Customer Sensitivity

I was reminded by the TechCrunch article “How Best Buy Stole Christmas” of blog posts we have made with regards to customer communication and the power of social media. Sadly, when Best Buy was unable to fulfill orders placed online for this holiday season, the company started notifying customers just days ago:

Best Buy started reaching out to customers earlier this week — you know, mere days before Christmas — that the retailer was unable to fulfill orders placed as far back as November. Big Blue was sorry but they were canceling the affected orders. Happy holidays! Signed, your merry friends at Best Buy!…

Don’t worry about Best Buy, though. The retailer isn’t hurting its bottom line by canceling orders en mass. The Wall Street Journal quotes an analyst stating “It’s a hiccup for the company” and “It probably won’t make a big difference for Best Buy’s holiday sales.” Oh good. Because Best Buy’s earnings were the first things I thought of when this story broke. Screw the customers. They don’t matter anyway.

What surprised me more was the recent Facebook post by the CEO of Best Buy, Brian Dunn

When plans go awry, which can happen at any time (when you are implementing a large, transformational change; when there is a natural disaster; or just in the normal course of business when your suppliers cannot keep up with demand), be sensitive to how your customers perceive your response to the challenge.

If your reaction is one of compassion for your customers, and demonstrates an understanding of the impact of the issue on their plans, you may preserve your reputation despite the temporary inconvenience for everyone involved.

If your response, however, seems more inwardly focused on your company’s bottomline, or oblivious to your customers’ concerns, you will have to do a lot of work (Read: costly damage control) to try to regain credibility and trust.

About Michelle Smeby

Michelle Smeby is CEO of wHolistic Change, Inc. with more than 10 years of experience implementing enterprise solutions at Fortune 100 companies. Michelle specializes in helping corporations deliver transformational change.

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