In January of 2012 almost every financial analyst was forecasting the demise of Best Buy. Amazon was Best Buy’s largest competitor with overall annual sales of $61.9B. Five years later Amazon’s sales have almost tripled to $177.8 B. Although Amazon’s consumer electronics business continues to increase, Best Buy has continued to increase its share too. While there have been many stories about the Best Buy turnaround, my story is focused on their customer service.
We all talk about getting back to the basics, but Best Buy’s Hubert Joly, who came on board in August 2012, knows what that means to the average consumer. No one wants to overpay for a product that can be easily found on Amazon at a lower or competitive price with super delivery, easy returns and massive selections. But consumer electronics are now more technical than ever and sales associates, who both know the merchandise and interact with customers with a smile and price guarantee is a perfect formula for success. When Joly took the reins in 2012, he said, “I want my company to be the place that makes it easy for consumers to understand technology. He continued, “Customers need more advice than ever; that makes sense.”
When my wife and I moved recently moved into a larger apartment to accommodate our growing family, we needed a new TV and advise on which TV to purchase. Our son-in-law had recommended either a Sony or Samsung. However, I’m not sure if you have shopped for a TV lately, but each manufacturer has multiple options, price points, features and benefits. It’s confusing. But within 10 minutes of walking into a Best Buy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, our confusion turned into confidence. Simple, direct advise from our salesperson assured us we were purchasing the right TV.
As a customer experience thought-leader I’m always analyzing every transaction to see how I can make it better. My experience with Best Buy left me with nothing to correct. The critique was everything positive. This is my step-by-step analysis:
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- My salesperson associate, Larry, introduced himself and asked us for our names. He referenced our names at the appropriate time during our interactions. He made us feel welcomed and created a personal connection.
- We could tell he was knowledgeable. He explained the variables in quality and pricing and then showed us four different models; two from Sony and the others, Samsung. For our particular needs, we would be served best with one of the Sony models. The trust that Larry had developed during our short interaction made it an easy decision for us.
- We lost our remote from the TV we already had and my wife reminded me we needed to replace it. Another sales associate overheard that conversation and volunteered to go to another part of the store to find a Universal remote. Another example of good customer service and teamwork amongst the employees.
- We were going to have Best Buy install the TV on the wall, but after Larry explained the costs involved to hire an electrician to rewire and patch, he suggested we try just placing the TV on our living room buffet, to see if that worked before incurring more costs. Good idea! We took his advice and the TV is in a perfect spot. Larry saved us money.
- Larry ran the charge for our new TV at a cash register in his section – no need for us to stand in a long checkout line. When he gave us our receipt, he mentioned his name again, told us it was on the receipt, gave us his schedule and said he would love to help us again. He invited us to return.
- He also told us that if we find a better price within 30 days of purchase, we could get a price adjustment. It made us feel 100 percent comfortable with the price we paid.
- We chose the option of delivery – Best Buy brought the TV to our apartment, set it up, and took away the empty box. This service cost $100. The people who completed this task were on time, professional, and friendly.
- About 40 days later we were experiencing problems with the circuit breaker connected to the TV. Our building staff came up multiple times to resolve the issue, but it was recurring. They said, “Although it’s rare, it could be an issue with the TV.” We called Best Buy told them what our building maintenance staff told us, and their response without a second of hesitation was, “We will bring you a new TV tomorrow.” I thought ‘wow’!
When we need to purchase another consumer electronic product, of course there will be nowhere else to shop but Best Buy. The company’s revenues are vast, $44B, not a mom & pop operation, but the service delivery is the same as my father provided his customers in his neighborhood store. Hubert Joly is a man on a mission. He is proving that good customer service, coupled with knowledgeable sales associates and competitive pricing is the ticket. Yes, you can outmaneuver that big elephant in the room whose name is Amazon. Huber Joly and Best Buy – you are the winners of the Customer Service Award.