AfterDawn: Tech news

Best Buy revamps operations to satisfy holiday shoppers

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 02 Dec 2007 14:39 User comments (27)

Best Buy revamps operations to satisfy holiday shoppers Best Buy has made some changes to in-store operations in an attempt to address customer suggestions gathered in a company sponsored survey. Over 90% of respondents indicated that the company's return policy and having phone calls answered by a real person. Another 89% rated in-store customer service as important, and 70% indicated that the quality of the company's website is a high priority.
In order to address those concerns Best Buy has made numerous changes for this holiday shopping season, including extending their return policy for purchases made before Christmas, cross-training store employees to provide general customer assistance on the sales floor, operators for each store who are trained in customer service and able to pull up inventory information. In November the company launched BestBuy.com/espanol, a Spanish language version of their Website. In addition to providing a bilingual experience on their site, it's also intended to connect Spanish speaking visitors with customer service representatives who can assist with everything from using the website to finding items in stores.

Other additions include what the company describes as “complete gift solutions,” which include in-store tools to help consumers identify accessories that go with purchased items (such as a memory card for a digital camera).

“We start holiday planning 11 months in advance so we can provide the very best experience possible,” said president/COO Brian Dunn. “Our holiday approach is focused on bringing our customers complete gift solutions by offering a wide range of products, knowledgeable sales associates, and premium service to customers whether it’s in store, online or through our phone channel.”

Source: This Week In Consumer Electronics

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27 user comments

12.12.2007 15:24

They can try all they want, but Worst Buy BLOWS.
Overinflated prices, undertrained Geek Squawk reps and a corporate fiasco of handling an internal investigation really gives me a great impression...

22.12.2007 17:51

some items do need to be lowered a bit for competition this holiday season
its good theyre improving these things, i constantly find myself in-store with no assistance WHEN I NEED IT

32.12.2007 18:06

The more I visit Best Buy, the more I appreciate Newegg.com
I only stop in to pick up the sale items on like media, or someother door-buster special. Forget about employee assistance, their turnover is so high they never have time to properly train a floor associate. If you want assistance and advice, log onto AD, if you want price and service, go to Newegg.com

42.12.2007 18:25
26r0cK
Inactive

Cuz there's no commission, there's never assistance when you need it. I saw a few workers being all retarded and just look the other way. The products at Bestbuy are good n all..just the workers blow.

52.12.2007 21:12

I loath Best buy, but I did work there for 5 looooong years and knowing their "customers first" policy I find it hard to believe that you guys had trouble getting assistance. When our surveys came back often times customers replied that employees were contacting them (the customers) too much. The customers were feeling overwhelmed with the amount of contact that the employees were giving them. Maybe this was just my Best Buy... I dunno.

62.12.2007 22:23

LOL i remember going into bestbuy to learn a little bit about satellite radio and i ended up leaving there with less knowledge than when i stepped in the door. worthless customer service at best.

73.12.2007 0:01

Just keep the Smurfs away from me when I'm browsing, otherwise I might go all Highlander on them. When I need something, I'll yank on one of their chains.

83.12.2007 3:01

actually i was a independent vendor for some company and sometimes i have to go at best buy. the employees are all the time going on breaks and trying to escape from customers. otherwise chilling in corners in groups.

93.12.2007 3:54

Originally posted by 26r0cK:
Cuz there's no commission, there's never assistance when you need it. I saw a few workers being all retarded and just look the other way. The products at Bestbuy are good n all..just the workers blow.
That's right, I work in a department store too, and we get commisions, now, I am not going to say that the costumer service in my store is the best around, but for the same sake of the sale, we don't ignore a costumer, if anything else, sometimes people complaint that they feel "overcrowed", that sometimes a lot of sales persons are trying to approach them (funny thing: normally it's the same people that five minutes later complain that no one has tried to help them,go figure).

Now this is a TRUE story that happened to yours truly; Sometime ago, my brother came from out of town on a family vacation, as a surprise gift I wanted to buy him laptop, as luck would have it, in my store we've sold out of the centrino duos that month, so I had to go to Best Buy, since I was starting my vacations and my video cam was very old (still tapes, imagine that) I thought I should buy a digital dvd cam while I was there, So here's the thing: I ask the guy in the camera department to help me to get a Sony Cam (I even told him the model, since I have done my research via web)and I would like to have the extended warranty on that, also a bag he could recommend, some discs and some other stuff for the camera.

Now, in a store where you get commissions, that's a nice sale, and I can tell you that, although I sell computers, not cameras. In Best Buy, however, since they don't get commission, they don't care if you buy the product or not, even less if you get accessories, a MUST in a retail business, let alone the extended warranty, which it's 80-90% of the time pure profit to the store.

The Guy just told me where to get the stuff (pointed the way its more like it),that I could put it to my account in the check out area, and walked away, nice. same thing happened in the videogames area, where they said they couldn't help me because I had a camera, which they couldn't sell in the videogame department (BULLSH:T!, I know..) EVEN when I also had 2 videogames in the lot.

At the end, the guy in the computer section was brave enough (and very nice) to sell me the laptop, AND the lot of stuff I had gathered around in my store trip, too bad the didn't earn a commission, he deserved it. I always thought that at less the employees there earned some spiff, incentive or something when they sell the extended warranties, I guess I was wrong, or maybe it's not that big to take the time to help the costumer and stop doing ...whatever they think it's more important to do.

Now this was in a Los Angeles store, since then I go to another branch, (thankfully, I rarely need to, but since we don't sell hardware by itself...)and although I get pretty much the same treatment, some of the crew actually at least answer some of my questions and help me to find some of the equipment I need.

But this it's not to rip just on Best Buy, some of the guys in the videogame section of Target are a little piece of work too, think of that Comic Book Guy in "The Simpsons".

Oh well, It takes a Jerk to spot another one, he he.

103.12.2007 7:29

I like Best Buy. Only because when I go there, I already know what I want and never have to ask anyone. I agree that the customer service is lacking. I don't even bother asking questions anymore, because I've had some poor responses. And the geeksquad is just a way to push crap on the unsuspecting public. I bought one of those cheap HP PC packages for my parents, and they guy tried to push Norton and every low-end adobe and CD burning software package on me, insisting that I needed them.

But they have good products. I'm on their rewards program and always get coupons in the mail. Last coupon I got was for 12% off a HDTV and before that, 10% off any game console. I wasn't in the market for either yet, but I know I will be getting them again soon.

113.12.2007 8:20

I don't shop at Best Buy any longer because I tried to return a unopened printer that I bought 15 days prior. They refused to return the printer. I asked to talk to the store manager and he was hiding behind a curtain at the service desk and wouldn't even come out to talk with me. I do repairs on computers and would spend about $10,000 a year at Best Buy prior to this issue. I now buy all of my parts from newegg.com which will issue a RA if there is any issue. I wouldn't shop at Best Buy if everything was free.

123.12.2007 8:31

I don't have a problem with customer service at my Best Buy, after one associate asks if I need help and tell him no, there are usually 2-3 more that come by and ask the same thing. I like the instore experience of being able to put my hands and eyes on what I want to buy....I then usually walk out empty handed and go to NewEgg and order it online for a cheaper price.

133.12.2007 8:47

Quote:
Best Buy has made some changes to in-store operations in an attempt to address customer suggestions gathered in a company sponsored survey...

In order to address those concerns Best Buy has made numerous changes for this holiday shopping season, including extending their return policy for purchases made before Christmas, cross-training store employees to provide general customer assistance on the sales floor, operators for each store who are trained in customer service and able to pull up inventory information...

Other additions include what the company describes as “complete gift solutions,” which include in-store tools to help consumers identify accessories that go with purchased items (such as a memory card for a digital camera).
I left Best Buy about 9 months ago, after a 4 year tenure, working on the sales floor and in the Geek Squad. (Yes, I know, flame me.) I have a real IT job now after college and can truly attest to what some of you say about "undertrained" agents working on computers, but personal story aside...

This story DOES NOT highlight anything new for BBY except the Spanish language stuff. Everything I quoted above has been in existence for years. As someone said above, customers are always supposed to come first.

Every employee has the ability to access and lookup inventory. Any employees trained on a cash register are capable of working customer service, ringing sales and returns.

Employees were traditionally trained on high-margin focus and quick "grab-and-go" areas for "cross-training", such as smaller TV's, printers, digital cameras and MP3 players.

Management would prefer that everyday employees from a particular department sell the larger dollar items, such as HDTV's and PC/Laptop packages, as their attachment rate and ability to offer "complete solutions" (highlighted above) are much more effective than a temporary "Occasional Seasonal" employee that works 2 months out of the year. That's why you'll have an easier time with someone helping you buy a printer than you will buying laptop.

In my experience, the OS employees are just working there for a discount and don't give a crap about customers.

The biggest complaint I've heard is that customers are harassed too much for help, and that's because there are too many employees scheduled on a slow Christmas season shopping day. When there are 4-5 people working in a department, and no one is out shopping but yourself, expect to asked for help in EVERY place in the store at least twice. The employees are bored to death!

143.12.2007 8:53

Originally posted by LOCOENG:
I then usually walk out empty handed and go to NewEgg and order it online for a cheaper price.
Very true... even employees shop at New Egg, because some of the prices AFTER the BBY discount are still more expensive than New Egg + shipping!

153.12.2007 12:10
goodswipe
Inactive

I agree with the shitty customer service complaints. When I got to Best Buy it's usually to pick up something I already know a lot about and I just want to buy it and get the hell out of there. I think they need different types of sales associates such as, in my case, a sales associate that's just there to help the customer with GETTING what they want because it's in the back. Then there's the customer service rep that can hold all the newbs hands and wipe there ass for 2 hours explaining the difference between HD-DVD and DVD. That's my problem, I go in there all the time and find myself looking for someone to get something I want that's not out on the shelves. Where are they? Their all holding the newbs hands explaining some redundant bs they have explained over and over and over. I WANT MY STUFF!!

163.12.2007 12:40

I am in agreement with the first comment. I used to work for the Geek Sqwauk. I'm 34 now and worked for them 2 years ago. Got fired for having a free thinking mind and making decisions to benefit the customers that were being screwed. They don't like that at all. That's why they hire dumbass 16 year olds to work at Geek Squad............so they don't think for themselves and stay robotic. And hence the Geeks who don't know shizzy from shinola.

173.12.2007 16:26

Originally posted by tester22:
I am in agreement with the first comment. I used to work for the Geek Sqwauk. I'm 34 now and worked for them 2 years ago. Got fired for having a free thinking mind and making decisions to benefit the customers that were being screwed. They don't like that at all. That's why they hire dumbass 16 year olds to work at Geek Squad............so they don't think for themselves and stay robotic. And hence the Geeks who don't know shizzy from shinola.
Wow dude, that is so true. Charge to run a diagnostic, don't perform any actual service, just tell them what you found and hold their computer hostage until you give them the ransom fee. Yeah, you're going to need to pay $$$ to wipe it clean, then more $$$ for the software to keep it clean, oh and if you want pictures of your babies, pets, wedding or vacation, or any other critical documents, we'll burn that to a disc for $$$ even though you could've copied it to a flash drive before you brought it in (most of the time.) I used to feel terrible for selling that shrill. It feels immoral.

On the other hand, the people who end up buying new computers end up waiting forever for the services they bought to be completed or for it to be repaired, because management feels they already have that customers' dollar, and they want the next one that's walking through the door. When it got busy on the sales floor, no matter how slammed GS was with work, they wanted us to push more stuff on the sales floor. Sell, sell, sell. All the while the loyal customer who already paid for products and services gets shafted.

GS would be way better off if it were independent of Best Buy. Oh, and the "In Home" person... it's like paying to have a salesperson come to your door and try to sell you more crap. Awful.

183.12.2007 16:45
goodswipe
Inactive

Quote:
Originally posted by tester22:
I am in agreement with the first comment. I used to work for the Geek Sqwauk. I'm 34 now and worked for them 2 years ago. Got fired for having a free thinking mind and making decisions to benefit the customers that were being screwed. They don't like that at all. That's why they hire dumbass 16 year olds to work at Geek Squad............so they don't think for themselves and stay robotic. And hence the Geeks who don't know shizzy from shinola.
Wow dude, that is so true. Charge to run a diagnostic, don't perform any actual service, just tell them what you found and hold their computer hostage until you give them the ransom fee. Yeah, you're going to need to pay $$$ to wipe it clean, then more $$$ for the software to keep it clean, oh and if you want pictures of your babies, pets, wedding or vacation, or any other critical documents, we'll burn that to a disc for $$$ even though you could've copied it to a flash drive before you brought it in (most of the time.) I used to feel terrible for selling that shrill. It feels immoral.

On the other hand, the people who end up buying new computers end up waiting forever for the services they bought to be completed or for it to be repaired, because management feels they already have that customers' dollar, and they want the next one that's walking through the door. When it got busy on the sales floor, no matter how slammed GS was with work, they wanted us to push more stuff on the sales floor. Sell, sell, sell. All the while the loyal customer who already paid for products and services gets shafted.

GS would be way better off if it were independent of Best Buy. Oh, and the "In Home" person... it's like paying to have a salesperson come to your door and try to sell you more crap. Awful.
OMG, that's horrible, they actually do that? LMAO, so they take everything off your hard drive before they format it and make you pay for what was yours originally if you want it back..WOW.

193.12.2007 22:10

BAHAHA! This is hilarious, i used to work at Best Buy (quit in July). But all that crap they are saying they say they are now doing, they have ALWAYS done.
All employees have been slightly crossed trained, all employees have access to inventory, in fact, we HAD to print out the inventory sheets for our departments every morning. The return policy was ALWAYS extended for the holiday season. I remember because we had people lined up in the morning the week after x-mas just to return stuff. Our online site always had English AND French options (at least the Canadian site did, since its the law).

Kinda funny, how they say there doing all this new stuff, and they haven't changed a thing, lol.

203.12.2007 23:46

Quote:
Quote:
Originally posted by tester22:
I am in agreement with the first comment. I used to work for the Geek Sqwauk. I'm 34 now and worked for them 2 years ago. Got fired for having a free thinking mind and making decisions to benefit the customers that were being screwed. They don't like that at all. That's why they hire dumbass 16 year olds to work at Geek Squad............so they don't think for themselves and stay robotic. And hence the Geeks who don't know shizzy from shinola.
Wow dude, that is so true. Charge to run a diagnostic, don't perform any actual service, just tell them what you found and hold their computer hostage until you give them the ransom fee. Yeah, you're going to need to pay $$$ to wipe it clean, then more $$$ for the software to keep it clean, oh and if you want pictures of your babies, pets, wedding or vacation, or any other critical documents, we'll burn that to a disc for $$$ even though you could've copied it to a flash drive before you brought it in (most of the time.) I used to feel terrible for selling that shrill. It feels immoral.

On the other hand, the people who end up buying new computers end up waiting forever for the services they bought to be completed or for it to be repaired, because management feels they already have that customers' dollar, and they want the next one that's walking through the door. When it got busy on the sales floor, no matter how slammed GS was with work, they wanted us to push more stuff on the sales floor. Sell, sell, sell. All the while the loyal customer who already paid for products and services gets shafted.

GS would be way better off if it were independent of Best Buy. Oh, and the "In Home" person... it's like paying to have a salesperson come to your door and try to sell you more crap. Awful.
OMG, that's horrible, they actually do that? LMAO, so they take everything off your hard drive before they format it and make you pay for what was yours originally if you want it back..WOW.
That is messed up. If i didnt know about PC's and brought it from a store like BB and needed service done to it and they blew off my repairs for a sale i would snap lol. Then charge me for my own stuff. Man oh man.

214.12.2007 1:54

Quote:
Worst Buy
only has a 14-day return on most items, and charges 15% restocking fees, regardless of what their ads claim for Christmas returns. They stick tape on the boxes stating this at the cash register, after the items are purchased. Their specials are nothing more than bait-and-switch items - the super sale advertised items just don't exist. I won't go back in their store! Lies, Lies, and more Lies!

224.12.2007 16:03

Quote:
Quote:
Worst Buy
only has a 14-day return on most items, and charges 15% restocking fees, regardless of what their ads claim for Christmas returns. They stick tape on the boxes stating this at the cash register, after the items are purchased. Their specials are nothing more than bait-and-switch items - the super sale advertised items just don't exist. I won't go back in their store! Lies, Lies, and more Lies!
Huh? The Black Friday junk does exist, but the general public is so greedy they forgoe eating Thanksgiving Dinner and begin sitting in line up to 24 hours early to save $$$ on junk laptops and TV's IMHO.

The 14 day return policy is on SOME items, and mostly the ones that do have restocking fees, such as laptops, GPS systems, and digital cameras. Look closely at your beloved stores' return policies, and you'll see the same thing at Wal-Mart, Circuit City and others, depending on the item you are returning.

Just to clarify, when you do bring in your PC to Geek Squad you sign a form, as best as I can describe, a release, stating certain conditions, such as GS is not responsible for data on your PC and you should always back up before bringing it in. The only time we were allowed to pull data from a PC to backup was when the customer specifically authorized us to do so, otherwise, this practice is highly illegal.

235.12.2007 2:09

It is interesting how some of the opinions differ! it is the same store yet so many people can have so many different opinions & experiences there! I shop there sometimes but not a lot! nothing big ever, i am had a hard time returning something once so never anything over $50!

247.12.2007 22:51
zorb43
Inactive

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Originally posted by tester22:
I am in agreement with the first comment. I used to work for the Geek Sqwauk. I'm 34 now and worked for them 2 years ago. Got fired for having a free thinking mind and making decisions to benefit the customers that were being screwed. They don't like that at all. That's why they hire dumbass 16 year olds to work at Geek Squad............so they don't think for themselves and stay robotic. And hence the Geeks who don't know shizzy from shinola.
Wow dude, that is so true. Charge to run a diagnostic, don't perform any actual service, just tell them what you found and hold their computer hostage until you give them the ransom fee. Yeah, you're going to need to pay $$$ to wipe it clean, then more $$$ for the software to keep it clean, oh and if you want pictures of your babies, pets, wedding or vacation, or any other critical documents, we'll burn that to a disc for $$$ even though you could've copied it to a flash drive before you brought it in (most of the time.) I used to feel terrible for selling that shrill. It feels immoral.

On the other hand, the people who end up buying new computers end up waiting forever for the services they bought to be completed or for it to be repaired, because management feels they already have that customers' dollar, and they want the next one that's walking through the door. When it got busy on the sales floor, no matter how slammed GS was with work, they wanted us to push more stuff on the sales floor. Sell, sell, sell. All the while the loyal customer who already paid for products and services gets shafted.

GS would be way better off if it were independent of Best Buy. Oh, and the "In Home" person... it's like paying to have a salesperson come to your door and try to sell you more crap. Awful.
OMG, that's horrible, they actually do that? LMAO, so they take everything off your hard drive before they format it and make you pay for what was yours originally if you want it back..WOW.
That is messed up. If i didnt know about PC's and brought it from a store like BB and needed service done to it and they blew off my repairs for a sale i would snap lol. Then charge me for my own stuff. Man oh man.

257.12.2007 22:57
zorb43
Inactive

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Originally posted by tester22:
I am in agreement with the first comment. I used to work for the Geek Sqwauk. I'm 34 now and worked for them 2 years ago. Got fired for having a free thinking mind and making decisions to benefit the customers that were being screwed. They don't like that at all. That's why they hire dumbass 16 year olds to work at Geek Squad............so they don't think for themselves and stay robotic. And hence the Geeks who don't know shizzy from shinola.
Wow dude, that is so true. Charge to run a diagnostic, don't perform any actual service, just tell them what you found and hold their computer hostage until you give them the ransom fee. Yeah, you're going to need to pay $$$ to wipe it clean, then more $$$ for the software to keep it clean, oh and if you want pictures of your babies, pets, wedding or vacation, or any other critical documents, we'll burn that to a disc for $$$ even though you could've copied it to a flash drive before you brought it in (most of the time.) I used to feel terrible for selling that shrill. It feels immoral.

On the other hand, the people who end up buying new computers end up waiting forever for the services they bought to be completed or for it to be repaired, because management feels they already have that customers' dollar, and they want the next one that's walking through the door. When it got busy on the sales floor, no matter how slammed GS was with work, they wanted us to push more stuff on the sales floor. Sell, sell, sell. All the while the loyal customer who already paid for products and services gets shafted.

GS would be way better off if it were independent of Best Buy. Oh, and the "In Home" person... it's like paying to have a salesperson come to your door and try to sell you more crap. Awful.
OMG, that's horrible, they actually do that? LMAO, so they take everything off your hard drive before they format it and make you pay for what was yours originally if you want it back..WOW.
That is messed up. If i didnt know about PC's and brought it from a store like BB and needed service done to it and they blew off my repairs for a sale i would snap lol. Then charge me for my own stuff. Man oh man.

Speaking of Snapping ... I believe it was somewhere in the midwest that some irate customer a few years ago in an independent pc store pulled out a gun and shot the customer service rep in the head. A woman was standing holding a child who was eating an ice cream cone that was covered in blood after the shot. She was subsequently tested for disease after her mother thought she may have accidentally ingested some of the service reps brain matter ... It is always best to pacify agitated customers nowadays as you never know what they might do.

268.12.2007 10:02

You're clouding the issues and not addressing what I wrote. I was not there on Thanksgiving and the items I went to the store to purchase were items on sale, but were not "door busters" with limited quantities. They did not have what they advertised, but had plenty of more expensive items not on sale. Even at that, after purchasing the more expensive items, the store put black and yellow tape on the boxes, telling of the re-stocking fees and limited 14-day return on these Christmas presents - even though TV ads and the sales receipt said that Christmas gifts could be returned for up to a month after Christmas. How dishonest!!! They should have at least had the tape on the boxes before purchase. Then, when I returned home and unpacked the bags and saw what they by adding the tape to the boxes telling of the re-stocking fee and limited return opportunity, I tried to call the store, they were not accepting calls! I have spent thousands of dollars at Best Buy, but never again! In the future, I'll do what I'm reading others do, and just go to their store to view and operate the products, then go elsewhere or on-line, to make the purchase.

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Worst Buy
only has a 14-day return on most items, and charges 15% restocking fees, regardless of what their ads claim for Christmas returns. They stick tape on the boxes stating this at the cash register, after the items are purchased. Their specials are nothing more than bait-and-switch items - the super sale advertised items just don't exist. I won't go back in their store! Lies, Lies, and more Lies!
Huh? The Black Friday junk does exist, but the general public is so greedy they forgoe eating Thanksgiving Dinner and begin sitting in line up to 24 hours early to save $$$ on junk laptops and TV's IMHO.

The 14 day return policy is on SOME items, and mostly the ones that do have restocking fees, such as laptops, GPS systems, and digital cameras. Look closely at your beloved stores' return policies, and you'll see the same thing at Wal-Mart, Circuit City and others, depending on the item you are returning.

Just to clarify, when you do bring in your PC to Geek Squad you sign a form, as best as I can describe, a release, stating certain conditions, such as GS is not responsible for data on your PC and you should always back up before bringing it in. The only time we were allowed to pull data from a PC to backup was when the customer specifically authorized us to do so, otherwise, this practice is highly illegal.

2722.12.2007 18:51

At least they are trying something to deal with the holiday season demand.

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