Best Buy, Worst Buy - an article by Bryan Eisenberg - details the worst customer service story I've heard in a long time. His mother, Esther, tried to purchase a TV system from Best Buy with installation only to be screwed over by the people who delivered and "set up" the equipment for her. This story is infuriating enough on its own, but in response to Mrs. Eisenberg's detailed complaint email, all Best Buy deemed to send back was:
Her next visit?! Did anyone even read her letter? I highly doubt it. What's true for individuals is true for corporations as well: an insincere apology is worse than no apology at all. This exchange bothers me as a consumer; having the customer-rated number 1 electronics store treat a woman this way means I am going to avoid that place like hell. I get p.o.'ed by most sexism, but this case is especially bad because the only apparent reason that Esther was treated so poorly was because she was a woman (I admit, it might have happened to a guy but it didn't, so don't overreact to me already).
I am Paul with Best Buy Customer Care.
I apologize for any inconvenience you have experienced related to your
Best Buy strives to make each experience you have with us positive and
as fun as possible, and we are disappointed if we don't live up to that
expectation. Best Buy relies on feedback, both positive and negative,
to help us find areas for improvement.
Please do not hesitate to contact usfor any questions or concerns. We
look forward to your next visit to one of our stores or to
But more troubling to me as a marketing/communications 'professional' is the blatant disrespect with which Esther's incredibly valid complaints were ignored. What she needed was 1) specific acknowledgment for each way she was mistreated, 2) a description of how her feedback would be used by BB, and 3) some sort of making amends (at least a gift card for the amount she should have received as part of the installation discount). Okay, maybe that's not what she needed, but it's what she should have received from such a highly rated business.
This whole thing reminds me of a video I saw floating around the marketing blogosphere a while ago:
Who listens to you? Who doesn't?
(I found out about Esther's story via Yvonne at Lip-Sticking, who heard about it from Michele at WonderBranding.)