Customer service not listening

Best Buy – SHHH, I am Still Not Listening to You

A while back, I did a customer service review of a Best Buy experience. You can read the whole sordid tale but the bottom line is, there was a serious lack of listening. I don’t know if it was an ear wax problem, a loss in translation, or just a complete misunderstanding…but it didn’t go well.

Fast forward a few months and I’ve been contacted by three different representatives of Best Buy because of that blog. Good customer service? Well that’s to be decided but at least they are listening and that is nothing but positive.

The gist of the original story is this: my $50 gift certificate was mistakenly deleted at the till by the cashier and when I tried to explain this to the manager, they pretty told me I was wrong. A little explaining, a couple of their lightbulbs went on, and tada…my order was put through 30 minutes later. And now the response…

First, Jason wrote a comment on the blog saying though he’s from the U.S., he has contacts with Best Buy Canada and wants to “make it right by me.” I contact him via email and explain the issue was more they wouldn’t listen rather than the gift card (which did eventually work).

Second, a month later, Marianne from the Executive Resolution team at Best Buy Canadian Headquarters contacts me and apologizes for any “inconvenience [I] may have experienced regarding [my] gift Card in [their] best Buy Store.” (I thought the problem was they didn’t believe me). She asked for detailed info like date, store location, and if I still had the card (um, no. It was run through remember?).  Unfortunately I no longer had my receipt but apparently they can track your information down if you give them enough details. Good to know in future.

Lastly, I was told Christina, Operating Manager from the store in question: Langley, would help “resolve [my] gift card issue.” Sure enough, Christina says “I have heard it was a $50 gift card that was somehow lost in ‘cyberspace’.” (Actually no, the issue was your staff didn’t listen and somehow that seems to be continuing). Keep in mind, I’ve explained in my blog and in an email that I did actually use my gift certificate…it just took 30 minutes to get to that point.

I arranged a time that worked for me and received a bright and shiny new gift card. Um, OK.


Friend Zone – I just don’t like you in “that way.” The whole problem was the reaction from the Best Buy staff when I tried to explain the gift card issue, not the gift card. I get that this issue is hard to resolve for the customer after-the-fact. And as much as I appreciate the online issue monitoring (though a month to get the ball rolling isn’t really timely), by the time the message got to the Langley store, the manager had no idea the real reason there was a problem. Issues can’t be addressed if the internal communications fail.

Service Rating System:

Friend Zone – I just don’t like you in “that way.”
Booty Call – If I don’t have anything else better going on, I’ll stop by.
2nd Date – I’ll give you a second chance.
Going steady – This could be the beginning of something major.

The UpSOLD! (courtesy of @lacouvee)

Samuel’s by the Park I am a board member of a small not for profit. We were looking for a restaurant that could accommodate 10 – 15 people without having to pay $35 – $50 per person, as is often the case if booking for a group. Our party was not large enough to reserve the separate dining room, but staff kindly screened off our table from the other diners, since we had some board business to conduct.

The $20 dinner menu included soup or salad, choice of entrée and dessert – bargain prices definitely. What was not bargain was the service. Staff was attentive throughout the meal without being over familiar. Our drink orders arrived promptly; members who needed to leave early were accommodated; the food was uniformly good (quality and presentation); special dietary needs were met.

The restaurant was very busy (reservations are recommended) and yet our group never felt rushed or hurried. Brunch is served on Sundays at Samuel’s – I will return.

I’ve been having a bit of a love/hate banter on Twitter recently on whether you should pay more for better customer service.
The argument is that you get what you pay for. Would you pay more to get better service? Should you have to? What do you think?


  • A great update to your previous blog. It’s ridiculous how they continue to not read what has already been written and instead ask you to repeat your ‘story’ over and over and over again…… if Future Shop wasn’t on commission I wouldn’t shop at Best Buy.

  • Oh, come ON! They tried not once, not twice, but THREE times to make you happy. The game of telephone may have distorted your main concern, but at the end of the day they went above and beyond to make you happy.

    I guarantee the teller who deleted your card was told several times about the mistake. I imagine it being similar to the issue of TPS Reports from “Office Space.”

    I think Best Buy deserves a Booty Call, at least.

  • Absolutley Lindsay, they did get in contact with my 3 times (though there was about a month delay between the 1st and 2nd time).
    My issue isn’t with their ability to monitor and respond to complaints, but rather to communicate and listen to the problem at hand. As I mentioned to Best Buy and in my blogs, the card wasn’t deleted but rather lost and recovered. It’s the failing to listen to me while I tried to explain the circumstances that was the issue. This only continued through their response as the Langley Manager didn’t really seem to know the real reason she was giving me the $50 gift certificate.

  • Yeah, they didn’t listen, but they did try. And you got a free $50 gift card. Not too shabby. And, although the Best Buy guys aren’t on comission I’m sure they still get some sort of “incentive” because I find them to be shark-like when I go in. As far as I know, Best Buy bought Future Shop a few years ago, so they’re essentially the same company.

  • Did you specifically communicate to the Best Buy representatives that you detailed your experience in writing and that it was available for review on your blog, or did you just leave them to guess as to why they were dispatched by Corporate to resolve a customer complaint? Just as I thought, bad customer…

    • Thanks Uncle John,
      I’ve decided to use social media as my forum of complaint. I’ve used the term “Best Buy” repeatedly so as to be found through any type of online monitoring. If they choose not to listen, that is a fault of their public relations/customer service team.

  • I think the idea of tipping is ridiculous. the same as commission. Does the staff really need a monetary bribe to help their customers? Why is our service experience determined by the depth of our pockets? Granted, the tip doesn’t come until after the service, (unlike the commission), but that said, it shouldn’t be expected as the standard then either. If I choose to tip, then great, you can be proud of a job well done, but I should also have the option not to tip, which by today’s social standards is clearly unacceptable. I work in a service industry, who’s tipping me for doing an exceptional job? I do it because I love my job and genuinely enjoy helping people, and not only because I’m expecting 15% on top of my standard wage. Either pay your staff more so they can be happy to serve their customers in a job they can feel safe in, or get better staff.

    • You make some good points and I completely agree, tipping should be mandatory. Timing someone at Booster Juice for counter service? What did they do besides say hi, smile and do their jobs?
      However, and I’ll use restaurants as an example, the wage is minimum. If a restaurant were to increase wages, they’d also increase the price of their food/drinks (happens when minimum wage goes up too). Though price isn’t the total reason someone goes to a restaurant, it certainly is a factor.
      I’d rather have control over what I tip than have no control over what I pay on the bill.

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