I know it's only been a few days since my last posting, but that is something I am determined to change - particularly when there's a story that resonates with some of the themes of this blog.
One of those themes is 'customer focus'. Faithful readers will know that I have taken a shot at Best Buy in the past for not responding properly to their mistakes. In my case, it was purchasing a DVD box set, which was on the shelves, but when I tried to pay for it, they told me it wasn't supposed to be put on the shelves yet. No effort at recognizing their error etc.
Well along comes a beautiful case of Best Buy not quite getting what their brand is or should be. They accidentally post on their website a 52" HD flat panel TV for the ridiculously low price of $9.95. And lo and behold, a number of people actually believe what they read on the website, and slap down the money on their credit cards.
What does Best Buy do? Read it and weep....
So let's say they sold 100 HD televisions through their website at their 'mistaken' price of $9.95. With the value of $1700 per set, that would be a mistake of $170,000 right? What Best Buy fails to recognize is that mistakes can be turned around instantly into a positive action by the company.
To be fair to Best Buy, they are not much different from most companies in similar circumstances. So let's hope they learn the following lessons for the future:
Lessons from the Best Buy PR Fiasco
1. Look at a 'mistake' as an 'opportunity'; an opportunity to strengthen the company's brand. In other words, 'we stand behind our prices' even if a mistake is made, we will always err on your side. What do they do instead? They make it even worse by, in effect, stating that their prices aren't necessarily what they say they are - even after they process it on your credit card!
2. The cost that the accountants clearly running the company don't seem to get, is the one that you can't see immediately. It is the cost of negative customer perception on the brand of your company. The negative publicity will be in the millions of dollars - all in the effort to save a few hundred thousand dollars. [Actually accountants should recognize that too!]
3. Where was the CEO in all of this? Nowhere to be found. Why bother? It's just bad news and we try to insulate our CEO from those things right? Wrong! The CEO should have been front and center - apologizing for the error and presenting the 52" flat-panel screens to the customers who bought them in good faith.
Until next time, remember that without competition, do not expect 'customer focus' from any company.