I had one of the most awful experiences at a BestBuy store this past Saturday. I went into their Geek Squad Center here in the Los Angeles area to have my little Toshiba netbook repaired. When I say little, I mean little — it’s a 10″ screen but it serves its purpose as my backup computer. I had already prepared myself for the inevitable — they were going to have to ship my netbook out of the state to see what was wrong with it and fix it. Fair enough. The wait was long, despite being the second person in line. But they provided chairs, so those that got there early enough were comfortable for the most part. However, each customer that spoke with a Geek Squad agent took about 30 minutes on average to resolve their computer issues. And of course, in the interim, the line grew. There were still plenty of seats, just a line of irritable people.
While waiting, a woman who have arrived last was ushered to the front because she had made a reservation prior to coming in the store. No one in the line knew this or knew that we could make reservations ahead of time. A gentleman a few seats down from me happened to catch the Geek Squad agent’s attention to let him know that there was a line of people he was allowing this woman to cut in front of. Now mind you, we did not know yet that she had a reservation which gave her priority service. Rather than calmly explaining this to the guests, like myself, who had now waited for 45 minutes and still not have been seen, he became unexpectedly rude and sarcastic. The Geek Squad agent addressed the male customer is such an offensive manner, I half expected an argument to erupt. Words were exchanged for a few moments, until it was finally brought to our attention that reservations could be made. A few customers left their seat, made their reservations and then left the store, dissatisfied that was all that was accomplished in the near hour they been there.
I stayed. I had made my way to be the next person in line and this was a necessity of a visit for me. I needed my backup computer to be in tip top shape. So I sat and waited. And I monitored the rude Geek Squad member interactions with the other customers he was servicing, still surprised he was so blatantly disrespectful of waiting customers.
Sunday night I decided I was going to tell BestBuy of their rude employee via their feedback invitation offer on their receipt. I log on, entered all the numbers and codes they asked for and as much detail as I could remember, explained the situation that took place late Saturday morning. Well, much to my surprised and even delight, I got an email from the manager of that store Monday afternoon. Apparently, she had read my comment, found it displeasing and ask for further details. I immediately replied. Minutes after I had sent my reply, the manager set hers. She apologized for the actions and attitude of the employee, saying it is not customary of any member of the BestBuy team to treat their customers as so and thanked me for my willingness to share this incident with her.
Now, if I go missing, I probably opened my mouth too much and I thank everyone for reading thus far. But I was really surprised that 1) I would get any kind of response from BestBuy and 2) they would have someone respond so quickly and sympathetically. When I think of BestBuy, I too think of some faceless corporation focused on keeping shareholders happy. But I gotta admit, I definitely see BestBuy in a whole new light now. No one likes going through an uncomfortable situation to get to a good one. However, I prefer it to be addressed than ignored.
This is the kind of service we hear so much about in response to negative feedback. It’s not the negative feedback that will make or break a company. Don’t shy away from it, address — and the quicker the better. It’s about handling the feedback. I will have to go back to that particular BestBuy to pick up my computer, but that could’ve been my last visit. But instead, I will continue to shop there. Because I know that if I have a problem and bring it to their attention, it will be acknowledged and addressed. And that’s what most customers want anyways.
Problems are a part of life and business. It’s how they’re dealt with that keeps everything running smoothly.