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At Best Buy, The Best Customer Experiences Come From Employee Buy-In

istock_000007195515xsmall-300x299Ask any consumer about his or her best buying experience, and you’ll hear it did not simply involve a product purchase, but an entire brand encounter. This is the case whether we are purchasing televisions or golf shoes.

So a recent story about Best Buy’s efforts to improve the store experience by informing and educating its staff captured my immediate interest. The effort, headed by Shawn Score, Best Buy’s senior vice president of U.S. retail, is both grass roots and straightforward. Among his efforts: increase sales training of the products being sold; provide incentive pay to workers who improve sales and customer satisfaction scores; and reschedule shifts so the most-experienced workers are on the floor during busy weekends.

What Best Buy is doing is using its product knowledge as a differentiator, but it can do the same with its customer knowledge, as well. Best Buy operates a robust loyalty program that captures the kind of data that connects the dots on customer interactions. With these insights, Best Buy’s frontline employees can see what their customers own and have recently purchased, and use that knowledge to offer products and services that are relevant right then and there.

Let me apply a personal example from another merchant. While purchasing a pair of golf shoes at an Ecco store this past year, I was asked by the associate if I had waterproofing spray to protect my investment. I was unsure, so she asked if I was a repeat customer and, hearing that I was, looked up my information. In a moment she was able to see that I had purchased shoe cleaner and polish, but not the waterproofing spray.

So she sold me a bottle, my shoes are protected in the dewy grass, and I have a positive association with the brand – all because Ecco empowers its front line staff to act on its data.

This same exercise can be applied at Best Buy. Say I am prepared to purchase a smart TV and Blu-ray player. The sales associate, upon calling up my loyalty membership, will see that I have never bought a universal remote and might benefit from an in-wall cable management system. My $1,000 purchase can become a $1,300 purchase.

I believe that most employees, regardless of brand or product, want the opportunity to make the customer experience better. But it is up to the employer to provide them not only with training, but also with the tools to allow them to effectively enhance the customer experience. With the Best Buy RewardZone program, this could include the data that shows historical purchase patterns and preferences.

I am optimistic that Best Buy is on the right track. It not only has this information, it also has an experienced sales executive heading the charge. I look forward to seeing its employees buy in.

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