Best Buy turns a blunder into positive PR

Posted By on December 24, 2011

Almost all companies have customer service issues and what separates the successful from the not-so-successful is how they are able to recover with the least bestbuylogoamount of pain. One example this year is Best Buy who in the past was one of my least favorite retailers.

During their pre-Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday store and online sales pushes this year had their first sales increase in six quarters. Unfortunately with such a strong showing they recently had to inform customers that they would be unable to fulfill promised deliveries by Christmas. What infuriated customers (rightly so) was that the notice came only this last week before Christmas.

As expected, infuriated customers called, emailed and complained on forums to and about Best Buy. The solution and positive press for Best Buy was to give out gift cards and in some cases attempt to accommodate orders … and instead of alienating customers and continuing the “bad press” … they may have been able to keep customers and gain some positive PR. One customer shared his frustration and satisfaction with how the issue was handled showed up today in the WSJ, it is probably the least expensive advertising Best Buy has had all year … all due to how they handle a bad situation.

Mr. Mitchell lashed out at Best Buy in emails to the company and posts on its website forums, noting that he would have been able to land the same bundle deal earlier at other stores, if Best Buy had only told him it wasn’t coming.

"It’s a Grinch story," he joked.

But it ended more like "A Christmas Carol," at least for Mr. Mitchell. Best Buy reversed its Scrooge-like declaration in his case and gave him the bundle for the original advertised price of $199. A company vice president also e-mailed him an additional $200 gift card.

"While I can’t say I am happy, I wound up satisfied," he said, adding, "I have spent a lot of money with these folks."

Best Buy didn’t respond to questions on how many upset customers it had calmed down with gift cards.

So a lesson for consumers is to keep up the heat on companies who don’t initially make an attempt to sooth a blunder … you might come out ahead.


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