Best Buy has Worst Survey (and more)

business and consumers, business cheers and jeers

I swear, don’t companies bother actually putting ANY of their stuff through QA? Or even CSF (Common Sense Filters)?

I recently bought something at Best Buy locally (darnit, I needed the item immediately, or I would have amazon.com’d it), and while that immediate experience was generally decent, the followup has been so bad it’s laughable.

The checkout process was actually delightful, in whole part due to the cashier being swooningly charming and funny. I’m used to a surly and/or robotic attitude, whereas had this woman been a waitress, I’d have given her a 30% tip. And as I’ve done in the past with other servicemen and women, I had planned on writing a quick note to Corporate praising an employee… but weirdly this person didn’t have a nametag. That’s strike number one: service folks in nearly any industry (credit card, restaurant, hotel, etc.), IMHO, should always introduce themselves by their first and/or full name or wear a name tag to foster accountability. (consumers should also, ideally, take 5 minutes a week to write or call in notes of praise for sterling bus drivers, waiters, nurses, etc… since these folks typically only get COMPLAINTS in this context, but I digress).

* * *

On my receipt, there was a huge portion dedicated to bribing me to take an online survey. Here’s what I noticed:

  1. It included a Web site but not a phone number. That’s likely a barrier for many folks (not everyone likes filling out surveys on the Web… heck, not EVERYONE, believe it or not, even has Web access… even folks shopping at Best Buy).
  2. Best Buy follows in the footsteps of other lamebrained companies by procuring a separate domain (not just a subdomain) for a help/survey site. I admit that this might be a smidgen more customer-friendly, but it is, IMHO, a really bad practice overall (what next… bestbuyreturns.com? bestbuysaleitems.com?) Among other things, the proliferation of extra domains per company makes it more difficult to tell which domains are legit (and makes it easier for phishers to ply their viruses and spyware and such).
  3. It includes three “groups” of numbers that I have to add in, Group A, Group B, and Group C. Maybe I’m really missing something, but how hard would it have been for them to have algorithmically created a simple hash of sorts like “plays43deck” or “spicy19book” etc. That’s a LOT more user friendly than asking a survey taker to input three separate sets of 4-7 digit numbers!

* * *
When I made it to the survey site, I had a choice of selecting one of four cute colored blocks:
– Purchased an item
– Purchased an item AND visited the customer service desk
– Visited customer service desk
– None of the above, just shopped

Aside from the minor possibility that it’s too easy for someone to quickly see “visited customer service desk” and click that without viewing the other options, I have no major gripes about this opener.

* * *

But on one of the (too) many pages of this survey, I’m asked:
“If you visited the Customer Service & Returns counter, please rate your satisfaction with this experience:” [satisfied, very satisfied, etc.]

Well, as I noted in the very first screen, I only “purchased an item” so I left this section blank (there was no option for “n/a”)

Of course — you guessed it — the system complained that I hadn’t answered the customer service & returns counter questions and insisted I did so before continuing. So I’m putting “extremely dissatisfied” for all of those questions, just out of spite.

* * *

In fairness, Best Buy did a few things right:
1) They’re conducting a customer service survey.
2) They’re offering a (ridiculously small but still something) prize to a random lucky sap who takes the survey.
3) They have a free-form box at the end for letting us write comments. A perfect place for me to leave them the URL to this blog entry 😀

* * *

So why am I so annoyed by what’s seemingly such an minor issue? Because, as someone who has worked in customer service before, I’m sick of customer service being often treated like a money sinkhole, something to be “dealt with,” a grudging necessity. Customer service is the lifeblood of a company, and deserves to be addressed front and center… on at least equal footing with Product, Development, R&D, Engineering, etc. And, along those lines, customer service surveys should not be an oft-untested afterthought, dangit. Too often, it’s clear that few if any folks have reviewed the questions being asked… the surveys are too long, too unfocused, and feature too many ambiguous questions or questions for which the answers will not and cannot drive smart policy decisions.

In other words, I’m sick of customer service being second fiddle. It’s time for companies, large and small, to realize that they need to structurally and financially plan for top notch customer service needs from the get-go, not the day after a crisis or the day before a major roll-out.

Whew. Thanks. Now I feel better 🙂

23 comments… add one
  • Jennifer Dec 8, 2005

    Let me tell you a litte about that survey they say you can win a $500 gift card thats a bunch of bull, they say they will draw 100 every quarter you are lucky if they even draw ( how do i know i was an employee key word was best buy is a joke)

  • Tim Dec 9, 2005

    Hey, right on. Customer service by definition is to do as little as you can to secure the sale. If a hand shake and a smile is enough, well that’s what the customer gets, not much more. It’s to bad they have no clue about customer experience management.  You would think Best Buy would by now get the point and the point is that ignoring customers doesn’t work. Their customer retention rates are really diving. In a highly competitive market, electronics, you can’t be chasing customers away. This isn’t just unique to Best buy however. This is a Big company (smaller ones too)issue caused by inflated sales targets and mid to upper management who never step on the sales floor to see what’s really going on. Sure appreciate your perspective on Customer Service.

  • Vernon Blackburn Sep 24, 2006

    It’s sad when you google for a Best Buy customer service survey.  I just had the worst experience I’ve had in my many years of shopping.  I work for a large corporation and must say I am extremely proud of our customer service skills.  Obviuosly it is a matter of importance and apparently it’s not important to Best Buy.

  • amy Sep 28, 2006

    To respond to the comment about the $500 gift card…It does exist. I have a friend that won and several others that knew people that did. Best Buy is a wonderful company. I guess it just depends on the experience that you have.

  • jason Sep 17, 2007

    As per the policy you can return goods at any best buy store. We have two best buys within 7 miles radius. We purchased an adopter at Bolingbrook store. It didn?t fit my laptop so I try to return it to Naperville store since I happened to be in the vicinity. This rude guy with Turban at Naperville Best Buy asked 10 stupid questions before he finally agreed to take it as if it his mama?s store. Not to speak about his arrogant look. One of the questions was ?Did Bolingbrook store told you to return it here?? What a jerk? Best Buy is not best place anymore. Very rude and arrogant people in the store.

  • Don White Oct 8, 2007

    I bought a Samsung High Deff TV and the next day they lowered the price.  No problem, they credited my account for the difference.  However, the way they did it, it looked as though I returned the TV and bought another.  I received a letter asking me to fill out a survey and they would send me a $10 gift card.  I followed their instructions for the unique domain, but it lead nowhere.

    Ironic: I loved the original transaction, was pleased with the way they credited the difference, but now I am annoyed with the bogus survey.  Yesterday I went to Office Depot to purchase a scanner and some other items instead of going to Best Buy.

  • deb Feb 22, 2008

    I had a great expierence @ Wesley Chapel Best Buy Thanks to an employee named Joel. He wotks in the computer section. I went to 2 stores talked to 6 or 7 employees,he was the only 1 who had knowledge of the product I was looking 4. Had it noi been for this uondetful, intellegent,friendly & not to bad to look @ either, I would have purchased elsewhere.But the survey, well I was less than satisfied. It did’nt really ask me abouy my shopping exp. before the survey mysteryiously dissappeared. But the phone started ringing off the hook from the affiliates. Just say no even if you do want to start a buisness.

  • John Feb 26, 2008

    Buyers not depends on surveys for purchasing any item.
    It requires use of the thing, quality and experience with the particular thing that he is always going to buy.
    If market tells Pepsi is a good brand than Coke, Than what happens?
    Market surveys only helps when there is a new product launch but it will not produce 100% results.

  • MaggieLee Mar 11, 2008

    Actually, I have a comment about the screen you talk about above (did you buy, visit customer service, etc.) It listed “just shopping” as an option, yet, if you just shopped, you won’t have a receipt on which to find the many codes that need to be entered before you even get to that screen. Current one does the same thing. The interesting thing about this is that if you chose to buy elsewhere because you got crummy service, you don’t get to participate because you have no receipt.

  • Ashley Mar 26, 2008

    I work for Best Buy. (Please don’t think I’m like that other person who commented who works at Best Buy, we’re not all ignorant and rude) I work specifically at the Customer Service Desk.  It’s an extremely difficult job, but I very much enjoy trying to find every possible way to solve the customer’s problem … so long as they aren’t being unreasonable.  Some people just cannot be satisfied no matter how far you bend over backwards to please them.  And while I can’t say much for the company’s policies on how they handle their customer service survey, I guess that I’d just like to point out to some of the people who have responded to this that one bad experience is not always (or hardly ever) an accurate representation of that store, or that company’s values as a whole.  I guarantee that if you had an issue and you came to my counter, I’d do everything within my power to help you out without giving you any lip or attitude.  As unfortunate as it is, sometimes the bad attitudes and indifference that you get from the employee is a product of being under-appreciated.  My store used to be fueled by the employees and their service to the customer, but more recently the management has shifted the focus to be more “numbers-oriented” and it seems like everything is suffering more because of it.

    I’m one who has the mindset that if you take care of your customer the numbers will fall into place, but if you focus on numbers everything will fall apart.  I didn’t realize, but it seems that people with that mentality are a very small minority.

  • Adam Mar 26, 2008

    Hey everyone, I appreciate you sharing your experiences and feedback.  And Ashley, I especially admire your thoughtfulness… both in your comment, and (from what I can tell) in your day-to-day work with customers.  *All* stores need more of you 😀

  • Zedwick Jun 28, 2008

    The reason you can’t enter a survey without a receipt is that stores are graded on their survey numbers. There will always be someone trying to improve their results and it is just too easy if all you needed to do was fill out a few surveys a day.  Rest assured that negative comments, especially with names in tow, are well researched with resolution in mind.

    As far as the gift card- I’ve personally seen three winners in the past four years one in my last town back when it was $500 and two in my current area which are $5000.  The drawings are once a quarter and are for your region (of which I apologize- I cannot remember how many regions are listed- I believe five). 

    On an exiting note… to the person who thinks a google of “Best Buy Customer Service” is a joke- try to find a company where it isn’t being complained about on the web. People just rave about Sears and Walmart customer service!

  • Online Shopping US Jul 15, 2008

    I little bit agree with above comment, as i found in serveys, people did not wanted to be a part of servey, they just look at brand, and choose the service provider, which is very much painful for new comers in industry.

  • Oscar Sep 1, 2008

    Wow, I’ve been to most bestbuy stores in the bay area and i have never been satisfied with the customer service. Is like you in a car dealership.
    You will find many employees at computer department, they are just lined up with fake smiles. You will never see anyone around the car accesseries department. I was in a bestbuy, one in SF masonic st, went to the customer service and asked for someone to help me out buying speakers for my car. They said, someone is on the way there but i waited almost half an hour. I don’t really complain about customer service because i know how it is to be dealing with customers and i work at customer service. Im a pieceful man, but some how i always end up not buying at bestbuy stores. Honestly, this is the truth

  • Oscar Sep 1, 2008

    Forgot one thing, When i waited for half an hour at that store ” no1 showed up though

  • Jashan Jun 22, 2009

    Some of these comments and especially the original blog are so petty that it’s just laughable. So you say the problem is that the customer survey which you voluntarily filled out and which was made by the compnay to satisfy your (again, petty) concerns was somewhat sloppy so you will never shop there again? Give me a f-ing break, waaaayy too over-sensitive.

  • chezery Mar 10, 2010

    man best buy scwered me out of 300 dollars when their employees misrepresented a computer i bought telling me it could do all the things i asked about. And when i got home it couldnt do anything they said it could i tried to return it and lost the recept. I called the main office after talking to the store forever and told them the product was misrepresented and they told me “We can not but held responsble for anything our employees tell the customers” WTF!! then why do they work there!! The store will allow the employees to tell you whatever they want to make the sale after you buy it the produce then becomes your problem. I have now filed a complaint with the BBB and am waiting for a reponse from Best Buy. But i did learn something..If I need something and want to get it from decent humanbeings I will get it from Wal-Mart.

  • Will Mar 11, 2010

    ^ are you serious? First off Bestbuy has plenty of ways to look up reciepts. Even if its a cash transaction. there has never been one person i couldnt find a reciept for. Theres always two sides to a story. Why would someone lie to make a sale? We get paid the same amount regardless if you buy computer or not and trust me we have plenty of traffic. Also did you know we make $0 on computers? So for you to say we misreprested a computer to sell it is rediculous. Your probably one of those customers who buys a laptob and decides they cant afford or dislikes it and wants to return it after the return policy. God i wanna scream at people like you. When you buy a car can you return it a month later because you dont like it? I can keep going all day long about how your 100% wrong. Did you also know when you return a computer that no matter what they need to be destroyed because we actually care about customer privacy? Before anyone believes this guy please take it from me and know that Bestbuy would not do this to someone. all i can say to this guy is that if this really did happen and the salesman made a mistake about 1 computers specs because we sell 1000’s of them then you had 15 days to bring it back. If you spacificly wanted thise features and got the computer home then why didnt you return it that day? hmmm maybe because your a liar! good luck with the bbb because there going to do the research. In fact if youd like email me your info and the store you deaqlt with. I promise you i can find the reciept and verify that you were still in the return policy. And if your story checks out ill personally call a regional manager and have him conbtact you and get this settled. Hope this helps.

  • chezery Mar 13, 2010

    NO SHIT they can look up a recipt thats what the hell i said!!! and i didnt return it the next day because those jerks told me that i just needed to wait for a Product Key that took 2 1/2 weeks to get to me! That still didnt work!!! and i make 450 a week at my job so trust me i can afford the computer and i can afford the loss, but the point is i shouldnt have to have the loss on a computer i was lied to about.. everything you said in the letter you wrote is illinformed and you sound like you work for best buy so of course you would say that im a lair.. BUT if you type in “best buy misrepasentaion” you will find that i am not the only one who has been lied to. So before you get on here calling me a liar and telling no one to believe me maybe you should do some looking into on the company you work for. You just seem like one of those people who think that who they work for is a savior. So you say you want to scream at me HA i want to let everyone know right now that you are no better then the people that scaewed me over. Trying to get people not to believe the truth because you just want to be the best Best Buy employee you can be.

  • Will Mar 15, 2010

    Yes i do work for Best buy. As for wanting to be the BEST employee haha thats funny. I love my job and BestBuy treats me well. All i can say to you is that Bestbuy has never taught me to lie. Some people are afraid to ask if they dont know anything and that may have happened. But your story doesnt check out to me. You say you had to wait 2 weeks for a product key?? It should have came with the computer. Anyway Im not sure what the real story is but if you call 1888-bestbuy i promise you they will fight for you. I get daily phone calls from them wanting us to extend return policys and fix problems we created. Yes were not perfect but no place is. But for you to say youd rahter go to Walmart a store were there employees arent even on the floor is crazy. Anyway gl with whatever your trying to do.

  • chezery Mar 16, 2010

    Ok listen all the questions you are asking i have already called the 1800 number and explained to them everything (in fact it took four hours) And yes it did come with a product key like i said it didnt work and yes they told me to wait for a new one (which also didnt work). If you do work for best buy then go look up my file they said they took notes of it and it said it was recording it. When it was all said and done they said that since i didnt write down the name of the employee that told me to wait for the product key they cant ask the employee themselves. Although they did ADMITTE to the employee being misinformed and said they CANNOT be held responsible for what the employee said. So that proves im not liying because they did say it MAY have happened. As for the computer i just gave it to my little brother he uses it for music and i went ahead and bought another one from a computer store. Now im not telling people on here to not go to best buy but, i am telling everyone reading this that if you are not sure on something DO NOT just ask a employee, no matter how LITTLE the question may seem you need to talk to a MANAGER to get the information and you need to write down the mangers name on the recipt. And i finally got to the bottom of finding my lost recipt and to everyone a say this When you check out (if you do not use a credit card or a best buy card) write down the DATE, RESIGTER NUMBER, and EEXACTLY THE amount of the purcuse somewhere if you think you may lose the recipt. Because if i had this information they could have found my recipt other then that they are suppose to be hand checking for a recipt and getting back to me on it in 2-3 months. But if you are still thinking im liying about this horriable experience think about this I am a 4.0 student also have been, im a LPN and make good money and i also get 23000 a sememster to go to collage. now im not saying im rich but i am saying that i have no reason to lie. I have no problem spending money but, I work really hard getting my money and i dont like to feel that i have been suckered. So if i feel suckered i will speak out and warn other people because i know how it is not the have very much, and even though this didnt affect me very much just think if the person that was in my shoes was someone who was a single parent and had kids and was trying to stay in school. I mean someone like that would need the money and if they just screwed out of that money just because a employee didnt know what they were talking about I would just have hoped that the company that employee worked for would have done something to help the situation. Well i would have hoped anyway but that is not what best buy did. If a employee messes up (like they did with me and this came out of thier own mouths so dont get mad at me for saying it!) they can not be held responsible for it. Which i think (if you ask me) is a very messed up company.

  • mike May 13, 2010

    bestbuy has the rudest people in the market handling their customers. i really miss circuit city now. i try extra hard now not to buy from them. although i’m sure they could care less i’m just the customer.

  • Michelle Oct 11, 2015

    adamyntiu:
    M
    I’m glad you feel better! I get it, as I was doing the survey and agree with much of what you wrote! While in the 50th page, lol my cell rang (doing the survey on this too) and I lost the survey I was on & was going to have to start over!! No way, ha
    This survey left with much to say and was not writing it all over again. My experience this time was a small nightmare and the service was absolutely ridiculous as I too have worked in customer service.
    I never have done a poor survey on anyone, always the positive things to say or nothing at all 🙂 ha
    This poor survey is completely well earned.
    The associate on the floor was unfriendly, no smiles, actually was “put out”, was sooo obviousness and I’m kind. It appeared he preferred to talk with his friend (female I believe) on his cell phone, as I could hear the juvenile & annoying conversation one (1) ft. away from me, I had to walk off. He had to be prompted by me to check his computer in the sales floor regarding ordering something, he was lazy about it & sent me to, you guessed it, “customer service”!
    When I first entered the store checking gift card racks for a Best Buy gift card and could not find any I asked an associate, he replied “I don’t know”, rude in just saying that to a customer. It’s I don’t know or I’m not sure, but let me check into or find someone who can give us your answer, you know, manors?? Ha
    Guess where I was directed, yep ” customer service”, said I should get it there. So after my over two (2) hours in the store with a hurt knee I get to customer service to request an order and purchase a gift card, not to mention my over $100.00 dollars of merchandise!
    The line semi long and S-L-O-W……. two (2) people behind counter and an annoying customer who was there when I got there and still there when I walked from customer service to the front to make my purchases, the guy there was very kind and sweet.
    At customer service desk the wait was agonizing as I was there for about thirty (30 )minutes! So I finally get up when I saw two different men behind counter who we’re using a computer and they both looked like they were in management (unbelievable) and when asked if I could please just get the Best Buy gift card was told by the one man he couldn’t help with and doesn’t do that, this just gets better and better, yes?? Ha
    The other man glanced at me and ignored, ha, I’m actually pretty attractive too, lol, just “chopped liver” that day I guess?? Hahaha
    I continue to wait in line………finally I’m done so I walk up to male rep. behind counter waiting on annoying customer and excuse myself to both for interrupting and ask him, can you please just hand me a gift card, “I’m begging you”, LOL I said please give to and let me take upfront to pay for with my other merchandise. The guy replies “you don’t have to pick up or purchase the gift cards in customer service”, hmmm well I said I was told I did and he asked who told me that, as I replied the words that get under my own skin, lol, “I don’t know”, haha, there was no name tag in the guy that told me and at this point I just said “and it doesn’t matter”. So the male rep. asked female rep. next to him if she had some gift cards? She replied “no”, just “no”, didn’t crack a smile. The guy said here there’s some out here in the floor, I’ll just get one for you. So he goes onto the floor by customer service desk and goes to a rack behind something which obstructed the view and hands it to me?!! I thanked him and said, “I could have done that myself”?? No reply, slight smile and done, no apologies, no thank you, nothing!
    I just forgot about the stuff I wanted ordered, proceeded to check out and left. It seemed that no one gave a crap that day(Friday) and it was like everyone was completely “put out”, like I was a nuisance and the customers who help give them their paychecks didn’t matter, at all!!! That’s their job, they picked it, we all have or do work, right?? You know we work to get the paycheck, that’s why it’s called a “JOB”??? Haha
    Very, very disappointing and grueling experience!!! We all are people, we all have our troubles and bad days, but come on, who acts like that??? Seemed like a bunch of young brats who didn’t want to be there, and probably didn’t, haha
    I won’t be back there for a looong, looong time and that’s a nice location.
    Oh and the older men who looked to be in management if some type “SHAME ON YOU”, LAZY, RUDE and UNPROFESSIONAL to the ump degree!! Not gentlemen at all!!
    Now to you friend and the other people with frustrating experiences that posted on this site, DEEP BREATH & THANK YOU!!!
    Better experiences to all! I’ll go to the stores or sites that appreciate my business and my courtesy! 🙂

    Pip

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