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Goodbye, Best Buy

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Just spent two hours with Best Buy customer service and still have an unresolved issue. Some important lessons here for brands and marketers alike.

Long story short, the Geek Squad had sent my non-functioning camera out for repair, then sent me an email saying to come to the store to just exchange it for a new one. Well, the Geek Squad folks had taken the receipt weeks ago and now nobody could find it. And the customer service folks couldn’t make the exchange without a receipt.

When I arrived, the lady in front of me was already in a fight with the customer service folks. And when the manager came over, all he did was argue with her in a very defensive and rude manner, telling her why her opinions were incorrect. Already a bad start. Customer service then bounced me to Geek Squad who then bounced me to the camera section. 30 minutes later, bounced back to customer service.

From there, it all went to hell. The customer service rep couldn’t figure out how to do the exchange without a receipt, the manager was even more clueless and a customer was left waiting at the customer service desk for OVER AN HOUR with not even one mention of “we apologize for the wait”. They didn’t even tell me what they were doing, they just disappeared.

About 30 minutes later, I asked for an explanation of what exactly was going on and how long I was expected to stay there. While the manager looked at me like I was highly inconveniencing him and the customer service rep stood there in silence, another Best Buy employee jumped right into the mix – in the middle of the conversation, mind you – handed a menu to the customer service rep and asked her what she wanted for lunch with a big ol smile on her face. WOW.

Now, I’ve worked several positions in customer service and understand the challenges (and the difficulty) of the position. But “customer service is haaaaard” will never be an acceptable excuse for rude, disingenuous and disrespectful behavior towards customers. But the overall “I could give a shit” attitude of the staff at Best Buy isn’t the biggest issue.

The issue is that the entire two-hour dilemma could not be solved because of processes, rules and inflexibility. The camera exchange had already been approved and accepted by Best Buy, by the act of the Geek Squad taking it and sending it out for repair and/or exchange. The fact that the receipt was now lost (by Geek Squad) was not my problem. But instead of focusing on the customer, the customer service reps decided to concentrate solely on the computer system and steadfast rules while a human being stood around in confusion and anger.

At the end of the day, they lost thousands of dollars a year in this customer because they wouldn’t accept responsibility for a $200 camera that got caught up on their “system”. Because all we as consumers can do is vote with out wallets, consider this the last visit I ever make to Best Buy again. There’s a good chance I would have had numerous positive experiences there in the future, but they went ahead and screwed up the chances of that happening.


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Growth obsessed startup co-founder (MusicBox) and strategist-for-hire.

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