Reporting Bill Hudson
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When Richfield-based Best Buy made the news back in December, it wasn’t good. The company had to apologize to thousands of customers after the orders placed after Thanksgiving couldn’t be delivered in time for Christmas.
The mistake left the electronics darling with a black eye, and no doubt helped lead to the recent designation on the American Customer Satisfaction Index as the sixth most hated company in the nation. The monthly index ranks companies based on customer evaluations of both service and quality products.
Fortunately for Best Buy, customers like Chris Mandery don’t agree.
“I think maybe it was a little cheap shot, but it did have trouble with shipping over the holidays and it needs to figure that out,” said Mandery.
Dave Brennan, a retailing and marketing expert at St. Thomas, says the shine started fading when Best Buy took aggressive steps to expand in places like the UK, China, Mexico and Turkey.
“Those kind of things probably distracted them from their core business here domestically,” said Brennan.
The company’s December ordering mistake was cited in a Forbes article on Jan. 1, 2012. The article carried the headline, “Why Best Buy is Going Out of Business…Gradually!”
Best Buy’s CEO, Brian Dunn, apologized in his “Brian’s Whiteboard” blog. But Dunn also defended the company’s business model of sticking to brick and mortar stores as relevant. There’s the suggestion that Best Buy is not falling victim to online retail giants, like Amazon.com.
Customer Scott Bailey agrees.
“I’d rather go buy it in a store with someone telling me how it works and if it doesn’t work, they’ll (take it back),” said Bailey.
Analysts say the $50 billion a year electronics retailer certainly can turn the tide on the bad news, but it will have to take the criticism seriously and act quickly.
“Perhaps if they continue doing what they have been doing, that may be an issue in terms of that they need to address. Then look back at themselves in terms of their customer focus. Have they lost it?” added Brennan.