Best Buy CEO Says Retailer Has ‘Killed Showrooming’

With four weeks to go before Thanksgiving, Best Buy Co. is running television ads that tout its stores as “the ultimate holiday showroom,” playing on the phenomenon in which shoppers visit traditional retailers to check out products and then leave to buy them online for less. The retailer has made it a priority to combat showrooming. Chief Executive Joly told the Wall Street Journal, “A year ago, people said that showrooming would kill Best Buy. I think that Best Buy has killed showrooming.” [Source: Wall Street Journal]

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New Call Scripts Leave BestBuy.com CSRs With Little Flexibility

“A phone agent for Best Buy’s website says the company recently instituted a new script and those who don’t follow it verbatim are risking their jobs. [...] The problem, explains W., is that customers don’t have the patience for scripted banter. They just want to tell you their complaint or ask a question. But the phone rep has to get two pieces of identifying information — and do so in the manner dictated by the script. And while W. says that verification is generally a good idea, it’s not always appropriate for every call. ‘If the customer is just asking for basic information about a product it’s intrusive,’ explains W. ‘And they are quick to say so.’ ” [Source: The Consumerist]

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Conversocial Report Highlights Need for Top Retailers to Improve Service Over Twitter, Facebook

“Best Buy Co. Inc. leads other online retailers when it comes to responding to—and resolving—shoppers’ customer service issues posted on Facebook and Twitter, according to a new report from social media customer service vendor Conversocial Ltd. [...] The Conversocial report found that 20% of the retailers in the study failed to respond to shoppers on Facebook and 19% didn’t reply on Twitter. [...] The report also found that only 50% of the retailers fully resolved customer service issues within Facebook and Twitter instead of redirecting customers to other channels, such as e-mail or phone.” [Source: Internet Retailer]

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Best Buy Looks to Boost Sales with Increased Focus on Service

“Shawn Score, Best Buy’s senior vice president of U.S. retail, who started out selling VCRs and camcorders at a Best Buy in North Dakota 26 years ago, acknowledges the electronics chain has ‘let its customer-service muscle atrophy.’ [...] He has boosted sales training to better educate workers on the products they are selling; begun incentive pay to reward workers who increase sales and help their store sections raise customer satisfaction scores; and made sure managers schedule their most-experienced workers on weekends, when stores are busiest.” [Source: WSJ]

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Best Buy Pulls Email Support From Customer Service Page, Favors Live Chat

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Best Buy Inc. has eliminated the email contact form on its customer service page, saying it’s instead pouring more resources into live chat.

The option to email the company from the customer service page was pulled last week.

The company told Happy Customer that email is “unable to offer the same level of in-the-moment assistance.” The decision was also influenced by customer feedback, as 20% of respondents to a survey of Best Buy’s online shoppers said they prefer live chat.

It’s worth noting that another major retailer – Apple Inc. – does not offer email support.

Best Buy has also experienced a bump in efficiency with live chat, citing a 36% improvement in contacts handled per hour versus phone support. The company said that has led to a 20% increase in conversions.

Still, STELLAService found that Best Buy’s live chat performance struggled during Black Friday through Cyber Monday, as live chat was listed as unavailable on the site for 95% of …

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Best Buy Turnaround to Involve Emphasis on Service

Best Buy Co. founder Richard Schulze is looking to the future with change in mind, particularly around the customer service experience at Best Buy stores. Along with slashing prices to compete with Internet giants like Amazon.com, Schulze wants the culture of service at Best Buy stores to rival that of the culture at Apple Stores. If any turnaround is to occur, people close to the matter say that Schulze will put a strong emphasis on improving customer service practices. [Source: Wall Street Journal]

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The Results Are In! Best Place to Purchase the iPhone 4S Online Is…

Benchmarking iPhone 4S sellers

…Apple.com.

After an extensive evaluation of all online retailers who (seemingly) sell iPhones, as well as a deep dive into the online features, policies and customer service performance of the “authorized” online stores to sell the iPhone, we found there’s no reason to shop anywhere else but Apple.com for the new iPhone 4S.

Below are the details of our findings:

With lines for buying the iPhone 4S expected to wrap around city blocks (even internationally already!), and with no guarantees you will even get the new phone after waiting hours on line, you’re far better off purchasing the iPhone 4S over the Web from the comfort of your own home (or wherever you might be).

Since the price of the phone is the same across all online sellers, it’s a no-brainer to buy from the online retailer with the best service.  When it comes to the iPhone, there’s no site better than Apple.com.

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Competition and Customer Service

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Earlier this month, The Atlantic put together a list of The 19 Most Hated Companies in America based on the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI).

As an introduction to the list, David VanAmburg from the ASCI points out that all of the companies included operate in industries that lack a high degree of competition — i.e.  commercial banking, utilities, and cable companies.  Not coincidentally, this means that customers of these companies who’d like to switch to a competitor have a very laborious task in front of them — it’s difficult and expensive to do so, and you’re not transitioning to a company that’s assuredly better.  This puts the customer in a serious bind.

The online retail  marketplace offers a positive contrast to the above predicament.  The existence of many retailers offering similar products at nearly identical prices effectively shows how increased competition begets increased (read: better) customer …

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