D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Remember When Customer Service Meant Servicing Customers?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:45 AM

I've noticed a disturbing trend recently in all aspects of industries: restaurants, retail, and other service based industries: a lack of high customer service standards. My recent experience with Best Buy is a glaring example...

It all started with a phone call yesterday morning. I was happily told that my 360 was DOA and that I would be receiving a new one. The guy on the phone said I needed to bring "all the cables" in since I'd be getting a new one. Being the pro-active person I am, I wanted to verify what "all the cables" actually meant. So I called back.

After navigating through the phone menu, I finally got put through to the customer service department that handled returns and repairs...and it rang...and rang...and rang...until the automated system informed me that "nobody was available at that extension" and bumped my back to the phone menu! Now, I've worked in the service industry before, so I have a bit of patience and understanding that yes, sometimes things get busy. So I called back a few hours later.

Please re-read that entire paragraph again, because that's EXACTLY what happened the second time...no human contact whatsoever.

Frustrated, I decided to put my faith in the Best Buy employee that I only needed to bring "all the cables", so I raced home after work and got the AV cables along with the power brick. Just to be safe, I brought a controller with me...just in case.

I get to Best Buy and stand at the service counter and wait...and wait...and wait...and try to make as much eye contact as possible to employees that quickly dart their eyes away.

Finally I get someone to ask if I'd been helped yet. He then informs me that I need to bring EVERYTHING back: AV cable, power brick, controller, REMOTE CONTROL, and HEADSET, because I was getting a brand new box.

So back home I go, pick up all the stuff, and return to Best Buy. So let's recap:

2 phone calls to the store where I couldn't find anyone.
1 trip to the store where nobody rushed to help me and I had to return home to get missed items that I would have known about if someone had picked up the phone earlier.
1 final trip to the store to actually pick up my new machine.

Total: Alot of frustration.

But let's put the cherry on top of this sundae shall we?

Last night at Midnight I go with my buddy to the same Best Buy to get my copy of Halo 3. The line is fairly long, but still...its going SO SLOW. Looking down the road to the Future Shop nearby, the line there is...GONE...eaten up inside the store. My buddy and I split duties: he stays in line at Best Buy while I scope out Future Shop.

The lineup in Future Shop is WAY shorter AND they're giving away an extra free game with Halo 3 (its Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, but whatever...its a game). So he boots it over and we get our game, leave, and drive past Best Buy to see that we wouldn't have been much more past the doors if we had stayed in that line.

Now, obviously if you have a large number of people going to a certain store, the business can't really control that...but what they can control is the speed in which those people are put through. I'm not really sure why they don't allow people to fully pre-pay for the game instead of the $5 down payment...well, I do know: if you pre-paid, you might not buy all the extra goodies that they want you to buy. But then couldn't you open up extra lines through customer service to help cycle the people through quicker? Couldn't you set up other lines in some of the other departments like cell phones and cameras for people paying with credit or debit? And maybe they did...I didn't get inside to see the setup, but if its like in releases past (like Burning Crusade), those wouldn't be in place.

I don't know if its a general "we're the defacto place everyone goes so we don't have to try as hard" or what, but the Customer Service part of the St. James Best Buy has really gone down recently. Long lineups at the exchange counter, seemingly short-staffed at the customer service counter, and a lack of urgency seem to be the norm.

It's too bad...because the actual sales staff in Computers, Cameras, TV's...all the otehr departments that I've ever dealt with have been excellent.

But anyway...moral of the story: I'll be placing my pre-orders with Future Shop from now on I think...same price, shorter lines, and better giveaways.

And if I can't get anyone in my desired department, I suppose I should be contacting the manager.

Now let's just hope that my new 360 isn't a lemon.



# re: Remember When Customer Service Meant Servicing Customers?

I have never read anything about Bestbuy that was positive! It's kind of scary. Thank you for sharing this.

You might try posting on www.measuredup.com - it's a new consumer website where people can share the experiences they have with customer service at different businesses.

Best of luck with your 360!! 10/4/2007 12:49 PM | ljnd

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