I have met very few people that haven’t complained about customer service at Best Buy. To say it’s horrible would be mincing words. On a post I recently wrote on my other blog, most of the people that commented had stories to tell about their bad customer service experiences while there; it’s not pretty.

I’m not sure if they really care or not. After all, the internet is replete with stories from people that have had bad customer relations there. I used to think that maybe there was a racial component to it because of the treatment I’ve gotten but now I realize it’s a corporate culture, one that stinks, and it’s everywhere, as I’ve been to the store in multiple cities and the same thing happens over and over.

Why keep going back? In many places it’s the only store in town that sells what one needs. Here in the Syracuse area all the other competing technology stores have gone bankrupt, so they’re the only choice, other than ordering stuff online. It’s possible you can find an item here and there at another store, but not the wealth of items they have all at once.

Still, I rarely go. On my last trip there about a month and a half ago I was so disgusted that I left the items there and went to Staples, luckily not only finding what I needed but at a slight discount; great lesson there.

But what if Best Buy decided they didn’t want to be derided for their bad behavior anymore? What if they wanted to fix it and get better? Here are 5 lessons they could employ that will work for many other companies as well:

1. Leadership training for the executive level. Bad customer service on such a consistent basis obviously starts at the top. This has to be a culture so removed from reality that they don’t know or don’t care that people literally hate them. If leaders don’t embrace change first, no one else will.

2. Leadership training for all other levels of management. This should come second, since we need to change the culture at the top first. These folks need to know how to better communicate with employees, motivate them, and show employees how they should behave.

3. Procedure training for management level employees. The excuses I often have received when asking why there’s no one to assist me is that someone’s on break or someone’s been assigned to a zone that they’re not allowed to leave. What the heck is that? If that’s Best Buy policy it needs to change, and then someone needs to train the managers better. If it’s management’s idea on how scheduling should be done they need to be taught better. Employees need cross training as well.

4. Make the person at the entrance more of a greeter than that person is now. Truthfully I’ve always seen that person as someone watching everyone when they leave to chase down shoplifters, and that’s probably more of what they are. Teach all greeters where everything is and have them ask customers when they come in what they’re looking for. Be true greeters; smile and be friendly and inviting. That will go a long way towards establishing a customer’s mood when they’re walking into the store.

5. More honest and informational sales people. I’m not saying they’re dishonest to the point of stealing but I can look back at when I bought my present computer and realize that the salesperson wasn’t totally up front with me on what I was buying. I was supposed to have a computer with a full media center, but it seems it needed more RAM and other things included in an upgraded model that they keep on the shelf. No one told me the computer on the counter that offered all the things didn’t have them, and thus I felt cheated, even if the other computer would have cost more. I figure that’s why you have more than one computer that you sell, so you can tell people all the options they will and won’t get, and the same probably goes for all your other appliances, software, hardware, phones, vacuum cleaners, washers and dryers, TVs, etc.

Okay Best Buy, take that list and start improving. If you need help, give me a call.

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