Geek Squad Member: Optimization Helps People

An anonymous Best Buy employee wrote in to clarify and dispute Monday’s post that accused the company of shifting to a de facto commission-based model by rewarding upsell-happy workers with more hours.

The Geek Squader takes the bold move of defending Geek Squad’s optimization practices, which we thrashed earlier this year.

The email:

Just thought I’d send you an email as a Best Buy employee regarding your post.

The new operating procedure for presetup computers is actually NOT 40%, nor does it include optimizations. ANY store that has “optimized” computers on the floor is not following the new sales model. Unfortunately people are still not computer savvy enough to have the ability to setup their own computer, so Best Buy now offers “PC Setup” which is a basic configuration and anti-virus install. The new PC Setup forms aren’t technically for customers, they’re actually for employees to use, so we simplified that for ourselves.

I know it sounds stupid to you, me and the Consumerist readers but there are people in the world who just feel more comfortable paying someone to install AV/AS, Office and other software. Fortunately stores like mine actually listen to employees like me who say doing 40% of this presetup AV/AS is stupid so we do what our highest attachment is, which is a lot less than 40%. That’s how stores are supposed to be doing it to avoid “customer disappointment.” BBY terms, not mine.

As far as employees on commission; no they are not. Yes better employees get more hours. I used to work on the sales floor and got 30-40 hours per week as a part timer where other part timers would get 14. Yes, I was better than them so it only made sense from a management standpoint to give me more labor. I wouldn’t use those hours to be pushy on accessories or protection plans; I got the hours because 1) I knew what I was talking about more than anymore in the store, 2) Customers apparently like talking to people who know about the products they sell, 3) I did make good sales with basic non-pushy recommendations. (IE: Oh you have a memory card already? What size because on this newer camera it’ll hold less pictures at max resolution.)

I’m at the Geek Squad now so crucify me if you must, but I’m honest about what I do. I won’t take your money if you don’t need the service and I actually do what you pay me to do. I wish more BBY employees were like myself, more so than any consumer.

Do you think optimization has some merit for clueless customers, or is it straight-up evil?