Best Buy brand promise not lived up to this holiday season

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

3 January 2012

Best Buy isn’t the best at anything

One of the greatest branding faux pas a company can make is failing to deliver on its brand promise. Let’s take the Best Buy brand promise. Its name alone suggests a brand that is your “best alternative” for electronics. This, however, is a Best Buy branding promise that is hardly the truth and has led me to the assumption that it is hardly the “best” in anything that it does. That’s especially true when it comes to customer service, satisfaction and shopping experience.

Before I delve into my own Best Buy holiday shopping horror fiasco, let’s look at its recent online holiday shopping debacle.

“I wonder how can a company like Best Buy, with customer service as dreadful as this, truly look you in the eye and expect you to believe the Best Buy brand promise of being the best of anything.”

As The Wall Street Journal reported a few days before Christmas, Best Buy was alerting customers that it couldn’t fill online orders. The crux of this situation was that droves of online customers turned to Best Buy to fulfill their shopping needs for Christmas. (Best Buy called the amount of online shopping, “Overwhelming”).

The response was a good sign for Best Buy. To stay relevant, it must combat the Amazons of the world as well as other prominent online retailers. Yet, Best Buy failed to deliver — and failed to do so during the most important retail time of year. Now, those hordes of hungery customers will most likely turn elsewhere next season. I surely would.

Best Buy brand promiseMy personal experience didn’t go any better. Just a few days ago, my flat screen TV went kaput. I was really bummed out, of course, and quickly opted to hit Best Buy to get a slightly better replacement. In retrospect, I really should have gone to Costco as I would have saved time, and my shopping experience would have been much more positive, believe it or not.

Let me run down a list of what made Best Buy more like Miserable Buy.

1. It took 40 minutes to get any attention from an employee.
2. It took Best Buy four attempts to find me in the computer system. After the fourth attempt, I told them to “forget it.”
3. I had no idea which TVs were still available for purchase and which were not.
4. Having finally found a TV, I paid. I waited in my car at the loading dock for 20 minutes. Having lost patience, I returned to the employee who rang me up and asked where my TV was. To which the employee asked, “Have you paid?” I responded, “Yes! You rang me up!”

I wonder how can a company like Best Buy, with customer service as dreadful as this, truly look you in the eye and expect you to believe the Best Buy brand promise of being the “best” of anything. I don’t believe it anymore? And, as its online and in-store shopping experiences continue to wallow, more customers just may purchase their products from a company who has the capability of fulfilling their brand promise.

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