Lessons From Best Buy’s Online Order Fiasco
December 29, 2011 3 Comments
Best Buy recently announced that it was canceling a number of orders that it took on its website on the weekend after Thanksgiving because of “overwhelming demand of hot product offerings.” This move comes after aggressive promoting and discounting to draw consumers to its online channel.
So what is Best Buy doing besides just canceling orders right before Christmas? According to one of the affected consumers, Best Buy tried to get him to take an older model or a more expensive model, both of which wouldn’t arrive until after Christmas.
According to Susan Busch, senior director of Best Buy’s public relations
“What was wrong is that there was an unacceptable delay between order confirmations and cancellations, and for that we are very sorry. It’s important to note that this was a rare situation based on a high volume of orders over a short period of time.”
My take: Sorry Ms. Busch, there’s much more wrong than that. The problem started at the point when Best Buy actively promoted products that it couldn’t fulfill. Then the problem continued when it took orders for products that it couldn’t deliver. That’s the point where it gets to the problem of an unacceptable delay in notifying customers. But, the Best Buy problems don’t even end there. Best Buy completely failed to recover from the service miscue.
Here’s how I’d rate Best Buy against our C.A.R.E.S. model for service recovery:
- Communication (clearly communicate the process and set expectations): D
- Accountability (take responsibility for fixing the problem or getting an answer): D
- Responsiveness (don’t make the customer wait for your communication or a solution): D
- Empathy (acknowledge the impact that the situation has on the customer): D
- Solution (at the end of the day, make sure to solve the issue or answer the question): D
Here’s how Best Buy could have better handled this situation:
- Put together a plan for each element of the C.A.R.E.S. framework
- Communicate immediately with affected customers
- Give everyone a Best Buy gift certificate (amount based on order size) to acknowledge the inconvenience
- Provide a coupon code for free expedited shipment, so they can order something else and get it on time
- Setup a toll-free number and a special support site (with chat representatives) to deal with any special issues
- Get the CEO (Brian Dunn) to communicate the apology, don’t offload it to PR
- Explain what you are doing to make sure that it doesn’t happen again
The bottom line: Companies need to plan for major problems BEFORE they occur