Dear New Circuit City CEO: Here's How To Fix Your Stores

Yesterday, we asked you to tell us how Circuit City’s new CEO should fix his stores. It’s been a troubled few years for Circuit City. Before the former CEO resigned last week, he’d embarked on an expensive and drastic “turn around” plan that, well, let’s be honest — failed.

First, he tried firing everyone who knew anything about the products that Circuit City sold (about 3,400 experienced salespeople) then, he responded to the inevitable tsunami of blood that followed… (2nd quarter losses of $62.8 million, and 3rd quarter losses of $207.3 million) by unveiling a retention program that would reward each top executive with $1 million.

Meanwhile, Circuit City’s human resources department was wading through their own entrails and trying to hire their own fired employees back.

Finally, Blockbuster tried to move in and take over Circuit City — hoping to “differentiate products in both Blockbuster and Circuit City stores by offering exclusive content and content-enabled devices.” Whatever that means. After taking a good hard look at Circuit City’s books, Blockbuster decided that whatever Circuit City had, they didn’t want to catch it, and called the deal off.

It’s clear that Circuit City’s new CEO, James “Tourniquet” Marcum, has his work cut out for him, but here at Consumerist we’re pro-success. In the spirit of a new beginning, we’ve decided to share your suggestions with Mr. Marcum.

These comments were all written by you, the shopper. If Marcum wants to turn it around, he’d better listen up.

How To Fix Circuit City


The Customers of Circuit City

  • CC lost their best employees, which in turn meant they lost their best trainers for new employees.

    How would I fix it? Hire arsonists and collect the insurance money. You’re going down in flames, you may as well get paid.

  • Firing competent, experienced staff so they can hire incompetent inexperienced staff at a lower hourly rate is only one step above off-shoring (which is kind of difficult to do if you want your store staffed with live people on-site!). Scumbags, that’s what Circuit City’s upper management are: Scumbags. And honestly, I’m insulting scumbags by making the comparison.
  • When spending at least $2,000 on a HDTV or Plasma TV, I don’t think that I can trust the expertise of a 17 year old high school dropout to guide me into choosing which one might be best for me.
  • Fix the damn CD and DVD sections. Seriously, can anyone find one thing they’re looking for?… Highlight the gadgets! I hear people like little handheld things these days. Maybe make them easier to find, easier to fondle etc… Blow everyone away with friendly returns/customer service. Unlike Best Buy where they like to accuse you of committing a crime when returning something.
  • Stop selling Monster Cable! They would sell exponentially more cables if they didn’t want $103 for 6′ of HDMI cable. If I see a retailer selling Monster Cable, I will usually look for an excuse not to buy something from them.
  • The only *good* thing about Circuit City customer service is that it’s SO bad, they usually just ignore you. And ironically, I count that as a plus, as there’s no faster way to turning me off in a store than to be pestered by incompetent customer service. At least when I walk into a Circuit City, I know that the reps are all going to be huddled together in the part of the store farthest away from me, so I’ll be left alone to browse at my leisure.
  • Make the executives work for a month at random Circuit City stores, with no power or authority to make changes. Spend one week at each in the “Customer Service Booth”, and require them to provide responses to each and every inquiry.

  • What do I find wrong with Circuit City?
    They have higher prices than their competitors, and most of the time they don’t have what I want. How do you fix that?
    Cheaper prices. Better selection. Aggressively letting people know that they have both.

  • Reduce the size of the stores and aim for the higher end customers. Make sure everyone selling an item is an expert on that item, or at least on that category. Spend money on wages, benefits and training to attract and retain those people.In other words, become the opposite of what Circuit City is now, because you’re not the best at that and you probably never will be.
  • Integrate the CircuitCity stores with the CircuitCity website, with the goal of making shopping easier and less stressful.
  • Does anyone get that good feeling that they get in BB when they walk into Circuit City? No. The stores look ancient, the cust. service is just piss poor, there are never any cash registers open at any store.
  • Most of these kinds of stores put a bunch of cheap ass computers on display, then hire a moron to help customers. Real computer experts only go to CC or Best Buy because they are in a pinch- not because they want to. I could go to Target and get the same stuff they sell at CC, but it is cheaper.
  • Stop selling the same thing as Best Buy. Switch to high-end computer parts and systems only. At least then you’d have something different… as it is, there is nothing different between Circuit City and Best Buy.
  • I would love it if I could feel like when I go in and need to ask a question, it’s not being answered by someone who just picks up the box and reads what I just read.

Since CEOs are super busy, we’ll summarize:

Hire people who know what they’re doing. Offer a better selection of products that will interest high-end cash-heavy consumers, and staff your store with people who know at least as much as they do. Clean your stores. Hire enough people so that you can have a register open at all times. Concentrate on the products that people actually want to buy, like handheld devices, cameras, consoles, and other gadgets. Mop the floor and tidy up. Don’t let your employees huddle in the back of the store. Make shopping through the website easy. Lower the prices on your accessories to compete with Best Buy. Find friendly people and put them to work behind the customer service desk.

Good luck.

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