Best Buy to Put Human Search Engines to Work
Best Buy is looking to improve its customer service levels
so, today, when a person applies for a job with the consumer electronics chain,
the company is looking to find those who not only "get" technology, but people
The chain is looking for these "people persons" because it sees service as
a key differentiator from the competition in the marketplace. While Walmart
and others may be able to compete on price, Best Buy management believes it
will be harder to match on service.
Today, Best Buy wants its associates to
find answers for customer questions even if that ultimately has them hunting
down a product sold somewhere else. The thinking is that the goodwill created
here will be repaid with loyalty beyond a single shopping trip.
"My vision is of the blue shirt as a human search engine," Robert
Stephens, Best Buy’s chief technology officer, told MarketWatch.
Stephens recently went to a Best Buy store and asked an associate about a tripod
for an iPhone. The employee went online and found a $14 item on eBay.
"Best Buy didn’t make a dollar," Mr. Stephens said. "But
he did something that you can’t find anywhere else."
on service is part of Best Buy’s "connected world strategy," which
not only has it selling consumer electronics products, but a wide variety of
services such as mobile broadband, as well.
"The connected world strategy is focused on touching a larger profit
pool," Barclays Capital analyst Michael Lasser told MarketWatch.
"Best Buy can compete effectively on price. Service and selection are their
Discussion Questions: Will Best Buy’s increased emphasis on helping shoppers
find the answers they are looking for be enough to gain share in the highly
competitive consumer electronics category? What will the chain need
to do to make sure the reality in stores matches the public statements made
by company executives?
- Best Buy investing in ‘blue shirt’ staff
to keep it at the top – MarketWatch/The Columbus Dispatch
- Best Buy Wants to Be Your Consumer Electronics Advocate – The Consumerist