Best Buy’s on line store ran out of stock on ‘hot items’ during the Christmas season and four days before Christmas, cancelled customer orders, leaving their customers with little recourse to buy elsewhere. Some of those orders were taken after Thanksgiving, weeks earlier. Customers were furious. What is worse is the way this issue was handled.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, in a article titled Best Buy can’t fill some online orders for Christmas, the following statement was released:
“Due to overwhelming demand of hot product offerings on BestBuy.com during the November and December time period, we have encountered a situation that has affected redemption of some of our customers’ online orders,” it said. “We are very sorry for the inconvenience this has caused, and we have notified the affected customers.”
Customer complaints on the Best Buy Community Forum and Twitter showed how dissatisfied they were.
“Never shop at Best Buy,” one Twitter entry said. “Ordered TV on Black Friday & they cancelled my order today, not in stock. Said not their problem. No present 4me!”
“Every other place I ordered from has already arrived or at least I have a tracking number,” a blogger said. “I expected a lot more from Best Buy.”
“As a Minnesotan I preferred to do my business with a Minnesota-based company. But I can say with honesty, that I won’t shop at Best Buy again.”
The products that were ‘out of stock’ ranged from TVs, iPads and other tablets, digital cameras, games and laptops.
In an article by Forbes, titled Why Best Buy is Going out of Business …Gradually, the author Larry Downes chastises Best Buy for the attitude displayed in their statement. Here are his comments:
“The company “encountered a situation”—that is, it was a passive victim of an external problem it couldn’t control, in this case, customers daring to order products it acknowledges were “hot” buys. This happened, inconveniently for Best Buy, during “the November and December period,” that is, the only months that matter to a retailer. For obvious reasons, the statement ties itself in knots trying to avoid mentioning that the “situation” occurred during the holidays.
The situation that Best Buy “encountered” has “affected redemption” of some orders. Best Buy doesn’t fill online orders, it seems. Rather, customers “redeem” them. So it’s the customers, not Best Buy, who have the problem. And those customers haven’t been left hanging; they’ve only been “affected” in efforts to “redeem” their orders. It’s not as if the company did anything wrong, or, indeed, anything at all.”
Best Buy use a passive voice rather than apologizing directly. They make no attempt to try to find a way to help out their customers or compensate them for their inconvenience. There is no discussion about trying to fix what caused the problem so that it won’t happen again in the future.
The Forbes article also comments about how Best Buy refused to discuss this issue with the press after making their statement.
Every company will have problems from time to time. But to keep their customers, they have to apologize, ensure they appease customers affected and demonstrate what they are doing to avoid the problem in the future
Does Best Buy think it will attract customers to order from it on line store in the future? They have destroyed their credibility for their online shopping offering. They are also alienating themselves from the press.
What is your opinion of this practice? Do you think Best Buy is on its way to ‘going out of business’ as the Forbes article suggests? Leave your comments in the comment section below.
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