And why they don’t have to
Have you been to Best Buy lately? If you have you’ll see a store that is going to go out of business, sooner than later. And the shame of it there is no need to.
Last Saturday I dropped off a computer because the “J” key had come off and I could not get it back on. Not their problem not their issue. But what was the issue is that I had to go on line to make an appointment to drop the computer off. They were very clear about the 15-minute window I had to drop the computer. I also made it clear that it was spare computer, I was not going to wait for it but just drop it off. It didn’t matter. So between 2:30 and 2:45 PM last Saturday I dutifully dropped the computer off. I did so with a solemn promise to my dear wife who was with me that I would stay calm and not get mad and cause a scene. And yes, I kept that promise. Even when the “Geek” that’s not a pejorative expression that’s what they call themselves. Took the computer, processed some paperwork and then told me it would be two weeks because they will be sending the computer out for a new keyboard! What do these Geeks do anyway? This guy could not even fix a key that had fallen off? Really?
Then last night (sorry I’m a glutton for punishment). I went to anther Best Buy looking for something. I was not even sure what I wanted but I wanted to talk to someone and get some advice. I waited ten minutes in the Apple Products department while I watched a number of blue shirted employees hanging out with one another like it was some kind of party and I was crashing. When I did finally crash their party, they told me that “Apple” was not their department and the person should be back soon, he was probably at lunch,
That’s when I left. Enough was enough and yes that being why Best Buy is going out of business, or at least one of the reasons.
The things is when they do go out of business there will be cries of injustice as people lose their jobs. There will be complaints about the internet killing live retail and there will be much tearing of clothes and gnashing of teeth.
But it does not have to be. They do not have to go out of business. They have seen the Apple stores which are now the highest revenue yielding per square foot retail stores in the world. Yes, that’s right all Best Buy would have to do is take a page out of that book.
First of all, they could train their people in the basic art of customer service. Then they could train them to be “experts” in their areas whether the area is computers or washing machines or TVs the people could be trained to become “trusted advisors” to customers coming to learn more about what they are interested in buying. Just think how refreshing that would be?
Then once the customer is expertly guided to the buying choice that is perfect for her she can get the product she wants and also be able to say why it is perfect for her.
And then here is the best part. Because they cannot possibly have everything they sell in stock on the premises they should be set up to sit down comfortably with the customer at a computer and order with them whatever it is they want to buy. By the way this would be a great opportunity to upsell as well. They could make this customer experience so pleasant, informative and memorable that the customer would want to come into to the store to order their product rather than just skip the store all together and buy directly on line.
Oh, and another thing, besides the wonderful experience of buying the product on line while being advised by an expert, the buyer would be rewarded with bonuses like free overnight shipping and yes some sort of discount on a future and related product. A product, that Best Buy knows would be great for her based on the all the information that was learned by the friendly and accommodating Best Buy Expert.
All in all, a win/win. Best Buy would stay in business. Their associates would keep their jobs and probably be a lot happier with the happiness of doing something worthwhile and yes the customer would be delighted.
And by the way, this type of hybrid customer service could be applied to just about any brick and mortar retailer who is in danger of going out of business; from Barnes and Noble to Dick’s Sporting Goods. Any company in fact who is willing to go to any length to truly enhance the overall customer experience. Actually anyone who strives to treat the customer as number one no matter what kind of change or adaptation they have to make to elevate their customer to where she should be. It’s only common sense