charitable donations, they didn’t. They came up 5th on Forbes’ most generous companies. I find it amazing that people here can make blanket statements about 160,000 employees when most posters haven’t set foot inside a Best Buy in years, if ever.
    Employees who are not dedicated to customer service last as long as it takes me to write them up three times and send them for termination.
    It may shock some of you, but the majority of people do NOT like to shop online. Even from reputable sites. Go deeper into the countryside, and people don’t even have the inter-tubes… Crazy, I know…
    My store, a med size store in a smallish town, sees 1000 customers per day. We have 1000 stores. How many customers is that per day? Per year? Even if the CS printed 500 stories about Best Buy, that is still a tiny fraction of repeat, happy customers.
    Put it this way, you have a better chance of getting into a car accident on the way to Best Buy than to have a bad experience once you’re there.
    Not denying that bad things don’t happen, they do and we do our best to learn from them.
    Sheesh.

    • lightaugust says:

      @wellfleet: All well and good, but it’s all for naught if your reputation is crap… and while you’re doing well, there’s some things BB does that are disingenuous at best. The extended warranty thing is crap and you know it, and that’s dishonorable. The upselling crappy extensions and cables as necessary components to unknowing customers is dishonest, and you know that too. In consumer world it takes one dishonest act to erase a whole lot of good. So you’re not damned if you do, damned if you don’t. You’re damned if you continue with knowingly dishonest shit, and yes, that will eventually catch up with you, no matter how well you’re doing now… look at all the companies that are paying the price for not honestly taking care of customers- Circuit City, car dealerships, banks.

      I’ve stopped shopping with you because of that upselling pressure, which bugs the hell out of me, and which is pretty much a pattern with Best Buy posts, and I can guarantee you I’ve spent a lot more on electronics elsewhere since than I would have on the stupid extended warranty I didn’t buy.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @wellfleet: Well yeah, its pretty common knowledge that there’s probably 10x as many satisfied customers for every mouthy dis-satisfied one.

    • pgh9fan says:

      @wellfleet: Best Buy does all those things, but one thing Best Buy doesn’t do is customer service. At all. Have a problem? Sure, call the 1800 number because getting local help is out of the question. You can’t get the district manager’s name or contact information. And when you call the 1800 number you get drones who listen for keywords but they don’t listen to what you’re actually saying.
      I don’t understand why the e-mail says to stress customer service during these down economic times. Should Best Buy have been doing that all along? Are they admitting that they are terrible at it?

    • FinanceGuru says:

      @wellfleet: Are you kidding me? I have a shoddy customer service experience almost every time I go into Best Buy.

      Sheesh.

  35. Murph1908 says:

    I fell asleep somewhere inside the second paragraph of the email.

  36. digitalgimpus says:

    Employee turnover is at historic lows.

    Translation: Most employees are having a hard time finding new jobs, so they are stuck with us. Ha ha ha ha ha.

  37. SpdRacer says:

    From the e-mail:”Employee turnover is at historic lows.” That is because the job market is so shitty that people can’t quit shittier jobs like BB to try and find a better one.

  38. FlashbackX01 says:

    Whatever happened to Best Buy saying they need to fire some of their customers so that they can go after the Jills and Barrys? It seemed that the tables have turned.

  39. XianZhuXuande says:

    *Laughs* Some folks here have become so negative about companies like Best Buy that they actually become blind to the things they do correctly. Best Buy places great emphasis on customer service and what they write in a letter like this is sincere–if you want to win your customers over you need to make them happy.

    Note that Best Buy has not been firing massive chunks of its staff, cutting wages, and creating a customer hostile environment in an effort to cling to falling revenues.

    Monster cables suck and so does the habit of buying a warranty on everything (though you’re foolish if you think they don’t have a place–they do), and the big box electronic buying experience is not the best for an internet savvy person, but don’t become so blind that you fail to recognize a good thing when it occasionally appears.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      @XianZhuXuande: Unfortunately some people actually DO want the extended warranty, and go into the store with that in mind, that they will buy a warranty on anything they purchase. Over the weekend I witnessed a few people asking specifically to buy a warranty at a store on a certain product that already comes with a 1 year warranty, yet they wanted the store warranty on it as well. If a customer wants a warranty, there is nothing wrong with the peon selling them one because if they tried to not sell them one then it might make the customer mad and after all they do want happy customers. This is customer stupidity or ignorance, and not any fault of the employee, if the customer wants to buy a warranty on a product you have to let them.

      So yes they are doing their job when a customer wants a warranty, the problem comes in when a savvy shopper tells them clearly that they do not want a warranty and yet they continue to hound the customer.

      The savvy consumer knows that most products do not need a warranty and to read the box to see what type of warranty is already included from the manufacturer of the product but some people still want to buy the warranty anyways.

  40. bpclay says:

    It would be nice if all retailers (not just best buy) would just consider excellent customer service a part of doing business. If most retailers practiced this idea, then they would have loyal customers that would frequent their stores when they have disposable income (in good times and in bad).

    I for one haven’t had a bad experience at best buy, I can’t say I have ever had an outstanding experience either. I have learned that I need to do my research before I go in, and then spend hands on time with the models I am considering purchasing. If they want to give me hassle about a price match, I’ll order on-line if it’s a big difference (if it’s less than $20, i’ll usually just get it, because I the shipping, waiting, etc seems to balance out the cost).

    If best buy gave me an outstanding CS experience I have had with other retailers, I’d gladly pay a slight premium to shop there…I have many local retailers I will frequent over the big boys just because they make me feel like they value my business and will do what it takes to help me and make me feel satisfied. That Best Buy, is what keeps me coming back to those retailers (price premium or not).

  41. gravion17 says:

    Let’s try this again….Dear Mr. Anderson,

    We, the consumers are not as stupid as you think! We know that the only way that you make money is from those fraudulent PSPs’ that you push your little minions to sell! It’s simply isn’t going to happen…if and when we decide that we are going to spend money in your store, we are going to wait till you are scratching your eyes out and cursing your existence so that we can get the best prices possible! in the mean time, we’ll just keep shopping on the NET, and if we HAVE to get some thing from a brick and mortar store….we’ll just go to WAL-MART!!!

    • Outrun1986 says:

      @gravion17: In this case I would prefer to go to walmart over best buy, but overall I prefer buying online if at all possible. At least with walmart I don’t get hassled about warranties or buying magazines at the register, its get your item, go to the register and get out, simple and easy.

    • Anonymous says:

      @gravion17: @gravion17:

      Walmart? Are you serious? Ever got ANY kind of “service” at a Wally? “Get in and get out”?? At a Walmart? Even if you try to skip the slack jawed, mono-tooth hag cashier with the dirty fingernails (or alternately the gum snapping, clueless,Jerry Springer watching, high school drop out cashier) and use one of the self serve checkouts, you still have to wait behind some cave dwelling, slimy creature that just crawled out from under a rock who doesn’t know how to use one of those “scan thingeys” to ring up their Banquet TV dinners and foot fungus creme.

      Give me a break, Walmart stands for everything that is pure evil in customer service, as well as treating employees like scum. Even their IQ impaired employees deserve better. Comparing customer service at a Walmart to ANY other store is a laugh. I gladly pay a little more, and sometimes less, at all of Walmart’s competitors just so I don’t support their evil empire. SHEESH!

  42. Anonymous says:

    I firmly agree with AbsoluteIrrelevance, Best Buy is such a joke. Their prices are high and service poor. Frankly, I never buy any item of $30 there. When I want to buy a big ticket item, Amazon all the way – but I go to Best Buy to view it. When I tell the reps that their prices are several hundred dollars over Amazon AND I have to pay tax, they have no answer or any bargain.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Nice of them to start being concerned about customer service now that their sales are in the tank. In early September my husband and I went to Best Buy to buy 2 brand new laptops, among other things, and had such bad service at two different stores that we went across the street and spent $2000 at Circuit City, much more than we had anticipated on spending in the first place. We sent Best Buy a letter, along with our receipts showing the sale to Circuit City, and we received a nice form letter that didn’t even really apply to our situation. We will NEVER shop at Best Buy again. Granted there isn’t much competition left in the way of actual stores, but I guess they forget that people have the option of buying online.

  44. springboks says:

    14 – Number of drafts for the above communication
    $12.75 – Hourly pay for the Intern who wrote the actual message

  45. MrsLopsided says:

    Customer service has to be top down with management leading by example and providing incentives to be customer focused. I worked at a couple of retailers (years ago) where employees were paid to stock the shelves. If they didn’t finish they were in trouble. There was no incentive to interrupt “work” & help customers. Employees would actually hide from customers so they could finish their tasks on time.

  46. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Let me be very clear…
    Hopefully this ‘memo’ will be leaked to the intertubes, and posted on sites like Consumerist so that the sucker…er…consumers will buy into the bullshit and give us another chance to ‘service’ them.

    Maybe we’ll get really lucky and it will end up on Faux News.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Customer Satisfaction at all-time heigh????

    How does swearing off ever going to another Best Buy again to avoid being screwed or manipulated count into that statistic?

    Perhaps poll people outside of the checkout stand that are obviously current customers. See how many people were, but are no longer?

  48. Anonymous says:

    It’s funny all of bashing that BB takes. As someone who was a repeat customer that spent quite a bit of money there on new releases (both videogames and movies), due to the staff
    at one of the local stores being very pleasant. This, in turn, was what then found me to [suffering] though the holidays part time last year.

    And although my primary motivation was the employee discount (which helped me net sony XBR’s last year), I’m back again this year simply due to the fact that the people there (management
    included) were all sincere and friendly (unlike many other retail chains).

  49. Angryrider says:

    Best Buy’s existed for 42 years, and NOW they want to improve their customer service?

  50. Zombini says:

    This mirrors the kind of stuff that’s going on at the company I worked for. The problem is, as an employee there’s not really an incentive to provide good customer service. If the customer leaves happy, but buying only a single product, the employee gets complained at. But if the employee pushes the customer into getting the product plus loads of other items, including the extended warranty, they get a pat on the back.

    Even if the customer feels they have been sold a load of stuff they didn’t necessarily need, and ends up not shopping there again, that doesn’t negatively impact the salesperson. On the one hand you’ve got the company saying how important customer service is, and the other hand you’ve got employees being reprimanded for not selling enough. You can’t have both.

  51. Xero says:

    Can someone PLEASE disemvowel that entire letter? Stop cluttering our internets with posts like that Brian Dunn!!!

  52. Jordan Lund says:

    I’ve sworn off Best Buy for this Christmas due to bad experiences shopping for games.

    A couple weeks ago I went in to buy Fable II… it’s a hot new release, it’s out, Best Buy’s website shows it in stock in my local store… so I head over at lunch to buy it.

    The clerks show it in stock in their system but nobody can find the game.

    I waited for a half an hour (1/2 of my lunch) and eventually they turned it up. So I bought it, all was right with the world.

    The next week, two more big releases, Little Big Planet for the PS3 and Fallout 3 (multi).

    Again, same store, same problem. This time I walked, went to a local shop after work and they were more than happy to take my $130. I considered buying the new Guitar Hero game as well which would have put me at $190.

    I sent Best Buy an e-mail outlining this, I had had problems with them before (trying to buy a game that was locked in a case and nobody could find the key.) They were kind enough to offer a $30 gift certificate for my trouble but I told them to keep it. I already bought the games I wanted.

    But the problem seems to be they are so worried about people stealing games they’re making it impossible for people to actually BUY games.

    • Anonymous says:

      Go to Target. they have all the games, with none of the attitude.
      best return and exchange policies in the industry.
      the ole’ bull’s eye isnt perfect, but i know they try; and often succeed. BB is going down following CC. Anyone remember Media Play.. now that was an awesome store.

  53. bohemian says:

    Best Buy customer service. Now THERE is an oxymoron.

    I hope BB goes down in flames, they deserve it.

  54. closed_account says:

    I just removed myself from their list. They kept sending out emails and then going “Just kidding! This was a mistake. Have a great day!”

  55. Anonymous says:

    The very first response I read is hilarous, sell those extended warranties. A big problem facing electronic stores is can they make money selling hardware based equipment?

    Back in the day of the VCR, when a VCR was actually made well, they could make money on the repair. But these companies got greedy and pushed out their best repair people just so they could skim the price on their replacements.

    A tech who was good could repair three machines in an hour and create 200 dollars in billing, but if the tech was making “too much” money, companies preferred to try and dump the repair guy for a cheaper labor person. Who would then work half as efficiently.

    Would you rather pay someone 15 bucks an hour for 200 dollars in billing, or 6 bucks an hour for 60 bucks in billing. These geniuses preferred paying less, making less, and having unhappy customers to boot.

    Now that tape and analog and such is all going away, there is less and less to repair, and the customer will just throw out a cheaply made product and buy another one, and small mark up, then have it repaired.

    http://www.DailyPUMA.com

  56. humphrmi says:

    I give Best Buy credit for this statement:

    In 42 years of retailing, we’ve never seen such difficult times for the consumer,

    At least they recognize that these are hard times for consumers, and that is going to trickle down to them if they don’t do something about it.

    Which is better than GM and Ford saying “Wah! These are such hard times for US! Help us! Bail us out!”

  57. parkcityxj says:

    I was in there last week, a friend who was visiting needed a new computer on the spot as his old one died while he was on road.

    He had a computer in mind he wanted and told the sales guy what he was looking for. The first thing out of the sales guy’s mouth was “you going to get the extended warranty?” We said no, he looked for about two seconds, “nope don’t have it”. He had absolutely no interest in helping out with anything else or making other recommendations. I was so unbelievably pissed off at the lack of service. We actually looked online at their kiosk. and found that they had it at another store down the road.

    The next store was the same story. Told them we weren’t interested in the extended warranty. They looked and couldn’t find the computer even though the site said they had four or five in stock. It got to the point where we actually went looking for it and pushed the ladder around. We actually found one in the cages on top of the shelves.

    Of course checking out was another story. We needed optimization, etc. What a complete pain in the ass! F Best Buy. The simple task of buying a computer took like four hours between going to the two stores and dealing w/the retard staff.

  58. chrispcade says:

    We know we have been sued countless times for cheating you out of breaks and pay and screwing the customer whenever possible!

    So here is what this letter means to yu the best buy employee

    No bonuses of any kind!

    No hours!

    No breaks!

    Sell those extended warranties and 100$ HDMI and USB cords!

    Don’t forget the uneccessary battery backups!

    Enjoy the overpriced anti-virus and upgrades they need!

    Remember customers want to overpay for the value they get!

    Your lucky we don’t just fire you!

    Make profits, we need our summer island getaways and HumV’s need gas too!!

    Your pal,s

    Brad Anderson, Brian Dunn and Bob Willett

  59. Bruce_A says:

    Where was this attitude this summer when Best Buy soaked my wife and me for a $100 “restocking fee” when we returned a laptop with a defective wireless card? The tech booted it, SAID he could connect to the store’s wireless just fine, and told us there was nothing wrong with it, and naturally the clerk believed his five second experience over our two weeks of laptop hell.

    We will *NEVER* buy anything from those shysters again. Crash and burn, “Best” Buy. Crash and burn.

  60. Marshfield says:

    I don’t hate Best Buy. I’m just not shopping there because 1) they have nothing I want and 2)I have no money to buy fancy tv sets anyway.

    Sorry Best Buy — the best buy’s in the world and the greatest service in the universe aren’t going to get my business this year.

  61. adven2rous says:

    In poor economic times people are looking for the lowest price. BB suites are trying to establish value in lieu of lowering prices. I could give a rat’s ass about customer service right now, that’s a luxury. I will go where it is cheapest. That’s why I haven’t bought anything at BB for over 5 years except when I get a gift card. BB either needs to compete with online stores or get ready for some serious downsizing.

    And don’t even get me started on the Geek Squad. The ONLY reason they are in business if because the average consumer doesn’t know independent repair shops like mine exist.

  62. Anonymous says:

    Being from Canada, I’m just so very glad to have a company up here that knows truly what great customer service is all about. They’ve been doing it right for well over 60 years now too. It certainly didn’t take a catastrophe to wake them as they’ve been doing it right all along. After dealing with Best Buy up here the one time I faltered, I’ll never shop anywhere else than London Drugs.

  63. parnote says:

    Quote: Customer satisfaction remains at all-time highs.

    YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING! Do these guys read Consumerist? A Best Buy horror story is featured weekly, if not more often!!!

  64. rtipping says:

    The bottom line is no one is going to give a toss about some wanker telling him to work harder so he can keep his Vegas action 4 times a year.
    w.i.f.m.tell the guys what there piece is?if there is no piece then shut up they can work anywhere and be intimidated by dismissal.

  65. emanresuym says:

    Your all amazing… You all sit here and talk so much S**T about Best Buy, but I bet most of you were on the front steps this morning buying the newest expansion of World of Warcraft…Giving them your money. Yes, that statement today doesn’t make anyone feel good, but life it tough and the economy is in the dumps. If i worked there I would just be glad the statement didn’t say that “were cutting your position”.

  66. narayan1121 says:

    I would have thought everyone hear would have rejoiced at a Best Buy customer service call to arms. So, you complain about the service, then when the CEO and COO tells every employee in the company it needs to change, the problem becomes even worse? The email says they have 165,000 employees. Should they have spoken to them all individually instead? They have a customer survey on the bottom of every receipt, and every store manager reads them. So, if you want something to change, tell someone that can do something. Otherwise, you’re all just like my ex-girlfriend: you don’t want it fixed, you just want to whine about it.

    • parnote says:

      @narayan1121: But then that would mean that I would have to shop there, and actually pay their grossly inflated prices.

      No thanks! I’ll let the LACK OF MY BUSINESS speak!

      May Best Buy soon go the way of Circuit City and all the other shyster companies.

  67. Anonymous says:

    Customer service…whatever!!! I have been in customer severice and with the same company for over 10 years and if I treated our customers the way Best Buy treats their customers I wouldn’t have lasted 10 days!! I have only made two purchases with Best Buy and it will be the last time! I bought a front load washer from Best Buy in November of 2006. The reason I did was because they had a promotion going on for 24 month free financing. Well if I had paid just the monthly payment they asked for I would have been paying on it for over 9 years. Well that wasn’t going to happen because I planned on having it paid in full in that 24 month time frame so I more than doubled my monthly payment to make sure it was paid in full in 24 months. Well in March of 2007 I had to buy a new monitor for my computer so since the guy who sold me the washer was very nice I went back to Best Buy for the monitor and had it put on my credit card-still with the intention of having the washer paid in full in that 24 month time frame. Well that didn’t happen! When I got what I thought was a $200 some odd statement in (what should have been left from the monitor) they had tacked on over $500 in finance charges. When I called to see what was going on they said the monitor had been paid in full but I still owed on the washer and that was all the back finance charges since 11/06. When I argued with them that no one had even explained to me and that I hadn’t signed anything saying I would pay that kind of a finance charge all they would say is that they would only take off 50% of that finance charge. I told them I still wasn’t paying that and since the monitor was paid in full they could come and get the washer but they had better bring a scoop shovel because I would take it completely apart. My husband called back the next day and got a different person and they agreed to cut the finance charge 75% and we would have 10 days to pay it. I told my husband I still wasn’t happy but I would pay it and I would also let every person I know how Best Buy makes their money!!

  68. Anonymous says:

    Actions Speak Louder than words or does this just apply to the US? Over here in UK senior management are happy to loose customers forever as long they can save a few cents short term.

    Best Buy own 50% of the UK cell phone retailer Carphone Warehouse CPW) and based on my experiences dealing with CPW and their head office they are adopting policies and approaches that do nothing but ensure customers shop elsewhere in future.

    For example. If a phone is over 28 days old and goes wrong it has to go back for repair that repair could take 28 days. Actually the stores have quoted 6 weeks as being more realistic due to Christmas. They will only replace once the phone has been repaired 3 times!!!! so when the phone has been away for 3 months. 25% of a typical contract period.

    You cant discuss the policy as they ignore letters, take 5 days to respond to emails and even then do nothing but quote standard policies.

    Search the web and there is a wealth of examples of poor after sales service.

  69. Anonymous says:

    Brad Anderson needs to take a hard look at BB’s balance sheet and recognize that he doesn’t need the high end real estate locations or the slacker service reps salary expense. After looking for 2 days for a new laptop and finding that BB doesn’t seem to carry any of the 4-5 computers on display I was intereted in (at 2 different stores), in stock, I was told to order one online. Excellent slacker service. Follow Circuit City’s example; cllose the stores, outsource the jobs, sell exclusively online. I wonder why retail experts are projecting 2000-3000 shopping mall closures in 2009? Still don’t have a new laptop and I was itching to take one home tonight. Guess I’ll spare the gas,migraines and high blood pressure and log on to Amazon (again).