Best Buy customer service still at odds

Best BuyBest Buy just can’t get it right, and customers continue to complain. Even the company’s promotion on used videos this weekend piled up consumer complaints as customers couldn’t find what they wanted in either the stores or online. To make matters even worse, Best Buy still has unresolved Christmas orders lingering about somewhere  in “back order” or “canceled” land.

Spokesperson for the company, Lisa Hawks blamed the glitches on their software supplier, Oracle which presumably can forecast demand and plan the coordinating inventory, but stated the problem was under control and wouldn’t happen again.

The debacle began on Black Friday when customers ordered products both in the store and online, and all items selected stated “available and ready for shipping.” It wasn’t until weeks later that customers found out their orders were going to be delayed, were “no longer available” or the order had been “canceled.” And all of this bad news just before Christmas just didn’t make for a positive shopping experience. Sonya was notified two weeks after Christmas that her gift product was canceled, but when she called the manufacturer they claimed the products were still being made.

Before Thanksgiving, Sonya loved to visit the store in Palm Beach Gardens. It was a great place to browse, and there was a good selection of televisions, cameras and other techno products – all priced reasonably. The staff in each department were quite helpful, however each staff member seemed to have their own specialty which made getting knowledgeable assistance a corundum at peak shopping hours.

On the Customer Service Scoreboard, there were 300 negative comments out of 336 (89.2%) while positive comments numbered 36 out of 336 (10.71%). What happened? After all Best Buy was supposed to be a positive alternative to online companies like Amazon; it was a place where many consumers who like to touch and feel the products, try them out, and bring them home could fulfill their shopping needs.

Now Best Buy will have to regain the confidence of shoppers, and stop making excuses. According to Sonya it was all about the lack of communication and not so much about the products. “Had I known in time I could have ordered the games and other gifts from another store – namely Amazon. It was impossible to deal with Best Buy’s customer service. I have never heard so many, ‘ I have no further information as to when the product you ordered will be available.’ ” And that seemed to be a large part of the problem.

So what do you do when you want to “infiltrate” customer service and actually find someone to help you? First you need to get past the automated systems which are intended to weed out the most obvious issues. Listen to all of the options first, and select ” for other questions” or even “tech support.” You’re pretty much guaranteed you will connect to a real person who can then forward you on to a customer service agent. Don’t lose your temper, don’t get profane, and keep your story short and precise. Use notes so you don’t forget anything, and if possible record the entire conversation to ensure that the agent you speak with doesn’t change their story at a future time. Make sure you get the agent’s name and a ticket number – at least then you know you are officially in the system.

When a customer service agent isn’t getting the results you want, ask for a supervisor, and if that still doesn’t solve your problem, it’s time to head over to the executive offices of that particular organization. A favorite place to look for the names of executive customer service representatives is Consumerist.com. Have patience, and don’t give up. Best Buy is handing out gift cards to many of their disappointed customers. For those customers like Sonya, make sure you get one – it will make you feel better.

photo credit: matteson.norman

One Response to “Best Buy customer service still at odds”

  1. Maria Elena said:

    Jan 20, 12 at 2:43 am

    Giving out gift cards is a way of winning back their customers who might be thinking of buying from or shifting to other stores in the future. Due to multiple demands every Black Friday sale, it expected that companies should anticipate bulks of orders. Consumers on the other hand should make it sure they get those merchandise by verifying before ordering. For those customers who have not been served properly, keep in mind the reminders given by Cheryl for you to feel better.