Saturday, August 15, 2009

Best Buy Boo Boo

From the Church of the Customer Blog:

Turning bad buzz around for Best Buy

Posted: 13 Aug 2009 03:11 PM PDT

Best Buy was in the news the other day for an oops. It offered a 52-inch HDTV that normally sells for $1,600 on its web site for $9.99. Eager web surfers gleefully pulled out their credit cards and placed orders.

As word of the deal spread, Best Buy realized the mistake, quickly pulled the offer from the site and announced it would not honor the purchases. The company cited its web site terms and conditions, which reserve the right to "revoke offers or correct errors" even if a credit card has already been charged. Upset tweeters took over, and Best Buy came out with a black eye.

Few people would expect Best Buy to honor what surely seems like human error but the bigger idea here is that every misstep, even embarrassing public ones, are an opportunity to turn bad buzz into good. Years ago, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told a newspaper he wouldn't hire the chief referee of the NBA "to manage a Dairy Queen." Ouch. Within days, Cuban accepted an offer to manage a DQ store in Dallas. While TV cameras and reporters captured the scene, Cuban was behind the counter, in DQ garb, serving customers -- and that was BT: Before Twitter. DQ was happy, Cuban was happy, and the media were happy they had a happy ending to a story.

Turning bad buzz into good takes fast, creative thinking, a sense of humor, and a willingness to happily eat virtual crow. Best Buy could put everyone who ordered the TV into a drawing then give away 10 of them. Or 100. Then they could even deliver the sets, with TV cameras rolling, and have their Geek Squad members install them for free.

You can either point to the rules when you screw up, or you can go beyond the obvious and do something worth talking about.

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