When Best Buy Wouldn't Let Me Buy

Optimal Networks moved on March 25 (we are all excited and you can read more about it here). As you know, moving into a new location often requires the purchase of new furniture, equipment, etc. Lucky for us, our superstar move project manager, Chris Abel, had planned and researched everything comprehensively. So, when Chris asked me to accompany him to Best Buy to purchase the three new plasma TVs and mounting systems we needed, I expected it to take around 30 minutes. Three hours later our mission was accomplished, no thanks to the electronics superstore.

From the moment we walked in ready to spend more than $6,000, it was almost as if they didn’t want us to. Bounced from a salesperson focused on individual purchases to a manager in charge of corporate sales, the extra time seemed about the correct department commission attribution. Then, we were told that we needed a site survey to make sure the equipment was really what we needed. When we gently explained that we were an IT company and knew what we needed, we were then told that they didn’t have the exact TV we wanted. At this point, we have spent two hours—and have accomplished nothing.

So we walked out their doors—and into a competitor’s. An hhgregg salesperson greeted us at the door and in 35 minutes, we had purchased everything we needed, and set up an installation time. No hoops to jump through, no complex commissions systems to second guess. And, even though Best Buy representatives would probably argue that the corporate site surveys required before equipment purchases are to protect the customer and offer additional value, this is a prime example of rigid customer service procedures working against the company. Flexibility. Common sense. Empowering salespeople to make customer service-based judgment calls. All part of great service delivery. Best Buy lost a sale that day, but perhaps learned a lesson.

What do you think?

  • Do you have an example of a company who has a rigid customer service policy in place that hurts the organization? 

Post your response—and check back for a reply!